Crystal Closeup: Topaz

Growing up as a November baby I must confess that I thought that I had lamest birthstone imaginable: topaz. It was just so yellow and I always longed for my sister’s birthstone (amethyst) to be mine instead. I felt like it was some cosmic mix-up where she got a cool birthstone and I got an uncool one. Happily, as an adult I made peace with my birthstone, and discovered that topaz and amethyst can be used in conjunction to create powerful, healing energy.

Topaz comes in a variety of colors including blue, brown, colorless, green, orange, and pink. The classic, yellow variety is the most common and is one of November’s birthstones. A lot of the topaz on the market has been treated in some way: much of blue topaz is heat-treated colorless topaz, and all ‘mystic topaz’ has been treated. Some of the most well-known natural topaz comes from Brazil, specifically the Ouro Preto deposit. The label ‘topaz’ was used for hundreds of years to indicate a yellow crystal, but in the 1800s the meaning of ‘topaz’ was refined, and many other colors of the gem were discovered.

Below is a breakdown of some of the important information about topaz, which you can copy into your grimoire, and some suggested magickal activities.

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Crystal Closeup: Citrine

Citrine is a rare crystal that ranges in color from pale yellow to a yellow-olive. Its name comes from ‘citron,’ the French word for ‘yellow.’ Citrine is a type of quartz and also often occurs with smokey quartz; smoky citrine and citrine with smoky phantoms are naturally occurring. Natural citrine gets its color from hydrous iron oxide and is one of the few naturally occurring yellow crystals. After amethyst, citrine is one of the most popular crystals in the world.

Ametrine is a different, relatively new discovery, found in the Anahi Mine in Bolivia. Ametrine is essentially part citrine and part amethyst, hence the portmanteau. Ametrine is formed due to a partial-heat exposure to the amethyst that creates the yellow color, and, because of this, ametrine does not have the iron inclusion of natural citrine. I went to a gem show and found someone selling Bolivian Ametrine from that very mine and he confirmed that the crystal is formed naturally through heat that occurs under ground. For ametrine I advise using the metaphysical properties of amethyst with a yellow boost.

You can’t talk about citrine without discussing heat treated amethyst. It’s such a pet peeve of mine that my friend regularly holds it up in crystal shops and waits for me to roll my eyes. It bothers me because the properties of amethyst and citrine are not similar, let alone interchangeable. That means when you accidentally use heat treated amethyst in the place of citrine, you think you’re working with citrine, and you’re not. Additionally, the healing properties of amethyst are compromised by the treatment process. The process is so simple that you can do it in your home oven, though I do not recommend it at all. Here you can see my photo, taken last December, showing a natural citrine point (top/right) in comparison to a heat treated amethyst cluster being sold as citrine (bottom/left). Fake citrine is one of my crystal pet peeves, maybe my top crystal peeve.

Real citrine is much more expensive than fake citrine, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping. Also, real citrine never appears in that dark, amber color, or on a matrix similar to amethyst. Fake citrine tumble stones are incredibly common; they are a combination of white and this honey amber color always. Hibiscus Moon has a great post about this issue and goes into the science of how it works, so if you’re interested in learning more, check out her article here.

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