Citrine, November’s birthstone, is a variety of quartz that ranges in color from pale yellow to brown. The name derives from the old French word for lemon, citrin. The gem symbolizes hope and strength and was once thought to guard against evil thoughts and snake venom. It was also used to treat urinary and kidney diseases. The alternate November birthstone, yellow topaz, which the ancient Egyptians believed received its color from the sun god, Ra, was said to improve weak vision when dropped into wine, allowed to sit for three days, and rubbed on the eyes.