Sunday, October 31, 2010

Citrine & Topaz ~ Birthstones for November

  As in the case of several other months, November has two traditional birthstones, Citrine and Topaz, although historically, several other gemstones such as Garnet and Beryl have also been used.

  First, we'll look at Citrine, pictured below.
Faceted Citrine with Amethyst
  You'll notice right away, that the picture includes Amethyst, and you may be wondering, "Why?"

  Both Citrine and Amethyst are the same crystal! In fact, sometimes the two colors are in the same gemstone, called "Ametrine". 

  It is a variety of Quartz, and the different shades are due to the different rates of oxidation of iron within the crystal. Citrine may vary in its coloration from pale yellow, through yellow-orange, to brownish yellow.

 Naturally occurring Citrine is extremely rare; most Citrine found in jewelry today is amethyst which has been heat-treated (and the merchant should tell you so...). [See Federal Trade Commission Guidelines ]

  Although Citrine and Topaz may be difficult to distinguish by color alone, Topaz is the harder of the two. In folklore, it is believed to promote healthy liver and kidney function, as well as impart creativity and a clear mind. Additionally, it is sometimes called, "Merchants Stone", because it is thought to bring abundance and prosperity.

  Most Citrine comes from Brazil; it is also in parts of Russia and Madagascar.

  Pictured to the right is Golden Topaz (also known as Imperial Topaz), the color usually associated with the birthstone for November. Topaz itself shows in a range of colors, and we'll meet one of them, Blue Topaz, in the month of December. However, this stone should not be confused with "Smoky Topaz", which is in fact, quartz.

  Topaz is thought by some to impart curiosity, good humor, and compassion. The ancient Egyptians associated its golden yellow color with the Sun God, Ra, and the gem was a considered a powerful protector from harm, including poisons. 

  Today, Topaz is a popular gemstone in its many shades; it is quite durable, and very much valued for its clean fractures. Like Citrine, it's also part of the Silicate family of minerals. It is mined in a number of countries,  such as Brazil, Madagascar, Ukraine and Zimbabwe, amongst others.

"I never worry about diets.  
The only carrots that interest me 
are the number of carats in a diamond." 
 ~Mae West

{no, no....we're not related....}

And so we are fascinated with....The Elements of Life.....


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