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Topaz PDF Print E-mail
Gemstones - A-Z Gemstones

 

TOPAZ November’s birthstone
Origins Brazil, Mozambique, Nigeria & Russia
Colours Found Various
Family Topaz
Hardness 8.00
Refractive Index 1.60 - 1.64
Relative Density 3.49 - 3.57

The origin of the name Topaz generates confusion, as some references point to the Sanskrit word “tapaz”, meaning fire, while others believe it is named after Zeberget, an island in the Red Sea that the Greeks called Topazius, the ancient source of Peridot.

While some sources think this was due to ancient confusion between Topaz and Peridot, it now appears more likely that this name might have come from confusion with the Greek word “topasin”, which means to guess or conjecture, possibly in reference to the way fisherman sometimes lost the island in fog. Regardless, in history the name was not consistently or specifically applied (it was once used to describe most yellow gems) and sometimes Topaz and Peridot are mentioned as being the same and sometimes different. Interestingly, in the famous book “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones”, the esteemed gemmologist George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932) states that these two gems are the same species.

Topaz is an inherently romantic gem and features regularly in the titles of romance novels and honeymoon destinations. Its name indicates beauty, rarity and wealth, and imparts a sense of timelessness.

While the golden yellow and blues of Topaz are the most widely known, Topaz actually comes in a diverse array of striking colours. This combined with its beauty and durability, makes Topaz jewellery ideal for all occasions.

Legends and lore

Many ancient traditions and beliefs have created a brilliant history for Topaz. Like Peridot, the Egyptians called Topaz the “gem of the sun”, believing it was coloured by the golden glow of their sun god Ra and thus a powerful protector from harm.

Greeks and Romans also associated the golden crystals with their sun god, Jupiter. They believed the gem increased their strength and could neutralise enchantments.

Topaz is mentioned in the Bible as being one of the “stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:13-16) that were given to Moses and set in the breastplate of Aaron (Exodus 28:15-30). Topaz is also one of the twelve gemstones set in the foundations of the city walls of Jerusalem (Revelations 21:19) and associated with the Apostle Matthew.

Bushmen in Africa used Topaz in healing ceremonies and rituals to connect with ancestral spirits.

In medieval courts, kings, judges and other noble persons were often presented with an engraved Topaz to win favour and cultivate positive relationships.

If you are on a journey of spiritual change, Topaz is believed by crystal healers to make an excellent companion. It apparently teaches you to trust in the universe, aiding you to fully recognise the magical laws of attraction, increasing your ability to manipulate them.

Once believed to make you invincible during danger, Topaz is also believed by some crystal healers to strengthen confidence and to help you make correct decisions by giving you the courage to follow through on choices, thereby changing dreams into reality.

Meditations with Topaz are believed by some to help awaken sleeping talents and illuminate co-creative energies.

 

Just the facts

Mined from both host rock and alluvial deposits, its unique crystal structure makes Topaz a hard and dense gemstone. Because of this, pure colourless Topaz has often been mistaken for Diamond. Weighing 1,680 carats, the huge Braganza gemstone mounted into the Portuguese crown jewels was originally thought to be a Diamond - in fact it is a beautiful clear Topaz.

A hydrous aluminium fluorosilicate, Topaz is usually formed in granitic pegmatites and in Quartz veins.

Blue Topaz

As well as the renowned Sky Blue Topaz, the more intense colouring of Swiss Blue and London Blue Topaz are also becoming increasingly popular.

Glacier Topaz™

A unification of fire and ice, Glacier Topaz™ mixes the pure clear whites of glacier ice with a fiery brilliance and lustre reminiscent of Diamonds. Sourced from Russia’s frozen wildness, Glacier Topaz™ is a stunning new gemstone exclusive to GemsTV.

Mined from the same region as Russian Alexandrite and Siberian Emerald, Glacier Topaz™ is yet another testament to the quality of Russian gemstones. Glacier Topaz™, arguably Topaz at its most pure, requires only cutting and faceting to reveal its hidden beauty.

Glacier Topaz™ is mined at one location on the planet, the famous Murzinka mines (named after the Ostyak’s Prince Murzin) in the Ural Mountains, Russia. Active for well over a century, the Murzinka mines produce some of the world’s finest Topaz, a gemstone for which Russia was once famous.

While Brazil is today the recognised powerhouse for Topaz, Russian Topaz is relatively difficult to source, particularly with respect to the pure natural perfection embodied by Glacier Topaz™.

The miners work the deposits of the Murzinka granite pegmatite fields by tunnelling up to 30 metres below the earth’s surface in an effort to carefully extract Topaz crystals directly from the host rocks of the lucrative Mokrusha vein. Painstaking work, only a very small percentage of all the Murzinka Topaz mined has the necessary purity to warrant the distinction of being called Glacier Topaz™.

Imperial Topaz

At the height of Imperial Russia’s power, orange pink Topaz was brought from Brazil to decorate the jewellery of the Tzarina. Since then, these colours have been known as Imperial Topaz and remain one of the most coveted varieties. Interestingly, some sources dispute this legend and state that Imperial Topaz was named in honour of Emperor Don Pedro of Brazil.

Mystic Topaz

Displaying a flaming kaleidoscope of colours, Mystic Topaz (also known as Mystic Fire Topaz, Rainbow Topaz, Titanium Topaz, Alaskan Topaz and Caribbean Topaz) is one of the 20th century’s most beautiful new gemstones. First appearing in September 1998 at the Hong Kong Jewellery Fair, the popularity of Mystic Topaz increased dramatically when it was exhibited at the Tucson Gem Show in 2003.

Mystic Topaz is produced using the physical vapour deposition (PVD) coating process. Applied to top quality natural White Topaz, the treatment is permanent with normal wear.  This process can induce an iridescent appearance, whose colours range depending on the light source and the viewing angle relative to both the gem’s surfaces and the light source.

While Mystic Topaz displays a wide variety of scintillating celestial, earthly and oceanic hues all in one gemstone, the PVD process also produces a range of popular new Topaz colours including Flamingo Topaz, Twilight Topaz, Moonlight Topaz, Canary Topaz, Kiwi Topaz and Neptune Topaz.

 

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