Topaz is yet another gem that is found in a myriad of colours. It is composed of a Fluor containing Aluminum Silicate and was originally found on the island of Topazos in the Red Sea. of course, back then, anything yellow, brow, greenish, blue; it was all called Topaz. Now all of the species have been defined more tightly and it has been found around the world. Topaz is one of the rare “giant gems”. One of these monsters was a massive crystal, found in 1975, in Ukraine. It weighed in at over a hundred Kilos. In the Smithsonian there is a cut gem weighing several thousand carats on display.
One of the reasons that Topaz is so inexpensive is the fact that it is easily found and good material is plentiful. Unfortunately, all that great rough exhibits perfect cleavage. A sharp strike can easily cause a finished stone to split along the plane and possibly into halves. Cutters try to minimize this problem by cutting off-axis but that negatively affects the colour of the finished gem. It’s one or the other; fragility or appearance. So, although Topaz is a common and widely used stone, it is not really very stable. And certain varieties can fade in strong light and all of it is sensitive to acids.
The most often seen colours today are the light blue shades approximating Aquamarine and many “buy it/sell it” dealers are not even aware of the gamut of colours available. Topaz is found predominately in the pastel ranges with Pinkish Imperial Topaz drawing the highest prices. Since many Smokey Quartz and Citrine stones are mislabelled as “smoky topaz and yellow topaz”, real Topaz is often referred to as Precious Topaz. Precious topaz, in the yellowish hues is a birthstone for November.
Topaz responds well to heat treatment for the enhancement of colour. That treatment is stable and permanent and is rarely divulged because it is done to the stone at the rough stage. All traces of heating are destroyed when the gems are cut so it is virtually impossible to prove. It is a moot point anyhow, as the heating is exactly what would have happened in nature if the deposit was only a few kilometers nearer to a natural heat source, like a volcano.
Feel free to come in and view our selection of beautiful Topaz set in Sterling and Gold. As well, we have a good selection of unset stones waiting for their placement into a piece of custom jewellery made here, just for you.