Guest Author - Lisa Shea
November is a lucky month - it has two separate birthstone options. Depending on which source you use, the stone here is either citrine or yellow topaz. In reality they look fairly similar, so either one will be fine!
My mother was born in November so I grew up quite familiar with this lovely gem. It has a warm, lush glow to it and can be quite beautiful in a number of setting types.
Topaz has a long, lustrous history. The Egyptians adored it, as did the Romans. Topaz does come in a variety of colors, but the one associated with November is the yellow version.
Citrine, very similar to topaz, was enjoyed by the Romans. Citrine, like topaz, also comes in a number of different colors. So in both cases you want to make sure you go with the yellow / gold version to match with November.
As you might imagine, with the two gems looking very similar and being known by the same cultures, they often were confused. Topaz was rare while citrine was less rare - but they would be intermingled so much that both could command a high price. In modern times we are much better at knowing how to distinguish gems from each other and you should expect to pay much more for a topaz gem than you would for a citrine.
So that then creates an obvious question - how can you tell the two apart? The answer is that it's not easy at all. However, they are NOT the same thing. They are created from different components. So if you have a reliable jeweler with a refractometer, they should be able to examine how light moves through the gem and then tell you which one it is. Of course if you become a gem enthusiast you may want to get one of your very own, so you can check it out without having to rely on what they say.
So, to summarize, citrine and yellow topaz are both yellowish in color and in pretty much all ways look similar. Both are lovely gems. Both have been treasured in days of antiquity and create stunning modern jewelry. If you know someone who was born in November, or has a special date in November, be sure to take a look at these two gems!