November and December Birthstones: Topaz and Tanzanite

Behold, November and December babies, as we introduce you to your birthstone jewellery.

You must be wondering, how did these birthstones become part of modern-day jewellery? Birthstones have a Biblical source, tracing back to the book of Exodus in the Bible, and specifically on the breastplate of Aaron. The breastplate was inlaid with 12 gemstones.

Without further ado, let’s discover the characteristics of topaz and tanzanite birthstones.

November’s Birthstone: Topaz

Topaz jewellery necklace

For many centuries, November’s birthstone, topaz, has been associated with long life, beauty and intelligence, according to Indian people.

The ancient Egyptians and Romans associated this golden gem with the sun god, giving it the power to heal and protect.

Where is Topaz Found?

Minas Gerais, a state in Brazil, is one of the most important sources for high-quality topaz, which has been mined for more than two centuries. Yellow to orange, red, pink, violet and blends of red with orange or purple are some of the colours that are unearthed here.

Northwestern Pakistan is also known for producing pink topaz. The most sought-after shade of pink topaz hails from a small town Katlang in Pakistan.

History and Lore of Topaz

Some scholars trace the origin of the word “topaz” to the Sanskrit (the ancient language of India) word Tapas, which means fire.

The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them immense strength. In Europe during the Renaissance period, people thought that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger.

In addition to its rich and mysterious history, topaz is also known as the gem for commemorating 4th and 23rd wedding anniversaries.

How to Care for a Topaz

Ranked as an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, topaz has poor toughness, which is why extensive care is required to avoid chipping or cracking.

To clean topaz, do not use steam cleaning or ultrasonic cleaners. High heat or sudden temperature change can cause internal breaks in topaz.

The best way to care for topaz is with warm and soapy water. To minimize scratching, store topaz in a soft cloth or padded container.

December’s Birthstone: Tanzanite

December babies are associated with the tanzanite birthstone, which is extremely sought-after and valuable due to its scarcity.

Due to its limited source, tanzanite is at least a thousand times more valuable than diamonds.

Where is Tanzanite Found?

Tanzanite jewellery ring

Tanzanite is found in the Merelani Hills, a 4km strip of land near Mount Kilimanjaro, located in northern Tanzania. It is the only known source on earth where tanzanite is mined commercially.

In major mechanized operations, thousands of workers recover tanzanite birthstone from mines dug over 100 meters (more than 300 feet) deep into the earth.

History and Lore of Tanzanite

Tanzanite is relatively new to the coloured stone family. In 1967, a Masai tribesman stumbled upon a cluster of highly transparent, intense violet-to-blue crystals weathering out of the earth in an area of northern Tanzania.

The new gem would eventually be known as tanzanite, and it would, rival the Big 3 (ruby, sapphire and emerald) in popularity.

With its vivid colours, high clarity and potential for large cut stones, tanzanite quickly became a sensation.

Today it is not only December’s birthstone, it is also used to commemorate the 24th wedding anniversary.

How to Care for Tanzanite

This birthstone ranks 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes it resistant to the effects of normal heat, light and common chemicals. Still, tanzanite may crack if exposed to high or sudden temperatures and abrades easily.

Most tanzanite stones are heat-treated to produce the blue to violet hues that characterize this gem. The resulting colour is permanent and there are no additional durability concerns.

When it comes to cleaning tanzanite, warm and soapy water is the best way to do it. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are never recommended for tanzanite.

Now that you know a little more about the history of November and December’s birthstones, you might just be inspired to add them to your collection. If you know someone whose birthday is coming up in November or December, consider giving them a birthstone jewellery piece to make their day special, just like these stones.

Buying a specific birthstone can be a bit overwhelming, which is why you can always consult with our expert staff at J.H. Young in Brantford. We’re happy to help you pick out birthstone jewellery for yourself or a loved one.

Visit our newly renovated store today to view our wide range of collections.