A genuine precious topaz is a rare, expensive and beautiful stone. This transparent variety of colored gemstones has an orthorhombic crystal structure with two or three phase inclusions. Two-phase inclusions generally have tear-shaped cavities filled with gas bubbles or liquid whereas three phase inclusions contain gases, liquid and small crystals. With hardness of 8 on moh’s scale, topaz is a relatively durable gem. Blue topaz is the birthstone of December and yellow topaz is the birthstone of November. Topaz is also a gift for the 4th, 19th and 23rd wedding anniversary.
The stone comes in an array of colors ranging from yellow, blue and orange to pink, green and brown. Due to its vivid hues, scissor cut or step cut is mostly used to display the color effect. Topaz is popular as a beautiful alternate to diamonds and sapphires due to its high brilliance and vitreous luster.
Topaz is not a new stone and it has been known as a gem of constancy, loyalty, faithfulness and friendship for ages. The stone was highly valued in Egyptian civilization as the bestower of wisdom and protection. It was believed that the gem had received the intense yellow color through their Sun god, Ra. The similar association was made by Romans who thought that the bright brilliance of topaz was given by Jupiter, Roman Sun god.
Today the most common form of topaz is blue topaz but in ancient discoveries it was yellow topaz that ruled the world. Even the term ‘Topaz’ was originated from Sanskrit word ‘Tapas’, meaning fire. Different cultures of the world had different associations with this beautiful gem but the common thing among all was that they always relate it to solar energy.
Topaz is mined in various locations including Brazil as the largest producer followed by Russia and Pakistan as other two important mining sites. Afghanistan, Japan, Germany, Sri Lanka, Italy, the United States and Mexico are other prominent locations of topaz deposits.
The gem was famous throughout history for its healing and mystical powers. It was thought to have curative powers to treat insomnia, asthma, hemorrhages, week eyesight and many metabolic and digestive disorders.
According to Greeks, the gem could increase strength and make its owner invisible in the times of emergency. The stone was used by ancient people to heighten the taste buds, counteracts bad moods and calm irritability. Topaz was also symbolized as the stone of delight that would bring joy of life for the wearer by embarking him on the path of self realization.
The gem was highly valued by Greeks and Romans and it was also mentioned in bible as one of the stones that protected New Jerusalem. It was also one of the twelve stones studded in the breastplate of High Priest Aaron.
Finding large chunks of topaz is not an unusual thing but till medieval times the stone was highly prized due to less availability. The ‘Braganza’ diamond that was found in Ouro Preto, Brazil in 1740 was actually a colorless topaz. It weighed 1680 carats which is quite a big number for other gems but not for topaz as a 23,000 carat yellow topaz has the proud title of being the largest gemstone found to date. It is in Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
Throughout the history, different colored topazes have mined that were owned by kings and queens who believed that these were the providers of wisdom and knowledge.
The colorful world of topaz has many common and rare tones. Yellow, orange, brown, sky blue, Swiss blue and London blue are common topaz hues whereas green topaz, pink topaz, red topaz and imperial topaz are very rare.
This charming and dazzling gem is a popular choice for fine gemstone jewelry. Earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets studded with topaz are very much liked by flocks across the globe. And it’s not only the beauty but the history of topaz also makes it a famous and desired gem in today’s fashion forward time.