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Spotlight on antique birthstones – Topaz and citrine November birthstones

November birthstones blog post


November is another month that benefits from two birthstones, and our latest antique birthstone guide takes a close look at both.

What is the birthstone for November?

While November is often a little grey and miserable, its birthstones topaz and citrine, more than make up for it, bringing a bright splash of colour into the lives of anyone celebrating a birthday this month. While topaz comes in a rainbow of colours, from colourless and pale blue, through to brown and (very rare) red, it is the yellow topaz that is more associated with November birthstones, echoed in the yellow and orange hues of citrine.

The significance of topaz jewellery

Perfect for anyone living their life at a thousand miles an hour, topaz is believed to be a healing stone with calming powers, that brings balance and clarity to the wearer. The ancients believed that the magical properties of topaz gave strength, while in the Middle Ages, it was considered to bring long life, beauty and intelligence, at the same time as being able to cure blindness and lunacy amongst other things! Today, we associate topaz with confidence and ambition.

Where is topaz found?

Topaz is mined all over the world, from Brazil and Pakistan to Nigeria, Madagascar, the US and even Russia.

The meaning of citrine

Symbolising joy, perhaps because of its sunshine colours, citrine is believed to bring happiness to the wearer. Citrine radiates a warm energy that is also believed to have the power to calm, ground, and remove negativity by breaking it up, making it a good choice for anyone dealing with stress. Believed to be a cleansing stone, citrine is said to purify the blood and help remove toxins from the body.

Where does citrine come from?

Citrine is part of the quartz family and is closely related to amethyst, and while quartz is a common mineral, citrine is relatively rare and much citrine is produced by heating smoky quartz at the mines. However, unheated citrine can be found in Russia and Madagascar. 

Why does November have two birthstones

The notion of each month having its own gemstone seems to trace back to the biblical reference to a high priest’s breastplate, which featured 12 foundation stones to represent each of the original tribes of the Israelite community.

Prior to WWI, birthstones were standardised based on what was easier to sell in large quantities. Where months have two birthstones, the second would have been added if it was considered more affordable.

In November’s case, topaz is the original birthstone with citrine being the later and more affordable option. In fact, for many years they were mistaken for each other and were only classified as two separate gems in the 1930s.

How to care for topaz jewellery and citrine jewellery

Topaz and citrine are both hard stones (topaz scoring 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness and citrine 7) but they can be prone to chipping so you should avoid knocking jewellery containing them against hard surfaces. They should be kept separate from other gemstones and should not come into contact with harsh chemicals or hand lotions. They can be cleaned by soaking in a solution of soap and water before patting dry with a soft cloth.

November birthstone jewellery from Hemswell Antique Centres

While we have a small selection of antique topaz jewellery and vintage citrine jewellery for sale as part of our antique jewellery online, we have many more pieces on display at our centres for in-person visits. Our specialist jewellery dealers have pieces for every month of the year, and much, much more.

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