Behind the November Birthstone

Each month of the year has a birthstone that carries special significance. Some months, like November, are associated with two gemstones.

What Is November’s Birthstone?

November is a month with two birthstones — the traditional November birthstone is topaz, while the modern gemstone for November is citrine.

Topaz is a gorgeous gem that comes in an array of colors. Golden or yellow topaz is most often associated with its status as a November birthstone, but other topaz colors include blue, pink, violet, orange and colorless. Topaz has a hardness of 8 but poor toughness, which means these gemstones require careful cleaning and handling.

Citrine is the modern November birthstone. This gem comes in warm shades ranging from transparent yellow to a deep, orangey-brown similar to golden topaz. While citrine is slightly lower on the Mohs hardness scale than topaz, it has greater durability, making it more practical for everyday wear. Citrine is often easier to acquire and more affordable than topaz, qualities which have fueled its popularity as a November birthstone over the last several decades.

The Origins of Topaz and Citrine

Topaz is commonly found in Brazil, Pakistan, Namibia, Nigeria, Madagascar and parts of Russia. Historically, the gem has been popular among royalty, including the Russian monarchy, which mined the rare, golden-pink imperial topaz in the Ural Mountains. Ancient Greeks and Medieval Europeans believed topaz had special properties of strength and wisdom.

Citrine has also been popular since antiquity and has a long history of being mistaken for golden topaz. Citrine is found all over the world, but top sources for this gemstone include Bolivia, Spain, Madagascar, Mexico and Uruguay. Many modern citrines are heat-treated amethysts from Brazil.

What Do the November Birthstones Mean?

For centuries, people have associated birthstones with particular qualities and characteristics, and November’s gemstones are no exception. Topaz was important to ancient Greeks, Europeans during the Renaissance and Hindus in India for hundreds of years. Many cultures believed topaz provided strength, dispelled anger and ensured wisdom and beauty. During the Middle Ages, some people thought topaz could thwart magic spells. Topaz is also connected to health, healing and long life.

Similarly, cultures around the world believed citrine could soothe tempers and promote calm. From the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to Scots during the Victorian Era, citrine has been a popular jewelry choice for centuries.

Blue topaz is the traditional fourth wedding anniversary gift, and imperial topaz is for the 23rd anniversary. Citrine is often given as a 13th wedding anniversary present.

Are Topaz and Citrine Valuable?

The value of November’s birthstones depends on a number of factors including color, size, condition and origins. In recent decades, the market has seen an increase in heat-treated topazes and citrines, which has made both gemstones more abundant and affordable. Famous pieces of topaz jewelry are highly valuable due to their hue, history and natural origins.

Learn More About Yellow Gemstones

To learn more about November’s two warm and radiant gemstones, contact Fortuna Auction today. Explore our site and discover upcoming monthly sales and auctions for topaz, citrine and more.

Fine Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

With this alexandrite ring the possibility of owning a museum quality gemstone is here. It is the ultimate example of high taste and unique style necessary for any high jewelry collection.

Fine Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

In today’s world, exclusivity is key. Everyone wants to impress their friends, but most want to own something they…………can not only appreciate and wear timelessly, but also have the power to say they own something truly in its own realm. With this alexandrite ring the possibility of owning a museum quality gemstone is here. It is the ultimate example of high taste and unique style necessary for any high jewelry collection. The enormous size, pristine clarity and evenness of color………..of this center set alexandrite is a feat that only Mother Nature can provide. It is coupled with a prestigious report from the Gubelin laboratory of Switzerland which subsides any doubts in any jewelry lover or collector’s hearts. It’s not only fascinating that the earth can create such a beautiful stone. It is also something magical that through the illusion of incandescent and fluorescent lighting we can see a phenomenon that is truly amazing. In addition people are able to harness that and use master craftsmanship to create a whole piece of stunning gemological art that can be worn.

For more video content, click here to subscribe to FORTUNA’s YouTube channel.

Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” in 18K Gold with Box and Papers

A blend of mold-breaking fashion and superior craftsmanship. The “Rainbow” Daytona is accented by a carefully curated array of diamonds around the lugs and meteorite sub-dials, which only adds to its allure.

Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” in 18K Gold with Box and Papers

Rolex’s “Rainbow” Daytona is one of the most audacious watch designs to have been made by the conservative company. Rolex started out with a solid 18K Daytona, added diamond pave to the lugs and crown guards, decorated the glossy black dial with factory diamonds, and added meteorite sub-dials. To top it off, the bezel was set with an array of rainbow-colored sapphires, each in a unique shade. The result is extremely luxurious and appealing to collectors for the use of materials and the expert craftsmanship, not to mention the rarity of the Rainbow Daytona.

For more video content, click here to subscribe to FORTUNA’s YouTube channel.

4.24-Carat Square Step-Cut Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring, GIA Certified

Offering iconic watches and highly desirable estate jewels, the latest addition to FORTUNA®’s monthly auction series is sure to excite collector’s of all tastes. Bid now on a broad selection of jewelry and watch treasures—most notably a stunning and rare Fancy Yellow diamond from the famed Zimmi mines, highly regarded for producing the most vivid canary diamonds in the world. Diamonds from the famed Zimmi mines have an outstanding reputation within the diamond industry due to their distinct and highly-saturated yellow color—a color that is rarely seen.

4.24-Carat Square Step-Cut Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring, GIA Certified, April Jewels & Watches auction

Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds are already known to be the crème de la crème amongst canary diamonds. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. This particular 4.24-Carat fancy yellow masterpiece is of Zimmi origin which is almost an immediate declaration of the diamonds’ superior color intensity—even when compared to other diamonds that are graded Fancy Vivid Yellow.

For more video content, click here to subscribe to FORTUNA’s YouTube channel.


Behind the March Birthstone

Tiffany & Co. Aquamarine Morganite and Diamond Drop Necklace
Sold for $30,000

Birthstones play a significant role in people’s lives. Many people attribute good health, wealth and security to the gemstones they wear or use. Each month has at least one associated gem known as a birthstone. Read on to learn about March’s most popular birthstone.

What Is the Birthstone for March?

Aquamarine is the birthstone for March. This gemstone got its name because its bright blue color resembles clear ocean water. The name “aquamarine” comes from the Latin word for seawater, “aquamarina.”

Aquamarine is a part of the beryl mineral family, along with emerald and heliodor. Beryl gems are often flawless and transparent. This blue or cyan gemstone forms in igneous rocks and grows in giant six-sided crystals that can reach a foot in length. The gems can grow to impressive sizes, then be cut down and polished to resemble clean-cut stones.

David Webb Multigemstone Necklace
Sold for $10,625

When Did Aquamarine First Appear?

The first documented discovery of aquamarine was made in 1723 in the Siberian mountains. By the end of the 18th century, large deposits of aquamarine were exported from Russia and shipped to Europe.

Today, aquamarine primarily comes from Brazil. You can also find this gemstone in Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar.

Does Aquamarine Have a Meaning?

There are many meanings and symbols associated with aquamarine. In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans thought of aquamarine as the sailor’s gem. They believed this blue gem would protect sailors during storms while traveling across the ocean. Ancient cultures also thought aquamarine was a token of love between married couples. Now, it’s the official gemstone to celebrate a 19th wedding anniversary.

Aquamarine also symbolizes happiness and everlasting youth in the Sumerian, Egyptian and Hebrew cultures. Many people believe that aquamarine has physical and mental healing powers. Modern believers think that the gemstone helps with fluid retention, glandular disorders and maintaining eye health. It’s also thought that aquamarine has calming, soothing and cleansing powers, making it an ideal gemstone for meditation.

Tony Duquette Aquamarine and Cultured Pearl Cuff
Sold for $17,500

Is Aquamarine Valuable?

Aquamarine is a semi-precious stone, making it an affordable gem. Light blue stones are abundant, which makes lighter varieties of the stone inexpensive. However, there are instances when aquamarine is more valuable. Rich, dark blue aquamarine is rare, so gems of those shades are highly valuable and more expensive.

One of the most famous pieces of aquamarine is the crystal Eleanor Roosevelt received as a gift from the Brazillian government in 1936. It weighs 1,298 carats and is the second-largest cut of aquamarine. 

Other famous aquamarine gemstones include the British Queen Elizabeth’s aquamarine tiara that matches her aquamarine necklace and earrings. Another member of the royal family also has an aquamarine piece of jewelry. Prince Harry gave his late mother Princess Diana’s aquamarine cocktail ring to his wife, Meghan Markle, as a gift.

Contact Fortuna Auction Today

Do you want to learn more about aquamarine jewelry? Fortuna Auction can help. We are the only global premier fine jewelry and watch auction house. Find out more information about gemstones and our upcoming monthly sales when you contact Fortuna today!

What Is Citrine?

If you own an extensive jewelry collection, there’s a good chance that at least one of your pieces consists of citrine. This semiprecious quartz variant is one of the most popular gemstones. Depending on the version, citrine exhibits an attractive golden brown to pale yellow color that closely resembles topaz. Examples of specific color options include bright and deep orange, golden yellow, lemon and reddish-brown.

Cartier Art Deco Citrine Diamond and Onyx Pin
Sold for $9,375

Citrine consists of large, visible crystals of quartz, the second most abundant mineral found in the earth’s crust. Although quartz is common, natural citrine is relatively rare. Madagascar and the Ural Mountains of Russia are among the few locations in the world where it’s possible to mine citrine. 

Natural citrine may develop in the form of geodes, which are secondary geological formations found in rock cavities. Geodes begin as mud balls in sedimentary rock or bubbles in volcanic rock. Over time, the outer shell of the geode hardens into a spherical shape. Citrine may also occur as veins of quartz beneath the earth’s surface.

What Is the Meaning of Citrine Stone?

The Ancient Greeks started using citrine as a gemstone around 300 B.C. The name derives from the Latin word “citrus” and the French word “citron” due to its yellowish hue. The color also exhibits the warmth, energy and power of the sun, another reason citrine stones are favorites of jewelry buyers around the world. Finding “natural” citrine is rare — in most cases, a heat-treating process transforms quartz into citrine. 

Citrine Characteristics

Besides its visually appealing color, citrine contains several properties that make it a top gemstone choice for watches, rings, necklaces and other jewelry pieces:

  • Clarity: Like most quartz materials, citrine offers a clear visual presentation. Because of its remarkable transparency, ensuring the color’s evenness throughout the stone is a primary consideration when purchasing a citrine stone. Small blemishes or cracks are also more likely to show.
  • Hardness: As a quartz derivative, citrine is harder than most minerals. It measures 7.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, trailing only topaz, corundum (sapphires and rubies) and diamond. However, as a gemstone, citrine is relatively soft. It’s possible to cut and shape citrine into various configurations. Although citrine jewelry pieces scratch easily, they’re tough enough to resist breaking or chipping.
  • Health benefits: Many people feel that wearing citrine jewelry contributes to better physical and mental health. The yellowish color projects warmth and stimulates the brain, promoting creativity, motivation and self-expression. It also wards off negative feelings like anxiety and depression.

What Is the Worth of Citrine?

The worth of a citrine piece largely depends on its color. In general, the darker deep red-orange color offers the highest value at around $30 per carat. The value typically diminishes as the shade lightens. Pale yellow products may only be worth about $10 per carat. Unlike diamonds and other gemstones, size has little impact on the price of citrine jewelry. 

Citrine and Diamond Gold Cuff
Sold for $150,000

Caring for Citrine Jewelry

Regular care helps preserve the beauty of a citrine ring, watch, bracelet, necklace or earrings. Due to the stone’s susceptibility to scratches, you should store citrine pieces in fabric-lined compartments of a jewelry box, away from other items. Use warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush to clean your citrine products. 

Trust FORTUNA When Selling Your Citrine Jewelry

Do you have any citrine jewelry pieces you’d like to sell? FORTUNA’s process ensures you’ll get excellent value for your products and you’ll avoid the unscrupulous practices of many local jewelers, jewelry dealers or pawn shops. 

Contact us to learn more about what citrine is good for and how our auctions can help you get top dollar for your pieces. If you’re looking to buy, browse our upcoming auctions to see what’s available.

The Beauty of Kashmir Sapphires

Kashmir is a region of Northern India known for producing some of the most beautiful sapphires at market. The sapphire trade in Kashmir is relatively recent, beginning in the 19th century, while other places have centuries of history. 

Sapphires possess a rich history of being much sought after as beautiful additions to jewelry or standalone jewels. Yet, the desirability of Kashmir sapphires stand apart from sapphires originating from other regions, due to their rarity and appearance. 

Edwardian 1.62-Carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Platinum Pin, achieved $21,250 at FORTUNA®’s 2018 June Fine Jewels auction.

What Sets Kashmir Sapphires Apart From Other Sapphires?

The importance of the Kashmir origin among sapphires can be likened to Burma for rubies. Gem-quality Kashmir sapphires are unmatched for their gorgeous blue color, a blue that is often described as a “corn-flower” blue or having a “velvety” appearance—as pictured above in the Edwardian 1.62-Carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Platinum Pin, a highlight of FORTUNA®’s 2018 June Fine Jewels sale in the past. When compared to most other blue sapphires, the richness and quality of color in fine Kashmir sapphires are truly in a league of their own.

The velvety softness of Kashmir sapphires can be attributed to minute liquid filled cavities within the stone that can only be seen with a high-power microscope. Under magnification, Kashmir sapphires also exhibit a unique phenomenon known as “zoning,” where the blue hue seems to be concentrated in parallel bands. Unlike most other sapphires, Kashmir sapphires lose none of their vibrancy or strength of color under artificial light.  

Victorian 4.30ct Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring - Fortuna NYC
Victorian 4.30ct Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring, achieved $187,500 at FORTUNA’s 2018 September Important Jewels auction.

How Rare Are Kashmir Sapphires?

Kashmir sapphires are rare, and their presence at auctions are scarce compared to most other colored gemstones.

The unrest in the Kashmir region, where India and Pakistan have a longstanding dispute, makes further mining more difficult, contributing to the scarcity of the stone. Very little has been taken from the Kashmir mines since the early part of the last century. With no new gems coming out, the ones already in circulation are even more in demand. 

Kashmir sapphires remain the crown jewel in many collections. They have become more sought after as their scarcity increases, and finding a quality one at auction is considered a major achievement for those who appreciate their deep color, and velvety, soft smoothness.

Find Kashmir Sapphires With FORTUNA®

While origin is very important to a sapphire’s value, it is also critical to note that a Kashmir origin is not an automatic indicator of the gemstone’s quality. FORTUNA’s jewelry specialists have years of experience evaluating rare gemstones, including Kashmir sapphires, and are available to consult whether you are seeking a Kashmir sapphire to add to your collection or are looking to sell. Browse our upcoming auctions or contact us for more information. 

Foster Family Heirloom Comes to Auction

The Foster family built a great legacy as founders of one of the most successful retail lumber enterprises in the United States, and we are thrilled to share part of that legacy with you in our November Jewels & Watches auction. John McCullough Foster established his first retail lumberyard in Randolph, Kansas in 1879, the first of what blossomed into an empire of over 70 lumber yards across 5 Midwestern states.

John McCullough Foster and one of his sons, Benjamin, who succeeded him as President of Foster Lumber Company.

In 1880, the Kansas Central Railway was extending its line, in an area formerly known as Clinesburg, Texas. The Fosters established a mill there, and what began as tenant housing quickly grew into a flourishing town known as Fostoria. The Fosters brought a progressive, idyllic existence, making sure to give back to the community. Schools, churches, a store, a hotel, and more were all run by the family. The only thing not run by the mill was the post office. Today, the Fosters are remembered as progressive employers creating a fulfilling living experience for all lucky enough to live in a Foster-held community.

The Fosters learned to enjoy their vast wealth, investing in fine jewelry as well. In 1945, one of Foster’s grandsons, also named John, spotted this luminous Art Deco Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Diamond Ring at William Schmidt & Sons, right here by Rockefeller Center half a century ago. This exquisite piece has remained with his family as an heirloom ever since.

Original 1940s advertisement material from Wm. V. Schmidt Co., Inc. about Cat’s Eye gemstones.

What are Cat’s Eye Gemstones?

Art Deco Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Diamond Ring, an exquisite Foster family heirloom (Lot 2250, November Jewels & Watches)

Cat’s eye, or chatoyancy, occurs in gemstones when a band of light is reflected from a series of thin crystals in a stone that are parallel to each other. The eye of a chrysoberyl is the sharpest of any cat’s eye gemstone, but the optical effect can be found in moonstones, aquamarines, and tourmalines. In chrysoberyl gems, fine silk crystal inclusions create this effect. When light obliquely strikes such a stone, it usually creates a shadow effect within the gem. The side opposite the light is a rich brown, while the side facing the light is yellowish-white. This so-called “milk and honey” look is characteristic of the finest cat’s eyes and makes them so desired.

This exquisite example of a cat’s eye chrysoberyl was offered in FORTUNA®’s November Jewels & Watches auction for an estimated $6,000–$8,000, and achieved a final price of $11,250. For more details on this lot, click here.

The Era of Retro Jewels

Shaped by sweeping cultural changes and the World Wars era, bold, Retro jewelry embodied the history of its time. Today, this period’s jewelry still offers timeless elegance, value and rich heritage from when the world was swiftly changing.

Tiffany & Co. Vintage Amethyst Necklace from 2021 November Jewels & Watches auction.

The Rich History of Retro Jewelry

Retro jewelry spans the period of the late 1930s through the mid-1950s. As it moved through early modernism and World War II, the time’s signature designs reflected the nuanced changes of history.

Its distinctive style began in France, with the first designs by Van Cleef & Arpels appearing at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Over the next decade, the iconic designs became popular throughout the United States. As World War II ravaged Europe, the United States carried on the European-inspired design. American designs took much inspiration from the new style, adapting past designs to fresh looks with bright colors and dramatic aesthetics.

As the world moved into the 1950s, retro jewelry played a leading role in developing art and design toward modernism, representing the post-World War II era’s futuristic vision. It became a popular image of a new larger-than-life design motif that reflected real-world objects with glamour and excitement.

This Boucheron Retro Gold and Diamond Clip (FORTUNA®’s April 2017 Spring Jewels auction).

Major Influences on Retro Jewelry Pieces

The World Wars had a profound impact on Retro jewelry. In the midst of the wartime era, patriotic and industrial themes appeared on many retro pieces. Accessories such as tank tread bracelets and red, white and blue stones became increasingly common, as did jewelry with military emblems and motifs.

One of the biggest influences on jewels of the period was the impact of the war on the supply of precious metal and gemstones. Platinum, which had been increasingly popular during the Art Deco era, was rare and often forbidden for sale, and many precious metals had to be rationed for the war effort. Palladium was substituted for platinum and low carat gold alloys, gold mixed heavily with copper, were used to make the most of the gold that was available. The innovative usage of gold alloys was widespread and jewelry of the period often had a reddish tinge to the gold, due to the copper, or incorporated tri-color gold designs. Similarly, precious gems became rarer because of shortages in the supply chain.

Retro Diamond Necklace from FORTUNA®’s recent November Jewels & Watches auction.

Signature Pieces of the Retro Jewelry Era

Glamorous and dramatic, Retro jewelry reflected new vivacity as the world moved forward from a tumultuous beginning of the century.

Brooches were a popular accessory of this period, added to a scarf, handbag or dress for accentuated elegance. Retro pins were often an elegant touch to soften the hard lines and somber colors of wartime fashion, and designs such as scrolls, fans and jeweled fruit became quite common. The fabric-like and ribbon designs seen in the Retro Sapphire and Ruby Brooch and Retro Tri-color Gold Ruby and Diamond Brooch, pictured below, are quintessentially Retro.

Retro Sapphire and Ruby Brooch (2021 January Jewels & Watches auction).
Retro Tri-color Gold Ruby and Diamond Brooch (2021 January Jewels & Watches auction).

Among the rings of the time, cocktail rings were highly fashionable. Exquisitely complex, they were statement pieces made to draw attention. Typically gold with minimal diamond accents and chunky, brightly colored center-gemstones, they combined brilliant colors and shapes into a bold statement piece.

Retro Large Aquamarine Ruby and Diamond Ring (2019 February Fine Jewels auction).
Retro Sculptural Large Citrine Ring from FORTUNA® ‘s recent November Jewels & Watches.

Necklaces of the era were popularly chokers or collar-length, to accommodate the fashion of dresses with high-necked collars. Gaspipe or Tubogas chains were the familiar chain of the time—their thick weave made them look heavy, but they were lightweight and easy to wear.

Cartier Retro Bracelet (2020 August Jewels & Watches auction).
Tiffany & Co. Ruby and Diamond Necklace (2017 September Fine Jewels auction).

An innovation by Van Cleef & Arpels, gold ludo bracelets became all of the rage during the 1930s. These were flexible gold strap bracelets composed of brick-like or hexagonal plaques. The style caught fire and many of the major jewelry houses adopted the design, as seen in the above Cartier Retro Bracelet and Tiffany & Co. Ruby and Diamond Necklace from prior sales.

Another particularly fashionable style of bracelet was to decorate wide gold cuffs by adding recycled pins or charms, particularly from the preceding Art Deco years. Shortages due to the war often meant that clients had to work creatively with their jewelers to remodel or repurpose existing jewels. An excellent example of the trend is this Very Fine Retro Bangle Bracelet with Art Deco Diamond Charms. Oversized woven and braided gold strap bracelets of the time were often also the ideal place to conceal a watch for a touch of functionality.

Retro Diamond Charm Hinged Bangle Bracelet, offered in FORTUNA®’s recent November Jewels & Watches auction.

Many changes toward bolder designs and patterns also reflected the changing times. As the world moved into a new period of history, this jewelry’s futuristic touches represented modernism and innovation in a fast-changing world.

How to Identify Genuine Period Jewelry

There are a few key signifiers that can help you identify Retro jewelry. First, look for the bold color schemes and designs that were a trademark of the period. Another indicator is historical motifs such as military designs that might point you toward the World War II era.

Because many types of metals and gemstones were scarce during the time, pay attention to the jewelry piece’s metals. Finally, look for clip-on earrings, brooch clasps, and similar designs that match the styles of this period.

Relive the Elegance of Retro Jewelry From Our Collections

At FORTUNA®, we value transparency and help each of our clients understand their jewelry’s true value. We are pleased to offer an elegant selection of genuine retro jewelry pieces. To explore our exquisite collections, browse our upcoming auctions today.

Harry Winston 6.01-Carat Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring

One of the many highlights in FORTUNA®’s November Jewels & Watches sale, this striking Harry Winston 6.01-Carat Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring is a must-have for those looking for the perfect engagement ring. The whopping center stone shown here glitters with E color and VS2 clarity and is flanked by two glamorous baguettes when set in its beautifully crafted platinum Harry Winston band. Collectors will be pleased to know that this ring comes complete with its original Harry Winston box and a GIA certificate. FORTUNA is excited to present a closer look at this impressive diamond from all angles.

Harry Winston 6.01-Carat Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring, GIA Certified from our upcoming November Jewels & Watches auction

In 1947, Harry Winston was dubbed the “King of Diamonds” by “Cosmopolitan” magazine, a legacy that lives with the jewelry house to this very day. The intuitive jeweler and master gemologist traveled the far corners of the earth on his quest for the world’s finest stones, and this fantastic ring is as great an example of excellence as Harry Winston always strived for.

For more video content, click here to subscribe to FORTUNA’s YouTube channel.