When it comes to certain gemstones, it isn’t the size or the cut that matters, but their colour. Topaz is a fine case in point. It may not be a precious gemstone but its colours can make even the fussiest buyer fall head over heels for it. That’s probably how this semi-precious gem has rightful place among the most sought-after gemstones. When you plan to buy topaz rings or pendants or earrings, there are certain things you should know about this stone. Here is everything you should know about this alluring gemstone.
Topaz is a silicate mineral, which adds to the availability and abundance of its deposits. With a hardness factor if 8 on the Mohs scale, it is a hard gemstone (after diamonds and rubies) but a sharp blow can split the stone in two. Together with hardness and durability, the desirable colours of the stone make this stone a favorite of jewellery lovers. One of the most famous topaz stones is actually colourless and was originally considered a diamond. This stone, the Braganza Diamond, weighs 1680 carats.
History of Topaz
The story about how this stone gets its name is an interesting one. The stone is named after the Greek island, Topazios in the Red Sea. A number of gemstones were found on this island. However, topaz was not amongst them. Explorers at the time confused peridot with topaz and that’s how it got the name. This is not the only time this stone has been confused with other gemstones. Remember, the Braganza Diamond?
According to ancient Egyptians, yellow topaz was coloured with the Sun God’s rays. The Greeks believed that wearing this stone made them invincible and could even make them invisible. Do you know that the moniker ‘Imperial Topaz’ (also known as Precious Topaz) comes from Russia? In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this semiprecious stone could be owned only by the Czar and his family and hence the name.
Types of Topaz
When you speak of ‘topaz’, do you unknowingly add the adjective ‘blue’ to it? You cannot be blamed because blue topaz is the most popular variant of this gemstone. However, you can also topaz earrings, rings, nose pins, etc. in shades of yellow, orange, pink, brown, red, purple and green. It its naturally occurring state, this gemstone is often yellow to orange in colour. Topaz is a plechroic gemstone. This means that the impurities in it or a defective crystal structure are responsible for its colour.
Birthstones and Anniversary Stones
Yellow topaz is the birthstone for November and the symbol of friendship. The blue variant of this stone, however, is the birthstone for those born in December. They are also often gifted on the 4th, 19th or 23rd year of a marriage.
Real Topaz vs Fake Topaz
The brilliant colours of this semiprecious gemstone make it quite expensive. In many cases, unscrupulous jewellers may use quartz in place of topaz. Worry not! There are a few easy ways to tell a real topaz apart from quartz. The first characteristic to keep in mind is the hardness factor. An original topaz will scratch glass while quartz will not leave a mark on it. Moreover, a real topaz is also cool to touch and it gets electrified easily. Hence, if you were to rub this stone against a woollen cloth, it would begin to attract paper, hair etc.
How to Buy Topaz Jewellery?
This colourful gemstone can be used to craft earrings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, bangles etc. You can get topaz jewellery in yellow gold as well as white gold. When buying jewellery studded with this semiprecious stone, you should consider its colour, clarity, carat, and cut.
Colour: The colour of a topaz plays a large role in determining its price. Though blue is one of the most popular colours this gemstone is available in, red is the most expensive and rare variant. Some stones may also display different colours based on the angles at which they are seen. Gemstones with such a property are called pleochroic gems. Some varieties of this stone showcase two colours, which are known as bicolour topaz. Yellow topaz is less expensive as compared to other colours and brown topaz is the least expensive.
Clarity: This refers to the transparency of this gemstone and the way light passes through it. As with other gemstones, the clearer the topaz is, the more valuable it will be. Apart from fractures, look out for inclusions that could also influence the price of the gemstone.
Carat: This semiprecious gemstone is available in a wide range of sizes. Smaller gemstones are quite economical. Prices rise exponentially for a stone heavier than 5 carats and stones heavier than 10 carats.
Cut: Topaz is usually found in the form of elongated columns. Hence, it is often cut in a pear shape or a long oval. It can also be cut in an emerald, cushion or pear shape as well as standard cuts such as round and square. You can also find topaz pendants and rings where the stone is into designer shapes. When buying a piece of jewellery studded with this stone, along with the cut of the stone, you must also pay attention to the facets. These may be kite shaped or triangular.
How to Look After Your Topaz Jewellery?
As with any other gemstone jewellery, you need to clean your topaz ornaments regularly and wear them carefully. Here are a few things to consider:
- To prevent a layer of dirt and grime from building up on the stone, wear your topaz studded jewellery after you have put on your make-up, lotions, and perfumes.
- Do not use any chemicals to clean your topaz stone. This can harm the stone. Instead, soak your jewellery in a solution of gentle detergent and water and brush it clean with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- When cleaning your jewellery, do not forget to clean its underside as this is where grime and dirt can build up.
- Topaz is hard but pressure can make the stone split. Hence, do not wear it while doing heavy manual work. Also, take care not to bang it against anything. For this reason, it is advisable not to wear topaz-studded rings on your dominant hand.
- Lastly, store your topaz jewellery carefully. Ornaments featuring this stone should not be exposed to extreme temperatures as this could affect the colouring of the stone. It is a good idea to invest in a jewellery box with individual compartments for storing your jewellery. This ensures that the stones do not rub against each other and have no risk of getting damaged.
Life gives you colours in many forms, colourful gemstones like topazes being one among them. When life gives you colours, why shy away from flaunting them? The guidelines given above will help you not only to make an informed decision when you buy topaz jewellery but also to keep them looking beautiful, till eternity.