Topaz - Not Just a Beautiful Blue Gemstone.
When most people think of topaz
, they think of the familiar and beautiful sky blue
or Swiss blue
or London blue that one sees in jewelry stores. While it does not come in the wide range of colors that gemstones like garnet
come in, topaz does come in colors other than blue. While pure topaz is colorless and transparent Mother Nature colored some of it with impurities and changed the color to a whisky or sherry wine color or a yellow
(including a honey yellow or yellow-brown or flax color), brown, blue brown, reddish-orange, red, pink
or even a pale gray. White (colorless) topaz, as a diamond
substitute, comes and goes as fashion and diamond prices ebb and flow. Unfortunately, most people will never have the privilege of seeing some of these other beautiful colors because a) some colors are very rare and b) most jewelry stores do not carry them.The History of The Topaz Gemstone
Topaz, like many natural gemstones, is a gemstone of the ages. Some say that the Egyptians believed that golden
topaz got its golden glow from the god of the sun. Increased strength and the ability to make the wearer invisible were two attributes given to topaz by ancient Greeks. Early mines in Brazil produced many a topaz gemstone to grace jewelry worn by 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarina . Once topaz was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Southern Russia, any product of those mines was restricted to ownership by members of the royal family. Imperial decree further restricted topaz
ownership to only the Czars of Russia. It is that connection that seems to have provided the name Imperial Topaz to the reddish cognac through vivid pink
topaz.Topaz and Royalty
Topaz has been collected by royal families for centuries. And there are many topaz that are the subject of myths and misidentification throughout history. One of the most famous is the Braganza Diamond discovered in Brazil in 1797.
There have been stories told about this diamond; (estimated to weigh approximately 1700 carats uncut) and there has been much speculation that it was in fact not a diamond but a white or yellow topaz. It has been speculated that it was set into a royal Portuguese crown. Unfortunately, it seems to have disappeared around 1826 so no one can verify if it was a diamond or a spectacular topaz.Cut Topaz Gems Can Be VERY Large
It is not unusual to find some colors of topaz in larger carat weights and many larger beauties have been cut and polished and now reside in museums. There are very famous 1,000+ carat weight topaz at the Programa Royal Collections (Madrid Spain), the Smithsonian Institution of Natural History and one in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. These gemstones can range in sizes from 31,000 carats (6.2kg / 13.66 lbs) for the yellowish-brown El-Dorado (discovered in Brazil in 1984) down to 1,469 carats for an unnamed yellow-green topaz.Where Does The Name "Topaz" Come From?
Where the name topaz comes from is not clearly identifiable. Some say that it comes from ancient Sanscrit and some say it comes from ancient Greek. Others say it came from the Latin word Topazus through the Old French word Topac. But by any name, it is a beautiful gemstone.Topaz Mystical Properties
Some believe that topaz can drive away sadness, anger and nocturnal fears and that it can protect the wearer from sudden death. Some believe it can warn it wearer of poisons, make men more handsome and intelligent and as reference above, that it can make the wearer invisible. Some believe that yellow topaz can strengthen the bodys natural defenses against the common cold, improve breathing and protect against contracting tuberculosis. Myth has it that if one were to throw a topaz into boiling water to cool the water, that one could then reach into the water and then retract one's had with no harm to the hand. It is in no way recommended that anyone ever test this myth.Topaz Birthstone & Topaz Zodiac Birthstone
Topaz Gemstones are the traditional birthstone for those born in November and it is also the Zodiac birthstone for those born under the sign of Sagittarius. Some ascribe to the modern birthstone list wherein yellow topaz is the birthstone for those born in November and blue topaz is the birthstone for those born in December.The Different Colors of Topaz Gems
Topaz can be found in nature in several colors including light blue, pink, red, purple, orange, yellow, brown and gray but without a doubt the most plentiful type of topaz found is colorless (white). Because natural blue topaz is very rare, most blue topaz on the market these days is colorless topaz that has been enhanced. Good quality Imperial or Precious topaz is not readily available at most jewelry stores these days and when one does discover a piece of jewelry with Imperial or Precious topaz it is unfortunately usually not the best color.
Many people born in November don't seem to like what they have seen in yellow, golden, Imperial or Precious topaz. This is most probably because they haven't seen the best quality or they have never actually seen an Imperial or Precious topaz in person and they may only have seen pictures of lesser quality topaz on line. And it is hard to appreciate the beauty of these gemstones unless you see them in person. What is the difference between Imperial and Precious topaz? The terms are somewhat arbitrary and will depend on who is doing the evaluation. In general, most believe that precious
topaz covers the yellow to golden to golden orange colors and
that Imperial denotes a reddish yellow - orange or red (rare) or pink (rare) colors of topaz.
Golden topaz generally refers to the yellow variety of topaz.
Blue topaz generally is categorized into three colors. Sky blue is the lightest of the blues followed by Swiss blue and then London Blue. Blue topaz can resemble aquamarine
, blue zircon or apatite. Sky blue most closely resembles aquamarine but is typically less expensive and it doesn't display the pleochroism of an aquamarine (depending on the viewing angle, aquamarine will display blue to greenish blue or even bluish green color). Swiss blue is often described as a vivid electric
blue and London blue is the darkest of the blues and is a rich blue gray color. Mystic / Mystic Fire or Passion topaz cover a range of colors from blues to greens to reds / oranges, rainbow colors and all are enhanced. All start with natural colorless topaz. The process to create Mystic / Mystic Fire topaz from natural topaz was patented by Azotic Coatings in 1998 and introduced to the marketplace in the 2003. The process to create Passion topaz from natural topaz was patented by Swarovski in 2007. See below for more enhancement information.Topaz Gemstone Evaluation and Valuation
Because topaz comes in several colors and shades thereof, evaluating one can be a little more difficult than evaluating a gemstone like a diamond. Topaz is a gemstone of the evening and looks best in incandescent or candle light. It can look a little washed out in daylight or under florescent light especially if it is not of the best quality.
Topaz is cut in just about every shape imaginable except it is rarely cut in to cabochons. A well cut topaz will always stand out over a poorly cut topaz.
The hue of a topaz will depend on the color so the guidelines here are general by nature. In general, the more rare the color, i.e., violet / red, the more expensive the topaz will be. Enhanced blue topaz is very available and therefore less expensive as are Mystic and Passion topaz. A 60% - 70% hue is a good rule of thumb.
The saturation evaluation defined here is again a more general rule. Colors of topaz other than blue or Mystic or Passion may have a brown saturation mask. As a general rule, color saturation between 70% and 80% will be o.k. Over 80% and the brown mask will be noticeable, and under 70% the color may be too pale.
Many believe that in general the best tonal range is between 50% and 80%. This range may vary as to
which is best depending on the hue of the topaz and the individual preferences of the collector.
Topaz can be found in very large carat weights in nature. As a general rule the rarer the color the rarer it is to find in larger carat weights available for setting in jewelry. For example, blue topaz is very available in larger carat weights up to 20 carats but Imperial Precious topaz is rarer in carat weights over a few carats and will be much more expensive.
- Topaz is a Type I gemstone and should be eye-clean.
- While topaz is an 8 on the Mohs scale and very suitable for everyday wear in rings, pendants or earrings one should take the same care as one would when wearing a diamond. Like a diamond it has perfect cleavage and it can break, chip or form straight cracks if one were to hit it in just the right place. So protect it from hard knocks.
Treatments-Yellow, golden, orange, pink and red topaz may be heat treated or completely natural. Yellow topaz when heated may turn pink. While blue topaz does occur naturally it is rare. The blue topaz that took the jewelry world by storm in the 1980s is colorless topaz that has undergone heat and / or irradiation treatments*. These treatments made blue topaz plentiful and they are permanent. Mystic / Mystic Fire and Passion topaz are treated by different types of patented diffusion or surface coating processes. While these treatments are accepted and relatively permanent topaz treated with
these processes do require special care when being set and / or cleaned. Simple warm soapy water or jewelry cleaner safe for pearls and opals is the best for cleaning all topaz. As with all gemstones, one should avoid using chemicals like bleach or chlorine or abrasive polishing clothes when wearing topaz jewelry.
- A buyer who is considering the purchase of a loose topaz gemstone should request a professional gemological report in order to help them know exactly what they are purchasing. Grading reports may be shown using a numerical value and / or percent or be given an overall letter (B thru AAA to GEM) and description "grade" for the clarity and color - it will depend on with which laboratory the gemologist
trained. There are several recognized laboratories like Gemological Institute of America (GIA - uses the numerical scale), International Gemological Institute (IGI), International
Gem Society (IGS), European Gemological Center (EGC) and more.Topaz Buyers Beware
* The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has strict import regulations regarding blue topaz gemstones to ensure that they do not have residual radiation from the treatment process and AfricaGems guarantees that all of our blue topaz gemstones comply and are imported under these regulations and can be worn without hesitation.Topaz Imposters and Synthetics
One of the biggest misconceptions is that there is a genuine
topaz called smoky (smokey) topaz. This misnomer is still use in jewelry stores and on line today (but you won't see it on AfricaGems.com). Smoky topaz is in truth a type of quartz
(Citrine) and quartz and topaz are completely different types of gemstones. Smoky quartz should always be called smoky quartz and should never be represented as topaz as it is truly a misrepresentation.Other imposter names:
Bahia topaz = Citrine
Citrine topaz = Citrine
Gold topaz = Citrine - Note: This can be very confusing because Golden Topaz is a type of genuine topaz)
Indian topaz = Sapphire
(yellow to orange)
King topaz = Sapphire (yellow to orange)
Madeira topaz = Citrine
Oriental topaz = Sapphire (yellow to orange)
Spanish topaz = Citrine
Star topaz = Yellow Star Sapphire
Topaz Quartz = CitrineSynthetic spinel and corundum as sometimes sold as topaz.NEW COLLECTION OF BEAUTIFUL IMPERIAL TOPAZ AND PRECIOUS TOPAZ GEMSTONES JUST ARRIVED IN FREE SIZES
A very fine collection of high quality free sized loose topaz gemstones in the precious and imperial varieties are here! Precious topaz stones are characteristized by a beautiful pinkish orange color with the finest gems displaying reddish tones. Golden yellow topaz, the more commonly know variety has a beautiful golden straw yellow color. Topaz is also characterized by it's brilliance and durability. Don't wait - Get your loose topaz gemstone now!
Resources & References for Topaz Gemstones:
Learn More About Natural Topaz Gemstones from GIA
Learn More About Topaz Gemstones from AGTA
Learn More About Genuine Topaz Gems
Learn More About Genuine Topaz Stones from the ICA
More Information About Topaz Gem Stones from Wikipedia
Shop Stunning Topaz Rings
Shop Beautiful Topaz Pendants
Shop Lovely Topaz Earrings
Shop Magnificent Topaz Matched Sets