Topaz

Blue Topaz is the modern birthstone for December along with Turquoise,  but topaz is also associated with November birthdays and comes in various different colors. December babies can also choose onyx, or the once traditional stone of ruby. webassets/bluetopaz.jpg

The ancient Greeks thought topaz gave them strength, while in Europe during the Renaissance period (1300 to 1600’s) it was thought that topaz would break magic spells and help to calm anger.  In India when topaz was worn above the heart, it was thought to bring long life, intelligence and beauty.
Crystal Structure

Orthorhombic

Composition

Aluminium fluorohdroxysilicate

Hardness

8

Topaz comes in a variety of different colors from brown, yellow, orange, pink, red, blue and green.  One of the most expensive is a medium reddish orange referred to as Imperial Topaz.  There is also Sherry Topaz which is yellowish brown to orange (the name comes from the drink Sherry).  Stones in this color range are often referred to as precious topaz in order to help distinguish them from citrine and smokey quartz both of which are less expensive stones.

Generally speaking red is the most valuable topaz color, but preferences vary around the world, for example Germany and Japan have the highest price for Imperial Topaz, the Japanese also favor pink topaz, whilst the US is the largest market for blue topaz whre it can provide a good alternative to aquamarine, in that the color is more intense and the cost of the gem lower.

Durability and Care

 Whilst topaz is a fairly hard stone at 8 on the Mohs Scale, it can be prone to cleavage (breaking of stone along line of weakness).  So you should be more careful when wearing a ring or bracelet with these stones than you would say a diamond or sapphire.
It is common for topaz stones to be heat treated or irradiated to intensify the color so when cleaning it is advisable to never use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner, just use warm soapy water, rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.

Birthstone History and Lore

The modern birthstone for December, also associated with the Star Sign Saggitarius (Nov 23 – Dec 22). Topaz is a protective stone associated with Love, Healing, Money and Wealth. Wear a topaz to draw love. Topaz in the home is thought to help protect against fire and other accidents. At one time the topaz was used in magic and rituals to cause its wearer to become invisible. Crystal Energies: Projective.

Other modern stones associated with December are Turquoise and Tanzanite. The Ayurvedic Stone is Ruby (Ruby was the traditional stone at one time) and the Mystical stone Onyx.

Did you know…

The name ‘topaz’ is thought to have derived from the Sanskrit word tapas, meaning fire, which makes an interesting choice, as the zodiac sign for November is Scorpio which is a Water sign.

The ancient Greeks thought topaz gave them strength, while in Europe during the Renaissance period (1300 to 1600’s) it was thought that topaz would break magic spells and help to calm anger.  In India when topaz was worn above the heart, it was thought to bring long life, intelligence and beauty.

The Braganza Diamond (1,640 carats) in the portuguese crown in the 17th century was thought to have been the largest diamond found.  However it is now believed to have been colorless topaz.

 

Specific Gravity

3.54

Refractive Values

1.62 – 1.63

birefringence (doubly refractive gems only)

0.010

Lustre

Vitreous

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