November’s Birthstone – Topaz


Imperial Topaz is the traditional gemstone for those born in November.

Topaz comes in a few different varieties. When golden topaz has red or pink overtones it is known as imperial topaz and can be quite costly.

If you were born in November topaz is the traditional choice of gemstone. However, should you closely following zodical signs, topaz is the birthstone for Sagittarius (born on November 21st through December 21st) and beryl is the birthstone for Scorpio (born on October 23rd to November 20th).

Topaz is mined in several different colors and can also be is treated to show as green or blue. The most commonly available topaz seems to be a light golden brown or colorless topaz which is often used in place of diamonds in jewelry. As an aside – many jewelry designers use white sapphire to simulate diamonds.

Shown on this page is a golden brown topaz gemstone purchased from a mine in Brazil about 10 years ago. Every few years the topaz center stone gets a new look. At present it is wire wrapped in gold filled wire and hung on a lapis lazuli beaded necklace.

The most valuable color for topaz is untreated pink and red. Light brown topaz is quite often heated to show a pink color. Therefore, exercise caution when paying top dollar for pink topaz – query the seller as to the gemstone being natural or treated – ask to see the lab document. No document – assume the stone has been treated.

Ok, what is the big deal about treating gemstones? Actually, nothing, gemstones have been heat treated for centuries to improve their color or clarity. The most relevant aspect of this is to make sure that you are not deceived and pay more for a treated gemstone than it is worth.

In some isolated instances heated topaz gemstones can lose their color after a period of time. If you own treated topaz just exercise care. Do not place in an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer and avoid extremes of temperature.

Beautiful blue and green topaz are produced by irradiation and heating. This is a two-step process. Colorless topaz is irradiated to produce the brown color. Processing can be stopped at this point and the gemstone sold as this color. The gemstone can also be further processed by heating to show as blue or green.

A quick word about beryl: The term beryl is a catch all for several different gemstones. For example, emerald is green beryl and aquamarine is blue beryl.

Blue topaz resembles aquamarine and as aquamarine is a form of beryl this beautiful gemstone is often considered a secondary choice of birthstones for November.