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Different Types of Topaz Gemstones

Updated on March 7, 2011

Topaz Mineral Information and Facts

Topaz (Al2SiO4(F,OH)2) is one of the hardest minerals found in nature which is believed to be able to dispel enchantment. Topaz is written in the book of Revelation as the stones of foundation representing the Christian virtue of contemplation.

Topaz Gemstone
Topaz Gemstone

Topaz Stone Characteristics

Topaz is silicate based (Al2SiO4(F,OH)2) and topaz is one of the hardest minerals found in nature. Topaz has been well known and used since ancient times. The name topaz comes from the Sanskrit term meaning fire. In fact, the word topaz was used in the Middle Ages to describe any yellow gemstone, today it is properly used to describe this particular stone. Pure topaz is transparent and colourless but is usually tinted by chemical impurities, they also sometimes has a cloudy or cat's eye effect. Imperial topaz is a red-orange to a pink-orange colour and is the most highly prized topaz.

When exposed to sunlight, some topaz colours can fade away, while colour changes can be induced by irradiating and heating pale stones, most commonly to a beautiful aqua-blue tint, and this is acceptable in the gem trade. Most blue topaz on the market today is irradiated. The vast majority of pink topaz are heat-treated yellow stones that turn pink. Red-brown topaz is sometimes called root beer topaz and is found in mexico and Utah, it is not of highest value but if compared to citrine it is typically more expensive but far less than morganite or a good golden sapphire.

Imperial Topaz
Imperial Topaz

Where Topaz is Found

Topaz typically occurs in pegmatite dikes, in cavities in rhyolites and granite, and in high-temperature veins as it is formed bby the vapours given off in the crystalisation of these particular igneous rocks. This gemstone comes in a myriad of colors such as yellow, clear, brown, gold, red, pink, blue and orange. Clear topaz was often mistaken for diamonds. Yellow topaz is traditional birthstone for November, while blue color is for December.

Topaz untinted by impurities is clear, but usually it is wine or yellow colored, and sometimes orange, or blue, gray, pink, brown or green. Most often it is found in igneous rocks. Some cristals have been found in Brazil that have raeched boulder size. Other locations where topaz is found are Sri Lanka, Europe, Afghanistan, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the Unites States. Although it can be broken by a pointed, glancing blow, topaz makes fairly durable and long lasting jewelry. This factor, along with its clarity, attractive color and blaze make the gemstone topaz very popular.

Topaz Metaphysical and Healing Properties

Topaz shows pleochroism, the appearance of severral colors, depending on the perspective, a blue topaz appears light and dark blue: a red topaz dark red, yellow, pink-red: a yellow topaz lemon-honey, straw-yellow. Colored topazes get usually a step- or scissor-cut. For weakly colored stones, the cutting style is the brilliant cut. A topaz with disordered inclusions is cut in a cabochon. Do not clean topaz in an ultrasonic cleaner, use warm soapy water and a baby's toothbrush is the recommended method.

Legend says that topaz has the power to dispel enchantment. Mystic healers believe that topaz (any color) possesses the power to banish feelings of depression or anger and nocturnal fears. It is believed by ancient Greeks that the gem could increase one's strength and make the wearer invisible in times of emergency. The stone will change its color in the presence of poisoned drink or food. Ancient Egyptians wore it to protect them from injuries and poisons. Topaz is mentioned in the Bible as one of the gems in tthe breastplate of the Second Temple. Topaz is said in the book of Revelation as one of the stones of foundation representing the Christian virtue of contemplation. It was also said that the light from a topaz enabled Saint Hildegarde to read prayers in dark chapel. Early Romans related this beautiful stone with their god Jupiter. Egyptians also said that topaz, the sun jewel, symbolizes the sun god Ra.

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    • karMALZEKE profile image

      karMALZEKE 5 years ago

      Thank you. I was on google and wanted to know about topaz and this lens popped up. It was very helpful.