It is almost November, so this means the end of fall and on to winter.  The birthstones for November reflect this changing of the seasons.  There are two gemstones, Topaz and Citrine, and both represent the late fall colors.

Topaz is a whole family of colors in itself!  There is the traditional “precious topaz” which is yellow, to golden, to a little pink or peach orange color.  This gem is produced only in Brazil.  There are also unique variations that are a strong pink to almost lavender pink.  All these colors fit into a fall color palette.

Another color of Topaz is colorless or what the industry calls white.  This gem exhibits a sharp clean brilliance and is really a nice option when looking for colorless gems.  White topaz is found in many locations around the world including Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and even Texas, right here in the US.  When this material is found there will be a few pieces that will have a natural light blue color. 

Most blue topaz you see on the market owes its color to an irradiation treatment, plus heating, which gives it a sky blue to dark “London” blue color.  In this case colorless rough from various origins are first irradiated and then heated to produce this wide range of blue colors.

The other November birthstone is Citrine, which is actually a specific color of quartz.  Quartz is a widely available gemstone and is found in many locations around the world.  A significant amount of the world’s supply does come from Brazil.  All citrine is a yellowish to brownish color with specific names for certain shades of color.

Much of the citrine on the market is a yellow to yellow-gold color.  In this material there is not really a secondary color so these gems will cut a pure bright sunlight color of yellow.  This color comes heavily from Brazil, but also from Zambia in Africa.

Some of the other varieties will be the Maderia shade, which is a rich orange-brown almost like Maderia wine.  The darker shade of this is a rich deep orange reddish brown is called Fire Citrine.  These colors come primarily from Brazil and many are heated to change it from a not too attractive amethyst quartz color to these rich orange to reds.  A lot of this rough is mined in the southern Rio Grande de Sol state in Brazil.

We often hear of “Smoky Topaz” as a birthstone for November also.  Although there is some smoky brown topaz that comes from the state of Guerrero in Mexico, most of what we see under this name is actually smoky quartz.  It would actually be a brown to almost black coloration of quartz.  So, not really a topaz and not the yellow to orange of citrine, but more a smoky brown color.