Blue Topaz Gemstone Information


Topaz Gemstones

The cool blue of the sky is captured in Blue Topaz. This pastel blue gem is a designer favorite since it is affordable and available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Its bright and lively color looks right set in both yellow and white metals. You'll find that this versatile gemstone complements almost everything in your wardrobe, from browns and grays to vivid tones.

Because Blue Topaz is readily available and affordable, it can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including unusual cuts. Large dramatic gems are readily available.

The price and value of blue Topaz vary depending on the size and quality of the gemstone.  This is mainly a gem used in commercial jewelry, since large quantities of this material can be produced by irradiating common white topaz. The topaz family does include some very rare gemstones, such as Imperial Topaz.

 
Why Buy Loose Gemstones Instead of Pre-Set Jewelry?
 
There are many reasons, but basically it comes down to value and choice...

When buying your gemstone loose instead of a pre-set stone, you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money.  Loose gemstones are less expensive, a better value, and you can really see what you are paying for.  The most important part of getting the right price and finding the best value is to first see what you're getting.  A jewelry setting will hide the inclusions inside a gem, and can deepen or brighten its color.  With a loose stone you can much more easily inspect the gem and see it for what it really is.  In this way you can get a better idea of its true worth and be sure you are paying a fair price.

The second advantage of buying a loose gemstone is choice.  You are free to pick the exact color, cut, shape and variety of the stone for the setting of your dreams, be it yellow gold, white gold, platinum or silver; prong set or bezel set with diamond accents.  You can experience the joy of creating your very own, one-of-a-kind jewelry design. Choose from a variety of jewelry settings and styles to create a completely original presentation that will perfectly suit your individual gemstone and will be as unique as you are!Blue Topaz Ring 

 Attributes

Origin  Brazil, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, Nigeria, China, Australia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Scotland, Tasmania, Ireland and the U.S.
Color Colorless, blue (Sky Blue, Maxi Blue, Swiss Blue, London Blue), green, and from yellow through sherry orange to pink and red.
Refractive Index 1.610-1.630
Chemical Composition  Al2SiO4(F,OH)2
Hardness  8
Density  2.64 - 2.65
Crystal Structure Orthorhombic
Month December
Anniversary 4th

Topaz is an aluminum, hydroxyl-flourine silicate. Strong chemical bonding makes it the hardest of the silicate minerals, with a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale.  The toughness of topaz is fair, since topaz, like diamond, has perfect cleavage. Topaz has a refractive index of 1.610 to 1.630.  The refractive index (RI), measured using a refractometer, is an indication of the amount light rays are bent by a mineral.  Birefringence is the difference between the minimum and maximum RI. When birefringence is high, light rays reflect off different parts of the back of a stone causing an apparent doubling of the back facets when viewed through the front facet. 

Most gems have a crystalline structure. Crystals have planes of symmetry and are divided into seven symmetry systems. The number of axes, their length, and their angle to each other determine the system to which a crystal belongs.  Topaz crystallizes in the orthorhombic crystal system, with an "Elongate Prismatic" crystal habit. Pinacoid, multiple domes and orthorhombic pyramid faces produce complex and multifaceted terminations that are well formed. Topaz has a chain-like lattice structure of irregular octahedrons. Topaz has perfect (easy) basal cleavage in one direction (in the plane perpendicular to the c-axis), with a conchoidal fracture, therefor it is a difficult stone to set without fracturing.

 
Color

A common misconception is that all topaz is yellow. It is most commonly colorless, but colors include blue, pale green, and the spectrum of yellow through sherry orange to pink, and most unique, red.

Clear or colorless topaz is quite common and has little value. Blue topaz, which is very rare in nature, can be made by irradiating and then heating clear topaz. Natural blue topaz is very light in color and irradiation produces blue topazes of darker hues. Treated blue topaz is available from very light, to sky-blue, to almost an inky dark blue.

Topaz can be the amber gold of fine cognac or the blushing pink-orange of a peach and all the beautiful warm browns, golds, and oranges in between. Some rare and exceptional topaz is pale pink to a sherry red. All of these colors are known as precious topaz. Blue topaz, a popular affordable gem, has an enhanced color: topaz with a natural blue color is very rare.

Rare pastel pink topaz is found in Pakistan and Russia. When pink topaz was first discovered in Russia, ownership was restricted to the Czar and his family and those to who he gave it as a gift. This is why fine colored topaz is known as imperial topaz.

In Brazil, miners have long called all yellow gems topazio . True topaz is called topazio imperiale. Today, most dealers in the United States only use imperial to refer to topaz with rich reddish orange, sherry red, or vivid deep salmon pink colors. Almost all imperial topaz is mined in Brazil. Other shades, including yellow, peach, orange, and brown precious topaz are called precious topaz. Precious topaz is found in Brazil and Sri Lanka.

The pale or clear topaz that is enhanced to produce blue topaz is mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and China. Blue topaz is often confused with aquamarine.

The mines in Utah and Mexico produce the reddish-brown topaz. Though not of high value, they are still more expensive than citrine.

Another topaz that is rare is the green topaz, and is highly valued also.

While selecting topaz, it is better to examine it under the different light sources. Topaz are available in variety of colors and these colors are best examined under the proper light source. Colors like orange, pink and red are better judged under incandescent light. Whereas blue topaz gives radiant colors in daylight or fluorescent light.


Cut

Topaz has perfect basal cleavage, therefore, it is comparatively easy to cut. Often it is cut as elongated stones and gets emerald cuts, elongated ovals, cushions and pear shapes. The pear shape with overly narrow shoulders is the shape that saves the weight of the gemstone.
 

Treatments

The popular icy pastel blue color is created by exposing colorless topaz to irradiation and then heat. Lighter colors are created by electrons and the darker blue known as London blue is created by exposure to neutrons. The process can take minutes or years, as high-energy processes require that the topaz is stored before it can be released safely. The most common blue topazes produced by radiation are:

* Sky Blue Topaz - which is a moderately strong light blue topaz resulting from treating colorless topaz with gamma rays from Cobalt 60 or electrons by electron accelerators. The treatment is then followed by heat treatment.

* London Blue Topaz - this slightly grayish medium dark to dark blue topaz results from treating colorless topaz with neutrons produced in nuclear reactors. This process is also followed by heat treatment.

* Swiss Blue Topaz - is a vivid medium, to medium dark blue topaz produced by combining neutron treatment with electron treatment, followed by heat treatment.

After the electron beam treatment, the heat treatment is carried out at 200 C for many hours. This produces strong blue colors. After neutron irradiation, topaz needs a cool off time as it becomes radioactive.

The common yellow topaz, when irradiated converts to pink topaz. Typically, yellow topaz ranges from wine to straw-colored, and heat-treated yellow topaz turns reddish-pink. Heating is one of the most common treatments for topaz. The process can cause the gemstone to change completely, or either lighten or darken.  Heat-treated topazes are widely available in blues and pinks.

These Topaz treatments are safe, permanent and irreversible.

 
AJS Gems fully discloses any and all known treatments to our gemstones.
 

Sources
 
Topaz crystals occur in highly acidic igneous rocks, such as rhyolite, and in metamorphic rocks.  It is also found as a constituent of pegmatite dykes and is often a by-product of mining for other gems such as beryl or metals like tungsten, columbium or lithium.

Topaz sources are distributed around the world. It is found in the gravel deposits along with other gemstones in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Myanmar (formerly Burma), because of its hardness and specific gravity.

The most important source for topaz is the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Some topaz is also mined in the United States, in the Pala region of California, and in the Rocky Mountains.  Natural pink topaz is found in North Pakistan and Russia.

The world's entire supply of imperial topaz is mined from two mines, the Vermelhao mine and the Capao mine, at Ouro Preto in Brazil, where some experts say the deposit will be exhausted very soon.

Pale Topaz that can be enhanced to blue is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and China.  Other deposits are located in Australia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Scotland, Tasmania and Ireland.

Brazil

The state of Minas Gerais in Brazil is famous as it produces 80% of Brazil's gems and minerals. The most important of all is topaz, which is mined around Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais. Most of the precious topaz and all of the pink topaz mined in Brazil is mined from an area less than 100 square miles around Ouro Preto. The Antonio Pereira Mine is where the Imperial Topaz is mined. The Imperial Topaz is the red and pink topaz - so called because they were used in the jewelry of the 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarinas.

The imperial topaz mines are largely open air mines, and are said to be the last imperial topaz mines in the world, after the closure of the last Russian mines. The production of topaz at Minas Gerais is very less, but their prices have gone up tremendously since the closure of the Russian mines.

Pakistan

Pakistan is rich in a variety of minerals, and in the case of topaz, produces various colors, such as violet and pink, golden and champagne. In addition to other minerals, topaz in Pakistan is mined in the:

* Gilgit district - Gilgi , Hunza, and Shigar
* Baltistan Skardu Road, Baltistan district - Shengus, Stak Nala, and Tormiq Nala
* Shigar area near Skardu in Baltistan district - Childee, Kashmal, and Yuno
* Katlang in Mardan district, among others.

Pakistan does not produce the natural orange topaz, and the topaz coming out of the Gilgit area - which is generally golden and white - is treated to impart this color. The well-formed spectacular peachy pink and white topaz crystals are glassy clean.

Russia

The Ural Mountains - from Karski Sea to the Pre-Caspian steppes - stretch out for more than two thousand kilometers! Since the 5th century AD, from the times of Herodotus, the Urals have been known to be a rich source of crystals and precious stones, but it gained renown in the 17th century when many rich deposits of minerals and precious stones, including topaz, was discovered.

The Topaz found in Russia is comparatively much smaller than most of the topaz from other sources. The popularity, though, is due to its natural deep blue color.

The Blyumovskaya mine, which is also known as 50 Kop or 50 mine, is a rich source of topaz. So is the river Kamenka, located near Koshkar, a known deposit for topaz. Though not of a high quality, the Sanarka River is also a deposit for topaz.

Mexico

Mineral wealth of Mexico has played a big role in its recorded history. At one time, the most precious and expensive topaz in North America was mined from the famous topaz mine - the renowned Guererro Mine in Mexico. Small quantities of the extremely rare bright pinkish gold color topaz is known to have been mined here. This mine has been closed down for the last 50 years or so.

Topaz is also found in the state of San Luis Potosi­, in Mexico. It is found in the cavities in rhyolitic volcanic rocks. Topaz found here is very pale pink to colorless, or sherry brown. Deeply colored stones found here are known to fade in sunlight.

The Sierra Gorda hills are rich in a number of minerals, including loose topaz The mines in Queretaro are famous for the world-class opal, but topaz is also mined here.

Burma

Myanmar is well known for producing nine different kinds of gems, and topaz is one of them. Extraordinary topaz specimens are found in Pantaw, in the Mogok valley of Mandalay, in Myanmar. Mogok has been blessed with a number of minerals, especially the world famous Rubies of Myanmar - formerly known as Burma. Topaz from the mines in Mogok has excellent crystal clarity, and high class gem quality.

Fine specimens of topaz that can be cut into fine gemstones are found in the Sakangyi and Barnardmyo areas of Mogok. Large colorless topaz, natural blue, sherry, and pink specimens are mined in this region. The natural colored blue and brown topaz fade under sunlight.

USA

Thomas Range, Utah - a paradise for mineralogists - is famous for its topaz, among other minerals. The Thomas Range topaz is popular for its sherry colored crystals. Crudely shaped white topaz is mined in Amelia, Virginia; clear topaz at Devils Head and Pikes Peak, Colorado; large and deeply etched blue crystals at Topsham, Maine; small topaz crystals - in small miarolitic cavities in granite - at Baldface Mountain, New Hampshire; and pale blue topaz crystals in Mason County, Texas.

 

Mythology
 
The origin of the name "Topaz" is supposed to be the Sanskrit word for fire - tapas - possibly because of its fiery orange yellow color. According to another theory, it got it name from the Red Sea's Island of Topazos, where the Romans found a stone, which they called 'Topaz', but which later was found to be Peridot.
 
Perhaps the most famous topaz is a giant specimen set in the Portuguese Crown, the Braganza, which was first thought to be a diamond. There is also a beautiful topaz set in the Green Vault in Dresden, one of the world's important gem collections.
 
During the Middle Ages topaz was thought to strengthen the mind and prevent mental disorders as well as sudden death.

The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the mighty sun god Ra. This made topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who also is the god of the sun.
 
Topaz has also been biblically referenced as one of the gemstones used to make the 'Breastplate of Judgement' worn by Aaron.
 
It has been considered a "cooling" gem, much like ruby is considered a "hot" gem. Topaz was thought to have the ability to quickly cool boiling water and flaring tempers.

Wear topaz only if you wish to be clear-sighted: legend has it that it dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight as well.

The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency.
 
Europeans believed topaz had magical powers that brought good luck.
 
Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink.
 
Its mystical curative powers waxed and waned with the phases of the moon: it was said to cure insomnia, asthma, and hemorrhages.
 
In 1969, blue topaz was named the state gem of Texas to celebrate a small deposit of natural pale blue topaz that was found in the state.


 
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