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.



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