Topaz

Topaz is a lovely clear mineral that is often used for jewellery or decorative use. It occurs in several distinct colours and is hard enough to be perfect for faceting and other jewellery use.

We try to stock a range of colours and types – not just cabochons and faceted stones but rough pieces and crystalline forms too.

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Appearance, Uses and History

Topaz is a gorgeous mineral often used as a gemstone. It occurs in a wide range of colours and often has good clarity. Topaz is relatively inexpensive and can form into huge flawless crystals, making it an ideal stone for jewellery use.

The name Topaz is derived from the latin word ‘Topazus’, which refers to an island in the Red Sea, from which  a yellow stone was mined. It is now believed that the stone was actually Chrysotile, rather than Topaz.

Sri Lanka exported Topaz to Greece and ancient Egypt, leading to the greek name “Topazius” and the Egyptian name “Topapwene”.

In the middle ages, Topaz may have referred to any yellow gemstone. Given that the name was used to refer to other yellow stones, it is difficult to understand some of the history of Topaz – it is mentioned numerous times in the King James bible.

Blue Topaz is one of the most commonly used colours of Topaz in jewellery, but this is a recent change – since nearly all of the blue Topaz on the market is irradiated and heat treated.


Locales

High quality Topaz crystals can be found all around the world, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, the USA, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Mineralogy

Chemistry
Topaz is an aluminium silicate mineral with the formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2.
Colours and Variations

Topaz occurs in a range of colours, including colourless, blue, brown, orange, yellow, yellow-brown, green, pink, purple and red.

  • Clear Topaz is a pure form of Topaz with few impurities. It is relatively cheap and sometimes used as a low priced Diamond replacement.
  • Imperial Topaz is a form of Topaz with distinct peach, pink, orange, or champagne hues. Orange Topaz is sometimes missold as Imperial.
  • London Blue Topaz is a name used in the trade to refer to a Topaz with a blue-green colour that always reminds me of the sea.
  • Mystic Topaz is the name given to clear Topaz which has been faceted and then given a rainbow coating via vapour deposition of Titanium.
  • Orange Topaz is a birthstone for November, and the state gemstone of Utah, USA.
  • Pink Topaz is a very rare colour found in Brazil. It is often heat treated to enhance its colour. It may be possible to irradiate Topaz to form a pink colour, too.
  • Precious Topaz is a trade name referring to orange Topaz.
  • Red Topaz is an incredibly rare colour with heat treatment used to enhance its colour.
  • Silver Topaz is a trade name given to clear Topaz with cloudy inclusions – can’t exactly call it clear!
  • Swiss Blue Topaz is a name used in the trade to refer to Topaz with a blue colour similar to Aquamarine.
  • White Topaz is the name often used by jewellers and gemologists to refer to colourless, clear Topaz.
Streak
White
Luster
Vitreous
Fracture
Subconchoidal to uneven
Transparency
Transparent
Crystal habit
Prismatic crystals
Mohs hardness
8 – defining mineral on the Mohs scale.
Specific Gravity
3.49 – 3.57
Fluorescence
May fluoresce yellow under shortwave UV or creamy white under longwave UV.
Easiest testing method
UV, hardness
Common Treatments
Heating and irradiation are both used to affect the colour of Topaz, especially common in blue Topaz.

Photos of Blue Topaz

Topaz-tt62a
Topaz-sd325c
Albite-Topaz-ch31b

Photos of Imperial Topaz

Topaz-d06-215a
Topaz-Schorl-Albite-223890
Topaze - 22 mm - (USA) 1

TOPAZE9
Albite-Quartz-Topaz-tch04b
Topaze cognac (USA) 6

Photos of colourless Topaz

Topaze blanche (Brésil)
Freiberg, Terra mineralia, Topas, Cleavelandit
Topaze 2

Photos of Topaz jewellery

Yellow topaz ring 2
Armband av förgyllt silver med vita topaser, 1907 - Hallwylska museet - 110124
Halsband med topaser, från juvelerare Gustaf Möllenborg, 1868 - Hallwylska museet - 109588

Photos of cut Topaz

Blue topaz gemstones with inclusion
2 blue topaz crystals
Treated Brazilian topazes

Champagne-colored topaz
Azotic topaz

Hazards and Warnings

Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.

When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.


Translations

Arabic:

  • توباز

Hindi:

  • टोपाज

Portuguese:

  • Topázio

Bengali:

  • পুষ্পরাগমণি

Indonesian:

Punjabi:

English:

  • topaz

Italian:

  • Topazio

Russian:

  • Топаз

French:

  • Topaze

Japanese:

  • トパズ
  • トパーズ

Spanish:

  • Topacio

German:

  • Topas

Korean:

  • 황옥

Thai:

  • บุษราคัม

Gujurati:

  • પોખરાજ

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

  • 黄玉
  • 黃玉

Urdu:

  • پکھراج

Further Reading / External Links