Topaz is a natural gem that comes in many colors, with Imperial Topaz being the variety that is found in tones ranging from deep orange-gold to yellow to fine peachy-pink hues.
For many years most all gems found in these color tones were referred to as Topaz, until gemological practices grew to discern between Topaz and Quartz, as well as other orange, brown or golden gems like Garnets, Tourmalines and more.
Citrine is the orange variety of Quartz. You may have heard of “smoky topaz” as well. This is actually the grey-brown variety of Quartz. Citrine itself can range from smokey-brownish-orange to golden yellow to very fine deep orange, such as the color of Madeira Citrines.
Quartz and Topaz are completely different gem species with some very different traits. Quartz is more common than Topaz, making Citrine more affordable and more available in general. Topaz is more rare, especially in the finest colors of pink and peach Imperial Topaz.
Quartz forms in long pointed crystals that form in a hexagonal shape, yielding cut gemstones of all shapes with large stones available, while Topaz you’ll mostly see long, slender ovals, emerald cuts or pear shapes due to the slender nature of a Topaz crystal structure.
Cut gems can at times look nearly identical to the untrained eye, but here at The Gem Vault we can usually tell the difference between the two gemstones based on sight. Since their crystals grow differently these gemstones are typically cut differently, have different refraction, and a different look to the way they disperse color and light.
Both gems are durable and make for stunning birthstone jewelry for the month of November!