Upon researching this one, I was completely surprised to find out that the 'official' birthstone for November is not topaz, as I have always believed
( my sister is a November baby, for gosh sakes!) but citrine! One of the rarest forms of quartz, it takes its name from the French 'citrin', meaning lemon. The Romans were the first to promote this stone, perhaps due to its scarcity, and there is not much mention of it prior to the first century B.C. Believed to have magical powers, like most gemstones, it was worn as a talisman against negative thoughts and snakes.
Related to its purple quartz cousin, amethyst, citrine crystals are found in igneous metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. In some cases, citrine may have begun as amethyst, but heat from nearby molten rock changed its colour to yellow. Actually, some citrines can range as dark as a deep amber, and these are called Madeira, due to their resemblance to the wine! Much of the citrines commercially available are heat treated to intensify their colour. If you are lucky enough to own one of these beautiful stones, be careful not to leave them in direct sunlight, as this can permanently alter their shade. Mined mostly in Brazil, some citrine is also found in Madagascar and Bolivia.
Yellow topaz became the popular birthstone in modern times, due to the scarcity of citrines. The Egyptians believed topaz to be the the glow of the sun god, Ra. Topaz is a stone that also ranges in color, and treatments, such as heat and irradiation are not uncommon enhancements. It has proven a withstanding stone for birth talismans, due to its abundance and relative color stability over citrine.
Both of these beauties are considered to be symbolic of hope and strength. No surprise here, with their golden color of the life giving sun. Pictured here are 2 of my sunflower rings, one with citrine, the other blue london topaz.