November Birthstone is Topaz

November 25th, 2015

This was always the result of Mike picking on me as the younger brother (as I remember it) and me responding the way little brothers will.

Unfortunately, it always seemed Mom would walk in just at the precise moment when I landed on Mike’s back and began applying Bob Backlund’s chickenwing hold (yes, I liked WWF).

You have to be a jewelry family to understand what came next.

After pulling me off my brother’s back and settling me down, she would take out a small red jewel on a necklace and hang it around my neck. It was a topaz (my birthstone), but she called it the Matt-paz. “A little something to help you cool down, young man.”

She claimed to believe the ancient lore that topaz had a special power to control heat. It was said to be able to cool boiling water, and by extension, boiling tempers. And it was called a Matt-paz because she was never there when Mike started it so he never had to wear it. Which is why it wasn’t called the Mike-paz.

Anyway, I bring it up because this is November, and topaz is the November birthstone. And all this month, as in every November, when we’re in the store together, Mike will ask people if they’d like see a beautiful Matt-paz. Then this whole story comes out, and I have to stand there and smile.

I get the last laugh, though, by reminding my brother that topaz is also reputed to make men handsome and intelligent. And since I wore the Matt-paz so often, and he never did…well, you be the judge.