NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONE TOPAZ
Topaz it is a birthstone for November. — The true Topaz of the ancients which commonly and vulgarly in former times has been taken for a Chrysolite, is a transparent gem, of a diluted green color, which seems (as said Boetius — Anselmus Boëtius de Boodt) to have some yellowness added to it. Andreas Baccius said, it is a stone egregiously glorious, and in its kind excelling in virility, and being found it is preferred before other gems.
«When it is found of a yellow greenness, it is not (said Boetius) then properly called «TopaZius», but «Crysopatius», and the mother of the «Smaragde» (today — the Emerald).
In a «Crysopatius» there is a golden splendor, which does shine through a veered, or green color. In a true «Chrysolite» , which is commonly and vulgarly called «Topaz» there is nothing else but a perfect, excellent, glorious, dilute, green color, or a delightful golden splendor; and in a perfect «Topaz» there is found an excellent, glorious, dilute, green color, which is very delightful to the eye; and without any touch or tincture of any other color whatever.
Thus are these three precious gems truly and perfectly distinguished, which Pliny does speak to confusedly of, that nothing of truth can be gathered from him concerning them».—Vide Boetius.,p.104.
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Typically, Topaz is associated with yellow gem. However, Topaz exhibits many other shades of color, such as: grayish, greenish, bluish, and reddish. Topaz may also be colorless as a diamond.
There is a way to change the yellow color of Brazilian Topaz, by heating it to a pale rose-pink and the Topaz is often treated in this way. Only brown-yellow Topazes yield the pink color. The pale yellow gems turn white, when heating.
Blue and pale green topazes are found of large size, and often have better luster than specimens of beryl having similar colors.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME OF THE TOPAZ
By the Hebrew words «פלר» and «פםרה» some do understand the Topaz of the Ancietns; (of which Hebrew words we have before spoken of on the page of the May Birthstone Emerald or «Smaragde») and that because it is green like the Emerald.
Topaz is called in Greek «τοπάζιεν», «τοπάζιον» of Hesych. It is also called «Topazion», from cloudy island of the Red Sea, which is often sought for by Navigators, for which frequent it is called «Topazion», and «Topaz» is so named because it is found in this island.
«Topazion» from whence this name «TopaZion» comes, is a «Trogloditish» word, which in the language of the «Troglodytes», signifies «quaerere», or «to seek».
The «Troglodytes» are Ethiopians, which are extended to Arabia and the Red Sea, who have this name from their frequenting of caverns and caves of the Earth: hence in Greek they are called «Troglodities».
Pliny (Pliny the Elder) l.37.,c.8. said, that «this gem was first brought out of the Island of the «Troglodities», called «TopaZion a quadendo», to Berenice Queen of Egypt, and from thence was called «Topazion»».
It is called in English — «Topaz»; in Italian — «Topazzio»; In French — «Topasse»; in Spanish — «Topazzie»; in German — «ein Topass»
The Egyptian name of Topaz signified primarily a «yellow stone», so probably it could be not the Topaz but the yellow Jasper, known and used in Egypt at a very early date. The Topaz was probably not known earlier than 500 or 600 B.C. in Egypt.
Today, there are a lot of other names of Topaz, such as: «Siberian Diamond» (colorless or blue topaz), «Saxon Peridot» (green topaz), «Brazilian Ruby» (red Brazilian topaz), «Killiecrankie diamond» (colorless Australian topaz), «Mogok diamond» (colorless Burmese topaz), «Physalia», «Pickney».
«November Birthstone» is a modern name of the «Topaz» gemstone, which is used in a birthstone jewelry as a marketing name of this gem, but this name of Topaz has a historical base. It was used in the gem charts of XIX century. For more information about birthstone charts in different countries and religions, you can read, for example,— «The Curious Lore of Precious Stones», written by George Frederick Kunz in 1913.
LEGENDS ABOUT TOPAZ
«Topaz» — It is the nature of Solaris, or Sun-Stone. Cardanus (Girolamo Cardano) in his book of admirable cures, does relate wonders concerning the verities of Chrysolite. He said that with alone powder of it drunk in wine, he cured Cesar Palavicinus of a fever that he had been troubled with all fifteen days, and another Noble-man of Melancholy, and of Melancholy, and on the falling sickness with the same remedy, after that he had long in vain been tormented with the somniferous lotions of Physicians.
The powder of Topaz, is said to be good in Asthmatics passions, and in the Orthopnoea if it be drunk in a convenient liquor. If in fivers it be held under the tongue it is said to quench thirst. It is cold and dry as all other precious stones.
The excellent Topaz in the glory of its virility has been esteemed a stone of great value, and that not only for its innate inbred excellency whereby it is very pleasant to the eye: but because it has been of sacred use, as both old and new Testament do affirm.
Topaz was one of these gems which had a place in one of these four rowers of stones engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel, and set in ouches of gold upon the breast-plate of Judgment, as Exodus 28.17., where it was said of God concerning the order of the precious stones in the breast-plate of Judgement. — «The first row shall be a Sardius and a Topaz, and Carbuncle, this shall be the first row».
Topaz is of esteem, not only for its fun-shine glory; but for that also it has been of sacred use. This is one of those stones which the glory of the seventh foundations of the wall of the New-Jerusalem is discovered to us, as Revel.21.20.
Topaz is so hard that it will endure the file, and it grows into so great a masse, that of times features have been made of it. Juba king of Mauritania wrote concerning Topaz, that «there was a statue of four cubits made of it for Arsinoe the wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus, which was consecrated to the gods».
It is reported of Hadrianus Gulielmus, that at Naples he had a Topaz engraved with these ancient Roman letters:
Deus omnia cernit».
In English thus:
«Nature by frailty does daily wast away.
Fortune is turn’d and changed every day.
In all, There us an eye know’s no decay.
Jah see’s for aye».
These that are excellent Topaz, do sparkle forth their glory, and beam forth their delightful rays: there are of much esteem, and of very great worth, price and value.
It is for its grateful aspect of very great esteem. Topaz is so perfectly hard, as that by the heat of fire it may be made diaphanous and void of all color, and thus like the best Sapphire, changed into an admirable Diamond; in so much as it being thus dealt withal, no other stone whatever can better resemble on Oriental Diamond then it will.
Anselmus Boetius said, that he saw one of these that weight scarce two scruples (a unit of weight equal to 20 grains, used by apothecaries.), and it was sold for 2 hundred crowns (XVI c.). The color of which (he said) being separated from it, it (Topaz) was so exactly set in ring, that a skillful jeweler couldn’t know it from a true Diamond.
It is whitened after the same manner that Sapphires are; of which has been before spoken.
Ovid.lib.2. Metamorph. does very splendidly feign a chariot of the Sun made of a Chrysolite, in that saith,
«Aureus axis erat, temo aureus, aurea summa
Curvatura rota, vadiorum argenteus ordo:
Per juga Chrysolithi, positiaque ex ordine gemme
Clara repercusso reddebant lumina Phoebo» — Latin.
We need to mention here that the Ancients mistaken thought that the Topaz is the same gem stone as Chrysolite. Although, in fact, the Chrysolite is the same gem as Peridot.
TOPAZ AS A MINERAL
As we can read in the CYCLOPÆDIA of Art, Science & Literature, Vol. XXXVI of 1819, written by Abraham Rees:
«The Topaz may generally be distinguished from all other minerals by the rhomboidal base of its crystals, the fracture, and cross lamellar structure, and by the longitudinal streaks on its fide planes.
Topaz is less hard and heavy than yellow sapphire, and the latter does not become electric by heating. The same characters distinguish it from spinel: it is further distinguished from Spinel by its double refraction. Green colored topaz is distinguished from beryl by its greater specific gravity, that of topaz being 3.5, and of beryl only 2. The latter cleaves in the direction of its lateral planes, which the topaz does not.
A peculiar property of the Topaz was discovered by Vauquelin, that the powder of this gem changes the syrup of violets to green if it remain in the liquor two or three hours, and this property is common to all the varieties of the topaz.
Mr. Canton, in 1760, found that the Brazil Topaz has the electrical properties of the tourmaline. The topaz is easily counterfeited; and there are factitious ones, which, to the eye, are not inferior to the natural ones, to counterfeit the topaz in glass, fee glass resembling Topaz».
NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONE JEWELRY
For a present time, Topaz is the most popular yellow stone in jewelry. It is used for rings, earrings, necklaces & pendants. Most of the Topazes used in jewelry of the present day come from Brazil or Ceylon.
There are two types of Topazes, which has been divided by jewelers: the oriental Topaz and occidental Topaz. The Oriental Topaz called «The Yellow Sapphire», and the occidental called a «fluo-silicate of alumina».
The occidental topaz category consist three varieties of Topaz, the yellow Topaz, the blue Topaz, and the white Topaz.
The yellow, the prevailing tint, passes from a pale yellow to a rich orange color. Some jewelers call this deep orange tint an oriental topaz. The finest of these come from Villa Rica, Brazil. Saxony also furnishes topazes of a pale yellow, bordering on canary color.
The gem, called «Oriental Topaz» is found also in the Mourne Mountains, Ceylon, Asia Minor, Pegu, Siberia, in Scotland, in Aberdeenshire, and in Ireland.
Blue topazes mined in Brazil, so its often called as «Brazilian Sapphires».
Topaz could also has a pink color. It is produced by exposing the orange topaz to a low red heat: it is called a «Brazilian Ruby» sometimes. However, Pink Topaz could be found in nature sometimes.
AS A ZODIAC SIGN
Topaz is primarily the birthstone for Scorpio (especially blue and purple varieties). It also fits to Gemini, but traditionally, ancient astrological sources attribute it to the Scorpio zodiac sign.