World of Topaz
Topaz at a Glance:
|Colour:||Yellow, orange, brown, pink to red to purple red, blue, light green & colourless. Topaz are ofter heat treated for colour enhancement.|
|Main Factor Affecting Value:||Clarity and size are the main aspects affecting value.|
|Inclusions:||Some imperfections can be visible. Imperfections at the atomic level in topaz crystal structure can cause yellow, brown, and blue color.|
|Birthstone:||Topaz is a November Birthstone|
|Some Diamond Mines:||Brazil, Utah (USA), Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Mexico, Australia|
World of Topaz
A majority of consumers know topaz as simply a blue gem. They’re surprised to discover that its blue colour is hardly natural: It’s caused by treatment. They might also be surprised to know that topaz has so many more colours to offer gem lovers, including pinks and purples that accompany the finest sapphires.
The name topaz comes from Topazios, the old Greek name for an island in the Red Sea, now called Zabargad. (The island never produced topaz, but it was once a source of peridot. Scholars trace the origin back to Sanskrit (an ancient language of India) and the word topaz or tapaz, meaning ‘fire’.
Largest topaz found:
The American Golden Topaz currently holds the record for the largest cut yellow topaz in the world. Sized at 22,892 carats (4.5785 kg in weight) and has 172-facets. The gem was cut from a piece of yellow topaz that was 26 lb in size. The original mineral was discovered in the Minas Gerais, in Brazil, and cut by Leon Agee over two years. In 1988, the American Golden Topaz was donated to the Smithsonian Institute, and put on display in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The price of the gem remains unknown.
The Greeks believed that topaz gave them divine strength.
In Europe during the Renaissance (1300s - 1600s) people thought that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger. For centuries, people in India believed that topaz worn above the heart assures long life, beauty and intelligence.
The name for imperial topaz originated in 19th Century Russia. The Ural Mountains were topaz’s leading source, and the pink gemstone mined there was named to honour the Czar. Ownership of the gem was exclusively for the Royal Family.
Topaz: As a ‘talisman’.
It is believed that wearing a topaz gemstone in the form of a pendant enhances confidence and also restores lost energy. If worn above the heart, assures long life, beauty and intelligence.
Interesting facts: Topaz
1. Topaz varies in a wide range of colours including red, orange, peach, pink, gold, yellow, brown and clear. Often found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Russia. Naturally pale to medium blue topaz is enhanced by irradiation to produce a more intense blue colour.
2. The most famous topaz is actually a colourless topaz that was originally thought to be a diamond. It is a 1680 carat stone known as the ‘Braganza Diamond’ set in the Portuguese Crown Jewels. Another topaz is in the Green Vault in Dresden, Germany; which has one of the world's most important gem collections.
3. Topaz is a relatively hard stone, making it a good investment for jewellery; you will be wearing on a everyday basis. It rates 8 on the Mohs Hardness scale and is pretty resistant to scratching. However, like a diamond, it can be chipped or cracked with a hard blow. Please make sure that the sides of your stones are protected, and take care not to hit the stone along the edges.
4. There are a few different varieties of blue topaz that are marketed in the jewellery industry: Swiss blue topaz, London Blue topaz, and Sky Blue topaz. While Blue topaz can occur naturally, this is very rare. The vast majority of blue topaz is treated by taking colourless or lightly coloured topaz and using a combination of heat and radiation. These available gems used to command a decent price per carat, but due to over manufacturing, the abundance of material has caused the cost of blue topaz to go down considerably.
5. Though topaz is the official birthstone of November, the alternative birthstone is golden citrine. Alternative birthstones that often differ entirely from the official birthstone, citrine and topaz are so similar that they are often confused. Citrine is a variety of quartz that comes in golden yellow or soft orange and brown tones. Topaz is a much more diverse option.
6. The most valuable colour of natural topaz is red. It is so rare that less than 1% of all gem-grade topaz rough exhibits this crimson colour. These stones have a reddish-orange tone and are known as Imperial Topaz. The red colouring is the most dominant at the top and bottom of the stone. The centre of the gemstone usually exhibits an orange body colour with pink undertones.
7. When most people think of topaz, they think of a lightly coloured brown stone that is inexpensive. Though this is partially true, topaz also offers some high quality natural coloured variety that can rival top quality coloured sapphire in both beauty and value for money. Natural topaz comes in many shades of yellow, orange, red, green, blue, pink, and purple.
8. For thousands of years before gemologists and geologists could differentiate between minerals, all golden coloured gemstones were called topaz. For instance, gems like golden citrine and smokey quartz and even peridot were considered to be topaz even though they are different minerals. It's understandable why because to the naked eye, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between golden citrine and a coloured topaz. Science eventually helped differentiate topaz, but it seems the average jewellery consumer is still being left behind; often confusing topaz with citrine. Despite the confusion, topaz has become prized among jewellery enthusiasts for its unique beauty and variety of other colours it is available in.
Celebrities / public figures who wear topaz
- Lisa Rinna – wife of US actor Harry Hamlyn (August 2014; Daytime Emmy Awards, red carpet ceremony; – for its 39th Daytime Emmy Awards, Emmy nomination for ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’)
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