Three Interesting Facts About November’s Birthstone The Topaz
Who first comes to this world below,
In dreary November‘s fog and snow,
Should prize the Topaz amber hue,
Emblem of friends and lovers true.
In this month’s penultimate piece in the Three Interesting Facts series we turn to topaz, a beautiful silicate mineral made up of aluminium made from aluminium and fluorine. Pure topaz is colourless, reflecting zero impurities but typically, they come in a variety of colours. From rich caramel reddish-browns and deep wine-reds to yellow-orange and even crystal blue hues, to name a couple!
WERE IS IT FOUND
This precious gem is very commonly mined (mostly naturally) in a number of countries including Russia, Sri Lanka, Italy, Sweden and Mexico, where it forms by crystallising within granite and rhyolite rocks.
The name topaz, as with many of the stones in our series, comes from the Greek ‘Topazios’ which was the ancient name of St John’s island in the Red Sea. Secluded and difficult to locate, it was a site that held a yellow stone mined by the romans at the time.
That’s one theory…
Other’s believe that its name is derived from the Sanskrit word “tapas”, which means ‘heat’ or ‘fire’.
Today, its hardiness, abundance and variety of colours makes it an ideal and most popular gemstone for use in jewellery- mainly earrings and necklaces.
And now for the main event! Here’s this month’s Three Interesting Facts!
INTERESTING FACT ONE
1- Topaz has been around for over 2 thousand years.
It’s one of the gemstones that form the foundations of the twelve gates to the Holy City in Jerusalem.
INTERESTING FACT TWO
2- The ‘apocalyptic’ stones are meant to warn off enemies and are a symbol of beauty and splendour..
Speaking of which, one of the most famous topaz gems is a giant stone set in the Portuguese crown.
INTERESTING FACT THREE
3- Topaz was highly valued in Egyptian culture..
The Egyptians believed that ‘Ra’, god of the sun, gave the gem its lustrous hue. The Romans also believed its yellow-orange colour was due to the sun.
Well if it’s good enough for royalty and ancient Egyptian gods then its good enough for us!
With Christmas closer than we can keep up with (or daren’t acknowledge), make sure and keep up to date with next month’s article, where we discover more about the dulcet blue hue of turquoise and let you into a few festive suggestions in the last of our Three Interesting Facts articles of the year!
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Written and researched by Hazel Martin for Helly and Haz of Helen Swan Designer Jewellery