Jewellery Learning

Topaz – November Birthstone Meaning

Topaz November Birthstone Meaning – Image credit HDW Pics

BEAUTY, strength, healing and protection – from Old Egypt to modern astrology, people have attributed the topaz with mystical powers.

The November birthstone is famous for its extraordinary clarity and vibrant variety of colours, including blue, yellow, red and white. Its beauty and value make it a highly desirable gem to add to a jewellery collection.

Image credit blue topaz / via National Geographic

Image credit blue topaz / via National Geographic

What does the name ‘topaz’ mean?
The word ‘topaz’ has two potential origins.

Most people say it was named after the island of Topazios in the Red Sea, where yellow topaz is said to have been first found (although gem experts are now debating whether it was in fact peridot).

Others believe the name comes from the Sanskrit word tapaz which means ‘fire’.

Legend and lore
Much of the topaz discovered by early civilizations was yellow. This would explain why in ancient Egypt people linked it with the sun god Ra.

Yellow topaz with its golden brilliance was a powerful amulet that the Egyptians believed could ward off evil and even warn of poison in food or drink.

Left, wall painting of sun god Ra with sun disk over his head; Right, yellow topaz

In early Greek lore, the topaz was said to give its wearers physical strength, while the Romans believed it had the power to bring reconciliation between enemies.

Much later during the Renaissance, Europeans held a belief that topaz could break curses and prevent black magic.

In South America, early tribes thought the gem could cure illness when they placed it on the patient’s body during a full moon.

And for centuries in India people have claimed that topaz worn near the heart will give you intelligence, good looks and longevity.

A 3.52CT topaz necklace - Click to view

A 3.52CT topaz necklace

November Birthstone 
According to astrologists, the topaz is a powerful stone and it’s effect is particularly strong on people born in November or under the star sign of Scorpio – or both.

Students of topaz lore believe it has a balancing effect on emotions, and that the gem can relieve stress and bring forth feelings of joy.

According to the Asian spiritual tradition, the topaz can bring harmony, peace and love into your life, as well as stoke the fire of creativity.

Blue topaz earrings

Blue Brazilian topaz earrings

Topaz colour and characteristics
Rough topaz exists in a huge range of colours. But jewellery conoisseurs often favour blue topaz with its outstanding colour and sparkle.

Topaz crystals can also be ‘pleochroic’, which means that one gem can reflect many different colors. This is the case for mystic topaz, which flashes in complementary greens and reds for a breathtaking effect – see it here in this video:

This mystic topaz ring

Gemmologists rate topaz at 8 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which means it’s a very durable gemstone, perfectly suited for jewellery because it doesn’t scratch or damage easily.

Curiously, polished topaz feels very slippery to the touch. This is due to its special crystal structure and ‘cleavage’.

Hover your mouse over these images to discover different types of topaz:

The topaz in all its glorious colours – Image credits via GIA.com

Where does topaz come from?
Today many countries produce topaz, including the large mechanised mines of Russia and China. However, the highest quality topaz comes from Brazil’s Minas Gerais region.

Much of Brazil’s gemstone mining is artisanal and the Brazilian government limits large scale industrial mining to protect the environment and local tribes.

The world's largest cut topaz, the 'American Golden' from Brazil's Minas Gerais region, weighs 22,892.5 carats. Here it's seen on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, USA / Image credit via ZakVTA, Flickr.com

The world’s largest cut topaz, the ‘American Golden’ from Brazil’s Minas Gerais region, weighs 22,892.5 carats. Here it’s seen on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, USA / Image credit via ZakVTA, Flickr.com

Topaz jewellery gifts
Topaz is the birthstone for November and the gem that aligns with the star sign of Scorpio. It is also the official wedding anniversary gem for the 5th and 16th years of marriage.

Blue topaz has a beautiful icy-blue colour and its clear crystals are perfect for handcrafting large, showstopping pieces of jewellery. Not only an ideal winter birthday gift, but blue topaz is also a popular bridal gem that can add a touch of sophisticated colour to an all-white dress.

Almost as hard as the sapphire, and with spectacular colour and clarity, topaz is a beautiful precious gem – worthy of commemorating your most important life occasions.

Handcrafted blue topaz rings – Click here to view all

For more topaz knowledge read our comprehensive Topaz Guide.

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