A Guide to the November Birthstone
Whether you find yourself eyeing a lovely topaz necklace or considering buying a November birthstone ring for that special someone, you will find this discussion of this unique gemstone fascinating. Actually, if you are in the know, you will realize that there are actually two accepted birthstones for the month of November. However, we’ll focus specifically on topaz, the primary November birthstone within this article.
Originally seen only among high-ranking members of the clergy and nobility, topaz gemstones were believed to strengthen the wearer’s mind and increase wisdom. Topaz has been used historically to prevent weak eyes, insomnia, and asthma. Topaz has also been thought to ward off sudden death and in India was worn above the heart to assure the wearers of long life, beauty, and wisdom.
How is Topaz formed?
Topaz gemstones tend to form about the fractures found in igneous rocks. When magma cools, crystals are formed. When a sufficient amount of fluorine exists in the cooling magma, topaz gemstones may form
Natural topaz gemstones may be found in Brazil, the Ukraine, Russia, Scotland, Pakistan, Japan, and Sri Lanka. You may even find topaz gems that are native to the United States. Topaz stones that come from the US are generally found in California or Colorado.
Characteristics of Topaz
Topaz comes in an extensive range of colors. You can find topaz in many shades and saturations of brown, blue, purple, pink, red, orange, yellow, and green. You can also find plenchronic gemstones in which the stone will display different colors in different crystal directions.
Topaz rates an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that you will need to take special care with topaz jewelry to avoid cracking or chipping of your gemstones.
What Determines the Value of a Topaz?
Believed to be named for the Sanskrit, Topazion, meaning fire, this dynamic gemstone’s value is greatly influenced by its color. “Imperial Topaz” which exhibits a red color is very rare and expensive. You will find that topaz gemstones with red overtones are more valuable than those with yellow or golden overtones. Colorless topaz is also easy to find and is, therefore, less valuable. Another fairly reasonably priced alternative if you are looking to invest in topaz jewelry is a treated blue topaz or a topaz with a light yellow color.
Size or Carat Weight
As with most gemstones, you will find that topaz stones increase in value as they increase in size. However, not all topaz gemstones rise in value at the same rate. Therefore, you may find red topaz stones of smaller size remain more costly than larger yellow-toned topaz stones for example.
As with other gemstone jewelry, the cut of your topaz will influence the cost of the piece you are considering. Due to the nature of topaz, you will often find topaz gemstones cut into elongated shapes.
Due to the nature of topaz, they aren’t graded in the same way as diamonds. You will want to look for topaz gemstones that have no flaws or inclusions that are obvious to the naked eye. If the topaz you are considering has visible flaws it will decrease the value of your gemstone.
Caring for your Topaz Jewelry
As we have discussed there is some need for special care of your topaz jewelry. However, this shouldn’t scare you off if you are considering the purchase of a topaz. You will want to be sure that you aren’t storing your topaz jewelry in direct sunlight or in areas where it will experience prolonged exposure to high levels of height. By taking a little care here you can prevent any loss of color in your topaz jewelry.
You will also want to be sure that you’re cleaning your topaz jewelry in a way that reduces any risk of damage. Simply clean your topaz in warm soapy water. You will want to avoid rapid changes in heat as this can cause internal damage to your topaz gemstones.
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Red topaz gemstones are the most valuable. You will find that topaz gemstones with red overtones also have a higher value than those with yellow or golden overtones.
Although the color of a topaz gemstone is generally stable, some colors of topaz may show signs of fading if they are exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time. Heat may have a similar impact on your topaz’s color. Brown topaz and topaz gemstones with brown overtones are most likely to lose color with extended exposure to heat and sun.
Although topaz gemstones make a stunning statement as an engagement ring, you will want to be aware of the particular needs of a topaz. The more cost-effective nature of the topaz means you can afford a larger stone. However, with a hardness score of 8, your topaz engagement ring is more prone to damage when worn daily than harder stones.
Although the topaz’s harness score of 8 means it is less hard than rubies or diamonds, it is still sufficiently hard to stand up to daily wear. If you are careful to choose a setting that will protect your topaz, you can comfortably wear your topaz jewelry on a daily basis with little cause for concern.