Information For precious and semi precious gemstones
Stone : Topaz / Blue Topaz
Moh's Hardness : 8
Origin Locations : O'Briens' Creek, Mt Surprise, North Queensland, Australia; Oban, NSW, Australia; Africa; Minas Gerais, Brazil; Texas, USA; Russia; Afghanistan; Madagascar; Cornwall, England; and others.
Treatments : None to Various
Weight : Ranges from < 5 grams to 1KG+. Commonly found < 20 grams
Clarity : Eye Clean to Included
Color : Clear silvery white, natural blue, treated blues (eg. london blue, electric blue, swiss blue, sky blue), yellow, red-brown, red, pink-red, violet, green
Cleavage : Perfect
Chemical Composition : Al2[(F,OH)2/SiO4] - fluor containing aluminum silicate
Refractive Index (RI) : 1.609 - 1.643
Density : 2.49 - 3.57
Birthstones : Topaz (Yellow/Golden) is the birthstone for November.
Blue topaz (natural or treated) is the birthstone for December.
Topaz is the zodiac stone for the sign of Sagittarius.
Topaz is the ayurvedic birthstone for November.
Blue topaz is the stone for the 4th anniversary
Topaz is the stone for the 23rd anniversary
Comments : The history of topaz is a long and ancient one and the gem has long been used as an ornament and jewelry stone. The name "Topaz" is thought to come from the name of an island in the Red Sea formerly called Topazos but now Zebirget. Topaz was mined here on this island. Another possible origin of the name Topaz is that it comes from the Sanskrit word "tapas" which means "fire" or "heat". This could be due to the yellow/red colour that topaz sometimes occurs in.
Many people believe that topaz comes only in yellow and this is true, it does come in yellow. However fancy colors like yellow, reds, oranges and pinks are actually quite rare, so is the very beautiful natural blue. My personal thoughts on why yellow has become closely associate with topaz, in the same way that blue is associated with sapphire, is that in historical times the technology or ability to differentiate between types of stones was very limited. Yellow quartz, now known as Citrine, is quite common in many parts of the world and I believe that alot of yellow topaz was actually yellow quartz. Today we have the ability to tell the difference between the various types of stones but one still has to be cautious in the marketplace and buy from a reputable dealer as there is still the potential for confusion.
Topaz makes an ideal jewelry stone as it is hard and very durable. It cuts well into brilliant designs and becomes a gem that has lots of scintillation and "fire". If I was pushed to pick a personal favorite of all the gemstones, I would probably have to give natural blue topaz the nod. It is a stone that I love to cut and the colour, though soft, is divine. Truly it is! The soft blue colour is for me, the most elegant of blues, soft and delicate, sometimes ethereal, sometimes icy like the blue in an arctic iceberg. It is cooling on a hot day, fresh and light and always cheery and pleasing. Each stone is unique in its coloring, some have more blue, some less. The colour is easily as beautiful as aquamarine and in truth, far better then the vast majority of aquamarine that is in the marketplace.
Sadly, with the advent of modern gemstone treatment technology, natural blue topaz has taken an undeserved fall from popularity. Irradiation and heating is now routinely used to change the clear silvery white topaz into a uniform array of vivid treated blues. These stones have the trade names of london blue, electric blue, swiss blue and sky blue. The colour is the same for each category and this is the material that you see in jewelry stores across the land. It is cheap and plentiful whereas the natural blues are scarce and relatively expensive. This sudden mass explosion of treated blues dealt the natural blues a blow and that is sad, for these natural blues are easily one of the most beautiful gems in the world of coloured gemstones. Blue sapphires might be the Queen of Gems, but if there is a Princess of Gems, she would be a natural blue topaz.