Friday, October 23, 2015

10.26.15 Where did October go? Time for November birthstones.

Trillion - citrine
Oval - topaz
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was writing about the beginning of October...and now it is almost over.  We had few days of fall in Texas earlier in the month (my daughter has already seen snow flurries in Boston) - last week it was hot as Hades, over the weekend we had 5+ inches of rain, and today it's sunny and fall like, again...confirming the old adage "if you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait five minutes."

No matter the weather - the calendar certainly says "fall". We successfully celebrated all the October babies - and now we are moving on to November, and my fabulous mother in law's birthday.  I adore my husband's mother (who we call Mimi) - I have ever since I met her - but especially with my own mother gone, she fills a huge place in my heart and I love having a reason to celebrate with her.

Ametrine earrings - my collection
Like October, November has two birthstones - topaz and citrine.  Topaz comes in a wide range of colors, but the most prized topaz - imperial topaz -  is a reddish-orange, very much like citrine.  Several gem and jewelry sites suggest that they were confused in antiquity, and that is possibly why they are both used as November's birthstone.

Citrine is a variety of quartz, and sometimes under the right conditions two parts of the same crystal form with different levels of oxidized iron, resulting in a two color stone know as "ametrine" - because it is a combination of amethyst and citrine.  Virtually all ametrine and citrine are mined in South America.  Naturally occurring citrines vary in color from pale yellow to coppery brown depending on the amount of iron in the crystal.

Several years ago, my mother in law gave me a number of pieces of jewelry from her family - including a gorgeous citrine ring with an ornate gold setting that was worn by her grandmother (who was also known to her grandchildren as Mimi).

I took those rings, along with some that I had inherited from my own grandmother and great aunt, to Russell Korman to have them cleaned, checked to make sure the settings were secure, and sized for my daughter - who loves to wear them when she has a party to attend, or goes out for a fancy evening.

Peggy Li smoky topaz pendant
Topaz, November's second birthstone, is a silicate crystal that also occurs in a variety of colors.  Pure topaz is clear, but it is found in a range of hues including pinks, reds, browns and blues.  The variations in color result from mineral impurities in the crystal formation. Smoky topaz and blue topaz are two of the most popular colors for jewelry.  Natural smoky topaz is abundant, however, blue topaz is much more rare, and is often achieved by heating clear or very light blue stones to get a darker color.  The color enhancements are stable and result in a bright stone at an affordable price.

One of my go to jewelers - Peggy Li - has some beautiful topaz pieces, including this large smoky topaz I gave my mother in law as a birthday gift several years ago.  Her bubble necklace - which comes in both topaz and citrine - would make a wonderful November birthday gift.

For lots of other gift ideas, visit my November birthstones Pinterest page, with lots wonderful pieces from some of my favorite jewelers and jewelry sites.

As winter approaches, and the days grow shorter, I hope you have the warmth of friends and family around and lots of cause for celebration.

Until next time.

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