Topaz Buying Guide

Topaz Buying Guide

by shweta

While selecting topaz, it is better to examine it under the different light sources. As mentioned earlier, topaz are available in variety of colors and these colors are examined correctly under the suitable light source. Colors like orange, pink and red are better judged under incandescent light. Where else blue topaz gives radiant colors in daylight or fluorescent light.

Topaz is a precious stone suitable for the people born in the month of November. It is known as 4th anniversary gemstone. It carries a special place in all the jewelry items for women as well as men. Market is flooded with sellers selling topaz and it’s imitation. Topaz is a valuable precious gem and costs a lot of money. Therefore, this article is to help the buyer in purchasing the right quality topaz at the right price. It shall provide all the necessary information about topaz like it’s origin, physical characteristics, precautions and also the beliefs associated with it.

Topaz originates in cavities of granite, rhyolite igneous rocks and sedimentary iron formation composed of hematite and silica minerals. It is also found in alluvial deposits and high temperature quartz veins. These rocks and deposits are found in the mines all over the world.

Brazil, the land of gems and stones is the main source of Topaz. A place near Brazil’s minas state gives golden topaz for many years now. Usually, topaz occurs colourless or in brown colour. But, few parts of the world offers different coloured topaz. These colours are naturally occurred. Therefore, makes topaz valuable and precious.

Texas in USA and the Ural Mountains in Russia produces natural blue topaz having pale to medium blue colour. Mexico is the source for sherry stones having orange to brown colour. Mines of Russia, Brazil and Sri Lanka gives brown, yellow, orange, sherry, red and pink topaz. Colourless topaz also known as silver topaz occurs in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and China. Pink topaz, is very rare and is procured from Katlang area of Pakistan and Russia.

Colour of topaz is a crucial characteristic to be kept in mind while making the purchase. As learnt earlier, topaz is available in variety of colours. Sometimes these colours are naturally occurred else it is coloured by the colour centers. In this techno savvy world, through technology of irradiation and heat treatment colour centers creates different colours for topaz. For example, colourless topaz is often treated to become blue. Chrome obtained from Brazil is heated and turned into pink colour. Topaz contains chromium that is a impurity, which when heated at about 4500 F produces different shades of red, orange and sometimes violet.

All these man made colours are durable and retained for the lifetime. However, it is extremely difficult to find whether the colour of the stone is natural or produced through heat treatment process. In order to determine the colour originality of the gemstone and hence it’s true value, the gemstone have to be tested in the specialized laboratory by the qualified people only.

While selecting topaz, it is better to examine it under the different light sources. As mentioned earlier, topaz are available in variety of colours and these colours are examined correctly under the suitable light source. Colours like orange, pink and red are better judged under incandescent light. Where else blue topaz gives radiant colours in daylight or fluorescent light.

This transparent and translucent gemstone contains vitreous luster. Thus, it usually possess the clarity. Sometimes, few of the topaz crystals contains certain inclusions that are in tear-shaped cavities. Shades of red coloured topaz consists less clarity than other colours.

In addition to clarity, cut of the stone is important too. Topaz has perfect basal cleavage, therefore, it is comparatively easy to cut. Often it is cut as elongated stones and gets emerald cuts, elongated ovals, cushions and pears shapes. The pear shape with overly narrow shoulders is the shape that saves the weight of the gemstone.

Apart from these characteristics buyers need to be careful from the imitations. Topaz is imitated by a varieties of quartz. Natural stones like citrine and amethyst are heated with yellow heat to produce yellow topaz. Mostly, people associate topaz with yellow colour and so end up buying these imitated yellow stones paying the price of true topaz.

Real topaz could be identified from it’s imitations on the basis of the physical characteristics ( given in the table below ). Topaz is a hard stone having high density and perfect basal cleavage. Sellers use fancy names like Gold topaz, Brazilian topaz, Bohemian topaz, Madeira topaz, Occidental topaz etc for their particular topaz just for adding some value to it. These names do not carry any significance and therefore, one should not get carried away by these names but always be conscious while buying topaz. And always ensure to pay the right price for the right topaz !!

Price of topaz depends upon it’s colour, carat and stone size. In case the colour is natural and very rare then price shoots up the sky like natural pink topaz is very rare and very expensive. With the huge production of certain colour, the price might get dropped as well, as with blue and brown topaz. The most common color is yellow with a reddish tint, while the most valuable color is pink to reddish-orange. With the increase in carat and stone size the cost of topaz also increases. Like other precious gemstones, topaz should be protected from scratches and sharp blows.

Large or rapid temperature changes must be avoided such as leaving it in a heater or in a hot car. Exposure to acids, heat or sunlight can alter or destroy the colour of topaz. Jewelry consisting of topaz must be removed while using the cleaning solutions/detergents at home. It might affect the colour of the stone. Inspite of having 8 Mohs hardness and being quite tough, topaz can break into two with just a one blow same as that of diamond. In such a situation, the perfect basal cleavage of topaz also does not help much. Thus, always protect topaz from direct/hard knocks. Cleaning the stone in home ultrasonic cleaner or steamer is not at all safe. The best way to clean topaz is warm soapy water. Today astrologers suggest people to wear topaz with the purpose to bring growth and prosperity. And also to cure few problems related to body and mind. This is not new.

Infact, it has been practiced and followed for years together in almost all the countries under different names and systems. There are many beliefs associated with topaz around the world. Romans used to connect topaz with the God of sun known as Jupiter. It was believed that this gemstone has the blush of a peach or the amber gold of fine cognac while all the crystal clear browns and oranges among it. Thus, Romans used to wear topaz to enhance and improve the eyesight. According to Greeks, people wearing topaz attains the strength and power to fight against all the odds and also they can become invisible at times when it was needed.

Topaz was considered to possess a unique quality unlike any other gemstone – it was believed that in the presence of poisoned food or drink the colour of topaz would change to some other colour automatically. It’s was worn by many to cure the fatal diseases like asthma and hemorrhages. Europeans believed topaz has magical powers that brings good luck. It gifts it’s master with faithfulness, protects from bad dreams, calmed passions and acts as medicine to cure asthma and insomnia. On the other hand, the Egyptians linked the golden glow of topaz with strong and powerful Sun- the God. All these associations in one form or the other made topaz very precious & valuable stone. Soon topaz became the part of the jewelry worn to protect against all the evils.

Properties of Topaz

CompositionTopaz is nesosilicate having the composition as Al2[(F,OH)2/SiO4.
Hardness8 ( Mohs) . It is considered quite tough.
CleavagePerfect basal cleavage ( sometimes has conchoidal and uneven fracture).
Refractive Index1.609-1.643.
Specific Gravity3.53  Â± 0.04.
ColoursColourless, blue, orange, pink, purple, brown, yellow, red, violet and light green.
Crystal SystemOrthorhombic crystal system.
PleochroismStrong to definite.
PrecautionsProtect from direct knocks, scratches and sharp blows. Avoid large temperature changes. Cleaning in home ultrasonic cleaner & steamer is not safe. Best way to clean topaz is wash with warm soapy water.
SourceFound in Africa, Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia, and USA (Colorado, Maine, Texas and Utah).