Topaz is the accepted birthstone for November. Blue topaz is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 4th year; Imperial topaz for the 23rd year of marriage.
Most people think of topaz as a transparent golden yellow gemstone. However, this gemstone occurs colorless as well as orange-yellow, red, honey-brown (dark sherry), light green, blue and pink.
The name topaz is derived from the Greek word meaning "to shine" and also implies "fire". Orange-red "Imperial" topaz and pink colors are rare and most valuable.
The lore, magic and romance of topaz goes back many thousands of years. It holds the distinction of being the gemstone with the widest range of curative powers. The Greeks felt it gave them strength. In addition, it supposedly cooled tempers, restored sanity, cured asthma, relieved insomnia and even warded off sudden death. Topaz is said to make its wearer invisible in time of emergency. It proved the loyalty of associates by changing color in the presence of poison.
As part of the normal fashioning process, most brownish to sherry brown topaz are heated to produce a permanent pink color. Certain types of topaz are irradiated and heated to produce shades of blue.
Topaz is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.
Citrine is often used an alternative to topaz because it appears in many of the same colors as topaz. Unlike topaz, citrine is readily available and inexpensive even in large sizes.
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