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Monthly Archives

November 2014

November Birthstone, Part 2

Topaztopaz

Although pink and a reddish-orange color known as imperial are the most valuable colors of topaz, this gemstone variety is now most often seen on the market in a blue color, thanks to a new irradiation enhancement process for colorless topaz developed in the 1970’s.

The world’s most famous topaz, the huge Braganza set in the Portuguese Crown, was originally thought to be a diamond.

Topaz is the traditional US birthstone for November. Blue topaz is considered an alternate US birthstone for December.

Topaz can be the amber gold of fine cognac or the blush of a peach and all the beautiful warm browns and oranges in between.

The most valuable topaz is more red than yellow from pale pink to a “sherry” red. Imperial topaz is also highly valued. Yellow to brown topaz is more affordable.

The strong icy blue color of blue topaz is created by exposing colorless topaz to low levels of irradiation and heat. Lighter colors are created by electrons and the darker blue known as London or Super blue is created by neutrons. Treated topaz has no harmful radiation levels. Blue topaz is among the most affordable color gemstones.

Heat treatment is sometimes used to change yellowish topaz to pink.

Surface coatings and diffusion treatments can be used to create other colors. These surface coatings may come off in time with normal wear.

Topaz is most often found in a scissor cut, a rectangular gem shape with curved sides that have triangular facets. Ovals, cushions and emerald shaped are also available.

Because blue topaz is readily available and affordable, it can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including unusual shapes.

Topaz has a high hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, but it isn’t tough. Like a diamond, it has a pronounced cleavage: a single blow can break it in half so it should be protected from knocks.

The treated color of blue topaz is stable and permanent and does not require special care.

Clean topaz with mild dish soap in warm water: use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub under or behind the gemstone where dust and dirt can collect.

Some information from the GIA web site.

November Birthstone, Part 1

CITRINEcitrine

Sunny and affordable, citrine blends especially well with the yellow gleam of polished gold. This yellow to gold quartz is readily available; in fact the largest faceted gemstone in the record book is a 19,548 carat citrine.

Named from the French term for lemon, citron, many citrines have a juicy “lemon” color.

In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts.

Sometimes you will hear citrine incorrectly referred to as topaz quartz. Since topaz is different mineral, the industry has ruled to eliminate this name.

Along with topaz, citrine is one of the US birthstones for November.

Citrine includes transparent quart from yellow to “honey” to orangy brown.

Although the darker orangy brown to reddish orange color, called Madeira citrine, has traditionally been the most valued, recently the bright “lemon” color has been more popular.

Citrine is generally more affordable that amethyst, its quartz sibling. Like all quartz gems, citrine is relatively plentiful and is available in a wide range fo sizes and shapes, including very large sizes. Citrine is also popular for designer cuts and carvings.

Most citrine on the market began as amethyst that was heated to turn its color to “gold”

Citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, It’s durable and great for everyday wear.

Clean citrine with mild dish soap: use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

Citrine jewelry should be kept away from prolonged exposure to strong light or heat.

Be sure to have all your jewelry professionally inspected and cleaned with us whenever you like. We recommend seeing us at least twice a year. Memorial Day and Thanksgiving are two holidays to use as reminders. Of course, if you have a special occasion, please come see us anytime.

Some information is from the GIA web site.