Monday, November 28, 2011

Topaz is the Gemstone of the Week

Topaz is a gem of many colors, although the name is primarily associated with the color yellow. The gold or yellow topaz is considered to be a birthstone for November and the blue variety is considered to be the birthstone for December. Pure Topaz is colorless, with the other colors being created from impurities/minerals in the stone or enhancement of some type. The variety of colors, the strength, and a relatively good supply make Topaz a very popular gemstone. The name Topaz is believed to come from the Sanskrit word "tapas" which means fire.

Topaz is often found with flourite and cassiterite in various mountain areas including the Urals, in Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Italy, Brazil, and Sweden. Some clear Topaz crystals from Brazil, which is the largest producer of Topaz, can reach boulder size and weigh hundreds of pounds. A Topaz called the American Golden Topaz weighs in at 22,892.5 carats.

Topaz is often called by many different trade names for the different color varieties. Some of those are Azotic Topaz, an orange pink stone with a rainbow color effect. It is synthetically colored by a thin film deposition of a thin metallic layer over the gemstone. It is named for the company that created this kind of finish-Azotic. London Blue Topaz is a deep sky blue color. It is darker than Swiss Blue Topaz. Mystic Topaz has a rainbow finish very similar to Azotic Topaz. Sherry Topaz has a light orange brown to brownish pink color. Silver Topaz or White Topaz are both trade names for the clear variety of Topaz.

Citrine can resemble Topaz and sadly, there are unscrupulous dealers who sell the less expensive Citrine as Topaz. Some of the names this false Topaz is sold under are Bahia Topaz, Citrine Topaz, Gold Topaz, Maderia Topaz, Spanish Topaz and Topaz Quartz. Smokey Topaz is really Smokey Quartz, and Indian Topaz, King Topaz and Oriental Topaz are really orange yellow Sapphires. As with any gemstone purchase, do your research and find a reputable dealer to buy from.

It is believed that Topaz balances emotions, calms passions and releases tensions. It is also believed to inspire leadership abilities and spiritual growth.

This is the American Golden Topaz which is on display in the Smithsonian. On the left is the Lindsay Uncut Topaz which weighs 70 pounds. On the right is the Freeman Uncut Topaz which weighs 111 pounds. They are also in the Smithsonian.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Citrine is the Gemstone of the Week

Citrine, a beautiful gemstone ranging in shade from yellow to gold to orange is one of the birthstones of November. A member of the quartz family, the name comes from the Latin word "citrina" which means lemon. The color comes from the presence of iron.

Natural Citrine, which is a pale yellow color, is not common. It is sometimes marketed as Lemon Quartz. Most of the Citrine on the market today is heat treated Amethyst or Smokey Quartz. The color can be changed by heating to a relatively low temperature-around 750 degrees Farenheit and the darker colors can be achieved by heating to around 1700 degrees Farenheit. Almost all heat treated Citrine has a reddish tint to it.

Brazil is the main source of Citrine, with other deposits being found in Argentina, Madagascar, Zaire, Namibia, Spain and Russia. On the Moh scale, it has a hardness of 7. Flawless stones of many carats are not uncommon with the gemstone.

Citrine is most often confused with orange-yellow topaz which is very similar in color. Topaz is the more valuable stone and sometimes, unscrupulous dealers will pass Citrine off as topaz. Some of the more common trade names for these gems are "Madeira Topaz", "Gold Topaz" and "Bahia Topaz".

Citrine's sunny color has given it the reputation of being a gemstone that radiates positive energy and one that dissipates negative energy. It is also known as the "success stone" because it is believed to promote success, prosperity and abundance, especially in business. It is also believed that Citrine will relieve depression, self doubt and anger and can reduce self destructive tendencies. It is also believed that Citrine can aid in sleep disturbances, digestive and thyroid problems, and strengthen the immune system. Citrine is also believed to be valuable in healing the spiritual self and to enhance the enjoyment one gets from life.
This is a picture of the largest cut Citrine in the world. It weighs in at a whopping 20,200 carats. Itis on display in Malaga, Spain in a special exhibition of rare gemstones.