Topaz is a beautiful as well as popular gemstone. It comes with a decent hardness, desirable colors, and a relatively better abundance and availability than its precious counterparts like ruby or amethyst which makes it comparatively cheaper and easier to buy.
Naturally occurring topaz is found in hues from bright yellow to a deep golden brown. The orange-yellow tones are also called the Imperial Topaz. Their special property is that they can fade if exposed to the sun for a considerable period of time. A small amount of topaz is also found in red, pink, and blue shades. These are very expensive due to their rarity.
The blue topaz is often created from faint blue or colorless crystals, which are abundantly found, by a process called irradiation. The crystals thus processed are heated to form an icy, pastel blue color. The darker hue of blue known as London blue is created by exposing the crystals to neutrons. The color blue suits well in both white and yellow metals and is therefore a favorite of jewelry designers.
The name topaz is believed to have derived from Latin Topazus or French Topace. The Greek words Τοpáziοs or Τοpáziοn may also have been instrumental in the christening of the stone. Alternatively, it may also be related to the Sanskrit word Tapas meaning heat or fire.
Topaz are crystals of Aluminum fluoro-hydroxyl-silicate (Al2SiO4(F,OH)2), also known as the felsic composition. The different colors are due to the impurities present. Topaz crystals are found in most commonly in igneous rocks, as pegmatites, and in the cavities of granite and rhyolite. They are also found in metamorphic rocks like quartzite or schist, although very rarely.
Minas Gearis, a state in Brazil, is the most important source of topaz in the world. Other sources are in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, China, Japan, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Ireland and Tasmania. The rare pink topaz is found in parts of Russia and Northern Pakistan.
Topaz in History
The Roman author and natural philosopher, in his book Natural History, mentioned that Topazos was the name of a mythical island in the Red Sea which the first place where the stone topaz was mined.
Topaz also finds mention in the Bible. In Exodus 28:17, the King James version, it says in the Hoshen, “And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle(garnet): this shall be the first row."
Topaz in Astrology
Yellow topaz is the birthstone of November borns while the blue one is for those born in December.
In Vedic astrology, yellow topaz is considered to be the gemstone of Jupiter. It is especially recommended for those who write spiritual books and for those who want the happiness of children. Women looking for the perfect match are also said to be helped by this stone.
It is also said to cure medical problems like cough, skin infections, and jaundice.
Value and Uses
Topaz is used to make necklaces, pendants, earrings, rings, and other jewels. It is also found as beads which can be strung together to make something like a choker or a bracelet. Colorless topaz is often used as a substitute for diamond, while the blue one is often mistaken for aquamarine.
As for its industrial uses, it is used as an abrasive in products like knife sharpeners, scouring pads, and grinding and sanding equipment. Hard gemstones are often used in such applications.
However, although topaz ranks an 8 on the Moh’s scale, it is pretty vulnerable to breakage due to its perfect basal cleavage. It means that it can break easily if hit at a particular angle. For this reason, topaz needs to be protected from any force striking it, or a drop on a hard surface or even an extreme temperature and pressure. Therefore, it is advised to avoid steam and ultrasonic cleaners for topaz jewelry. A soft brush and warm soapy water is the best bet when it comes to cleaning topaz.
So, this was all about this fabulous stone called topaz. Do you know something about it that we haven’t mentioned here? We’d love to know. The comments section is all yours.