November’s Birthstone: Topaz

Topaz covers a wide spectrum of colors—including blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple, as well as colorless. (Red and pink, often called ­“imperial topaz,” are generally considered the most valuable, blue the most popular.) Perhaps the most famous example of November’s birthstone is the Braganza. Weighing roughly 1,680 cts., the legendary gem, originally believed to be a diamond, was discovered in Brazil and found a home with the ruling dynasty of Portugal in the late 18th century. The stone was last seen in 1826, then seemed to vanish. As with most gemstones, certain powers are associated with topaz. It is thought to increase strength, improve eyesight and intellect, and drive away sadness. According to the Greeks, it provides invisibility in times of danger—which could be why the current location of the Braganza remains a mystery.

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