The beautiful Topaz gemstone – though available in many gorgeous colours like blue, green, red, pink, brown, gold, peach and even colourless – is usually known for its stunning yellow colour.
The word Topaz means “fire” in Sanskrit. The birthstone for November, Topaz carries many interesting facts with it.
It is said that a small island in the red sea called Topazos gave the Topaz its name. Stones with a golden hue that were found here by the Romans were called Topazos. These stones were in fact not topaz but rather Peridot. Today the island is called Zabargad which means Peridot in Arabic.
Red brown coloured Topaz is regarded as very valuable because of its rarity . Known as Imperial Topaz, this gemstone has most of the red brown colouring at the top and bottom of the gemstone. The middle part of the gemstone has an orange colour with pink undertones. Less than 1% of all Topaz gems exhibit this colour.
Imperial Topaz, named after the Russian Czars of the 18th and 19th centuries, was widely used in the Imperial Jewels of Russia.
Reaching an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, the Topaz gem is a durable and hard gemstone that makes the perfect choice for everyday jewellery and engagement rings, but, it does require proper care to avoid chipping and cracking.
In ancient times, Greeks believed that this gemstone could increase the strength of the wearer and provide much-needed help during hardships.
Ancient Greeks also used the stone to make the wearer invisible. And as per the Egyptians, this gemstone could offer protection against injury. Whereas, Romans used the stone to improve the eyesight.
Topaz is sometimes thought to be inexpensive and readily available. But, that’s not really the case. Topaz gemstones also come in high-quality varieties which can fetch a much higher price than initially expected.
The gemstone is associated with faithfulness, friendship, devotion and commitment, which makes it a perfect gift for a wedding or anniversary. In fact, it is also the Wedding Anniversary Gemstone, which can be gifted to celebrate the 4th and 19th year of marriage.
more about topaz gemstones
When it comes to Topaz and it’s almost identical twin Citrine gemstone, both of them resemble so much that distinguishing between the two becomes almost impossible for a layman.
A 1680 carat colourless topaz is one of the well-known Topaz gemstones ever found in the history of gemmology. This gem beautifully adorns the Portuguese crown. Initially, the gemstone was misidentified as a diamond, until its real identity as a Topaz gemstone came out.
The Topaz gemstone provides several benefits to the users. It is said that wearing a Golden Topaz can help in treating low immunity, obesity, anxiety, muscle cramps, joint pains, constipation, lower backache, stomach issues, diabetes, gallstones, and liver-related disorders, etc.
It is believed that during the Middle Ages, the gemstone was used to not only heal physical and mental issues but also to prevent death. It is said that wearing this gemstone as a necklace can ward off sadness and grief. It can also help in improving the intellect of the wearer.
Brazil is one of the largest suppliers of Topaz. The stone is also found in other countries like Germany and Zimbabwe.The exquisite pink coloured Topaz was first discovered in Russia during the 19th century. This highly semi precious gemstone was restricted for use only by the Czar, his family, and by those who were gifted with it.
Blue Topaz is the most popular colour in today’s jewellery marketplace. It is sold in a broad range of blue colours, starting from a pale blue with a light tone and saturation, all the way to a deep blue with a moderate to dark tone and saturation.
Blue topaz is very attractive, inexpensive, and a favourite colour of the jewellery customer. These characteristics drive the popularity of blue topaz.
Before 1970 most of the topaz in low to moderate price jewellery was yellow to brown in colour. Natural topaz with an attractive blue colour was rare and very expensive. As a result it was seldom seen in jewellery. Today’s blue topaz is a product of gem treatment.
In the early 1970s, gem treatment experiments revealed that much of the abundant and inexpensive colourless topaz could be converted into blue topaz. The colourless topaz was first treated with high-energy electron or gamma radiation and then heated to a beautiful blue colour. Treaters learned to vary the treatment procedure to yield topaz in a wide range of blue colours.
The radiation used to treat topaz consists of a beam of subatomic particles. These tiny particles enter the topaz crystal at high velocity and have the ability to knock electrons out of their orbits or cause other damage to the crystal lattice. These defects change the way that light travels through the crystal and can change the wavelengths of light that are absorbed. The result can be a change in the colour of the topaz as perceived by the human eye.
Mainly Two varieties of treated blue topaz have come into popularity. These are known as “Swiss Blue” and “London Blue” topaz. Swiss Blue is a bright blue topaz lighter in tone and saturated moderately. London Blue is a dark blue topaz with a moderate to dark tone and saturation.
These two colours give jewellery buyers a choice of two blue colours. London Blue Topaz is the current market favourite. It is only slightly more expensive than Swiss Blue topaz.
Where is topaz found?
Topaz is found and mined in various places over the world: Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Asia and the renowned blue topaz of Sri Lanka.
Where does the gem’s various colours come from?
Other than structural basic elements, topaz is allochromatic, which means that its colour is caused by impurity elements or defects in its crystal structure. Chromium causes natural red, pink, and violet-to-purple colours in topaz. At an atomic level imperfections in topaz crystal structure can cause brown, yellow and the much loved blue colour.
Is Topaz safe for jewellery?
Yes, they are extremely popular for jewellery. Topaz is a hard gemstone, 8 on the Mohs scale, but care should still be taken when wearing your topaz settings.
What determines the value of a topaz?
The highest valued topazes are the rare pink and red stones, then yellow and orange. Intense, reddish orange topaz is called Imperial Topaz. Colourless topazes are the most affordable.
How can I tell if my topaz stone is real?
Topaz can actually scratch glass – not that we would suggest you try that at home! An original topaz will scratch glass while something like quartz will not leave a mark on it.