November Birthstone: Topaz
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TOPAZ

The Egyptians wore topaz as an amulet to protect them from injury. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz could increase strength in the wearer. In Rome, topaz was said to improve eyesight by soaking the gem in wine for three nights and then rubbing the stone on one's eyes. In the middle ages, people believed that topaz could cure physical and mental ailments and prevent death and was used as an ingredient in potions.
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The Egyptians wore topaz as an amulet to protect them from injury. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz could increase strength in the wearer. In Rome, topaz was said to improve eyesight by soaking the gem in wine for three nights and then rubbing the stone on one's eyes. In the middle ages, people believed that topaz could cure physical and mental ailments and prevent death and was used as an ingredient in potions.
Topaz is found in many colors such as blue, pink, brown, green, and colorless, but yellow is the color most often associated with this gem.
All yellow stones were once called topaz but today the real orange-red “imperial” variety is a rare find.

According to Pliny, the name topaz was derived from the Island of Topazos in the Red Sea, which probably refers to Zeberged, ancient source for peridot. But it is more likely that the name derives from the Sanskrit word «tapas» meaning fire.

The Egyptians believed that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the sun god Ra.
The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase one’s strength and make its wearer invisible in cases of emergency.
The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who is also the god of the sun.

In the 19th century, pink topaz was discovered in Russia. The gemstone was so coveted that only the Czar, his family, and those he gave it to were allowed ownership.
Before the 20th century, all yellow, brown, and orange transparent gems were called topazes. Modern gemology has defined topaz as a distinct gem species, chemically and physically. Although topazes come in many colors — such as rare, natural pinks and reds as well as treated blues and coated varieties —many people still associate these gems with yellow.

Most likely due to this yellow color, some believed topaz had the mystical ability to attract gold. In particular, topazes set in gold purportedly did this most adeptly. Apparently, esteem follows wealth, as topaz has been associated with royalty, too.

In the Middle Ages, carved gemstones were believed to be natural wonders possessing special powers. For example, in the 13th century CE work, The Book of Wings, Ragiel writes:
In Hindu traditions, topaz is associated astrologically with Jupiter. Rings set in astrological sequence as represented by different stones are called the “nine-gem” jewel, Naoratna or Navaratna. Since ancient times, talismans set in the prescribed manner with flawless gemstones were considered very powerful.
Topaz gets its name from the Greek word topazion, which may originate from the Sanskrit tapas, meaning, “fire.” The name might also come from the name of the Egyptian island of topazos (now St Johns island) in the Red Sea. The Latin writer Pliny the Elder used the island’s name for a yellowish green stone found there, and it soon became the name for most yellow stones. Topaz was once predominantly found there but is now also found in Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Burma, and Mexico.

In Hindu mythology, the word for topaz means heat. Topaz is one of the sacred stones of the Hindu’s Kalpa tree. It is well known and very sacred to the Hindus. It is one of the 9 sacred stones upon a talisman of nine gems. The Hindus believe that worn as a pendant, this gemstone will relieve thirst, sharpen intelligence and lengthen ones life.

In Africa, healing rituals with topaz are practiced to establish communion with the realm of the spirit. The Bushmen who bring it to their shamanic work both for journeying, working with ancestors, and for healing, treat the stone as a highly sacred one.
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