Topaz has been known for at least 2000 years and is one of the gemstones which is described in, ‘The Book of Revelations’, forming the foundations of the twelve gates to the Holy City of the New Jerusalem. The name Topaz was used originally, to refer to any yellow gemstone, but in modern times it denotes only the true Topaz mineral.
The word Topaz is related to the Sanskrit word “tapas” meaning “heat” or “fire”, also to the Hebrew word for “orange” (the fruit): tapooz, both of which predate the Greek word.
The most common natural color of Topaz is a colorless to slightly yellowish brown. However, the most desirable natural color, for Topaz is yellow or more famously, the rich reddish golden color of the ‘Imperial Topaz’. For this color you have to go to Brazil. Even so the Brazilian deposits are virtually exhausted. Thus fine ‘Imperial Topaz’, is indeed both rare as well as expensive.
The most commonly known color of Topaz is ‘Blue Topaz’. While blue Topaz does occur in nature, it is extremely rare and almost always very pale in color. The prevalence of Blue Topaz in jewelry, is due to the fact that colorless Topaz can be Irradiated and then heated to produce the vibrant blues we are accustomed to see in Blue Topaz jewelry. There is Sky-Blue Topaz, Swiss Blue Topaz as well as the deep greenish blues of London Blue Topaz. In addition to these colors of Topaz, there are other common treatments such as, the coating of Topaz, to create other exciting and very affordable colors. One such is a surface coating of iridescent colors on top of colorless Topaz which results in ‘Mystic Topaz’, commonly sold in fashion jewelry.
Topaz is a hard and durable stone, 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
Topaz comes from a variety of sources world wide including, Russia, Europe, Afghanistan, North America, Brazil, Sri Lanka and parts of Africa.
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