Silver Citrine Ring
Silver Citrine Ring

What are the November Birthstones?

Those who are born in November are lucky enough to have not just one, but two birthstones: citrine and topaz. Historically, topaz has been the original November birthstone until the 1910s when citrine was added as a more affordable option. Although they might be mistaken for each other, citrine and topaz have their own unique stories.

Topaz Birthstone

History, Symbolism and Meaning

The origin for topaz’s name remains a mystery, but there are a few ideas of where its name originated. Some believe topaz’s name comes from the Red Sea island, Topazos, while others proposed topaz originates from the Sanskrit root “tapas”, meaning fire, alluding to its vibrant orange color. 

Topaz was also believed to acquire its golden hue from the Egyptian god, Ra, which earned it the name “Gem of the Sun” and was considered a protector from harm. In ancient Greek and Roman cultures, topaz was associated with their sun god, Jupiter, and was used to increase strength and counteract enchantments. Moreover, topaz was one of the twelve gemstones used in the construction of Jerusalem’s city walls.

Healing Properties of Topaz

During the Middle Ages, the topaz birthstone was believed to empower the mind and cure madness. Crystal healers suggest the stone increases confidence and builds trust in yourself, enabling you to manipulate the laws of attraction, turning your dreams into reality. Not only is it believed that topaz protects you from harm, but it is thought to aid in digestion, help with weight loss, and prevent arthritis pain.

Topaz Colors

The most well known color of topaz is blue though it displays colors well beyond a spectrum of blue. Topaz colors include brown, green, pink, orange, and even colorless, but if you want the color of the topaz November birthstone, it’s sunshine yellow! Yellow topaz is also closely related to Imperial topaz. This crystal makes up only one percent of all topaz, consisting of yellowish-orange and reddish-orange hues, making it the most rare and sought after variety of topaz. 

How to Tell if Topaz is Real

Wondering if your topaz gemstone is real? Here are a couple ways you can decipher between true and synthetic topaz. Taking into consideration that topaz is an eight on the Mohs hardness scale, the gemstone should not scratch easily. A way to test this is to take the topaz and slide it against glass. Real topaz will scratch the glass and no damage should be done to either the glass or the gemstone if it is synthetic. However, if you don’t want to risk scratching anything, topaz is also easily electrified. Rub the stone against woolen fabric and real topaz should attract your hair!

Citrine Birthstone

History, Symbolism and Meaning

The name for the other November birthstone, citrine, dates back to as early as the 1300s and it comes from the French word “citron,” meaning lemon. The gemstone itself can be traced back to 300 BC! The popularity of citrine really started when it was made into jewelry in Ancient Greece and soon spread to Egypt and Rome. 

Citrine Birthstone Set
Citrine Birthstone Set

Its vibrant color and supposed powers caught the eye of Queen Victoria during the 1800s. Admiring the citrine jewelry, the Queen’s people took after her style, further popularizing the gemstone in Great Britain and Ireland. With its warm yellow undertones, many think citrine has a romantic and vintage aesthetic.
Resembling warmth and brightness, many believed citrine was the gemstone of happiness, earning the name “Sunshine Stone” and used as protection against evil thoughts. Interestingly enough, it was worn in hopes of repelling venomous reptiles and avoiding snake bites while also acting as a sign of wealth, most popular in statement pieces.

Healing Properties of Citrine

In past medical history, citrine was thought to help with digestion, protect against plagues, and assist in stimulating one’s mental health, enhancing creativity, happiness, intuition, and confidence. Symbolizing wealth, protection, and good health, citrine has been connected to the mind, body, and soul.

Citrine Necklace and Tennis Bracelet Set
Citrine Necklace and Tennis Bracelet Set

Citrine Colors

Ranging from pastel to golden hues of yellow, orange, and earthy browns, the citrine birthstone is a toasty and cheerful gem. Natural citrine is a pale yellow, extremely rare and usually not found on the market, though it can be created by heat-treating amethyst or smoky quartz. The higher the temperature it is heated at, the deeper and more vibrant hue it will have. A deep orange citrine gemstone is considered most valuable and preferred over the pastel yellow. However, the burnt orange and deep red hues of madeira citrine is also favored by many.

During formation, environmental changes may occur, causing iron to incorporate itself into the crystal, resulting in a bi-color gem. In the case of citrine, the stone resembles a mix of bright golden citrine and icy white quartz or a lilac purple amethyst.

How to Tell if Citrine is Real

Color, clarity and bubbles are the three characteristics to look for in the citrine birthstone. While inspecting citrine, pay attention to any abrupt change in hue which indicates the stone may be a fake. Instead of quartz, synthetic citrine is made up of other materials like colored glass. Any imperfection that is visible to the naked-eye or bubbles hidden within the stone is also a hint that the stone might not be real. An easy way to tell real from fake is using light and a magnifying glass.


Where are topaz and citrine found?

Topaz is mainly mined in Brazil, but other common locations include Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Sri Lanka, the United States and many others. 

Citrine is found in Brazil, Uruguay, Madagascar, and other locations in East Africa.

Silver Citrine Square-Cut Ring
Silver Citrine Square-Cut Ring

How much are topaz and citrine worth?

Topaz that have undergone heat treatment to intensify the color tend to start around $4 per carat. However, imperial topaz which is more valuable, start around $1,000 per carat.

Most citrine on the market undergoes heat-treatment from mainly amethyst, a stone that is highly abundant. This process makes the citrine gemstone readily available to the public while also making it affordable. Prices may vary depending on the source in which you purchase these gems. Buying directly from the source may range from $3 to $10 per carat while buying from a gemstone store in the United States, may vary from $10 to $50 per carat.

How should I clean my jewelry?

Scoring high on the Mohs hardness scale, the topaz and citrine birthstone can withstand everyday wear. However, the more you wear it, the more you clean it. Use water and soap to gently cleanse your jewelry, avoid harsh chemicals, and store the pieces in a jewelry box with velvet lining so they don’t collide and scratch.

November Birthstone Buying Guide

Whether you’re celebrating a November baby or are looking for a beautiful piece of jewelry, citrine and yellow topaz are gifts from the sun. If you’re interested in these golden gemstones, here are some links to your November birthstones or you can shop in JTV’s November Birthstone collection!

Topaz Rings                            Citrine Rings
Topaz Earrings                      Citrine Earrings
Topaz Bracelets                    Citrine Bracelets
Topaz Necklaces                  Citrine Necklaces

Anna Anderson

Anna wasn't born in November but is certainly eager to buy her own November birthstone jewelry piece. She's planning on buying orange madeira citrine to support the Volunteers!

Read more about Anna on her author page

Anna Anderson

Holly Evans contributed to this article.