Natural Imperial Topaz from Brazil

Imperial Topaz Pendant in 18k White Gold
 Imperial Topaz Pendant


The state of Minas Gerais in Brazil has been famous for fine colored gemstones for nearly 300 years. The state boasts significant deposits of topaz, aquamarine, chrysoberyl, emerald, tourmaline, kunzite and morganite. Mining began in the region in 1719 with a gold rush, and continued with the discovery of rich topaz desposits in the mid-1700's.

Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
 Ouro Prêto , Minas Gerais, BRAZIL

The Ouro Prêto area in Minas Gerais is the source of the rarest topaz known as imperial topaz. This topaz is golden-orange to orange to pink, pinkish-red or violet in color, and can sometimes be confused with the more prosaic citrine quartz found elsewhere in Brazil. But gemologists can easily identify imperial topaz by its superior hardness, brilliance and density. Indeed the names imperial topaz and precious topaz were introduced to emphasize the rarity and uniqueness of this special topaz.

Common yellow topaz is colored by so-called color centers, small imperfections in the crystal structure which which change the way the crystal absorbs light. The very rare pink or red colors are caused by impurities of chromium. When both conditions are present -- color centers and chromium -- an orange color is the result.

The color of true imperial topaz is always natural. Treated gems are not regarded as genuine imperial topaz in the gem trade. Orange-colored topaz is sometimes produced by irradiation of pale brown topaz, for example, but the color is not stable and these poor imitations are often sold in large sizes at low prices. Gem collectors search out only the natural untreated imperial topaz.

Imperial Topaz, Brazil Imperial Topaz Cushion Imperial Topaz Octagon
 Imperial Topaz  Oval
 Imperial Topaz Cushion
Imperial Topaz Octagon

The rarity of imperial topaz results in a significant price difference compared to common blue, white or yellow topaz. Where the blue topaz produced by radiation and heat treatment sells for a modest $10/ct, imperial topaz can easily reach prices of $1,000/ct for fine stones over 5 carats. Prices for specimens with a pinkish hue tend to be higher, and rare bi-color stones (pink and golden) also carry a premium. A truly red untreated topaz would count as exceptionally rare.

Very Rare Red Imperial Topaz

See our collection of Fine Imperial Topaz