Topaz, a type of silicate mineral, generally forms in igneous rocks. The chemical composition of topaz is Al2SiO4(F,OH)2 . Topaz can be found in a variety of different colors and even colorless. Topaz is commonly a golden brown to yellow hue. Different chemical impurities can change the color of the mineral. This mineral can be found in many places including the United States, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Russia and Germany. One of the largest producers of fine topaz is Brazil. In the United States, colorless to light blue topaz can be found in regions of Texas. There are no large mines in this area so these specimens are often found by individuals.
The hardness of this material makes it great for use in jewelry. Topaz is one of the hardest silicate minerals. The hardness of this mineral, combined with the unique clarity, offer an extraordinary choice for use in jewelry. Exceptional gem quality material, in different colors, are sought by gemstone connoisseurs.
Lets explore the wonderful world of topaz and see what makes this colorful gem shine!
Topaz has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. The Mohs scale was named after Friedrich Mohs. Friedrich came up with a way to measure the hardness of different materials based on their ability to scratch one another. This scale ranges from 1 (Talc) to 10 (Diamond). This scale is for natural minerals. The hardness rating of 8 makes topaz a nice selection for use in jewelry. However, with everyday wear, this material can become scratched and damaged. It is always best to remember that it is still fragile.
Topaz comes in a variety of different hues. A mixture of different impurities provides an exceptional natural color range for this material. Topaz is also often treated in a laboratory to provide a range of unique and pleasing colors. The range of colors can be colorless (with no trace impurities), blue, brown, green, yellow, gray, orange, reddish pink or pink. Imperial Topaz, yellow to pink or pink orange, is a highly sought after color. If completely natural, this color is prized because of its beauty and rarity.
Blue topaz can go by many different names depending on the shade. Swiss blue and London blue are two varieties that can be found for use in jewelry. These colors are often achieved by a treatment (irradiation) process to keep the color range consistent. A natural blue, given its extreme rarity, are very hard to find. The color range for a natural blue topaz is usually a lighter shade of blue. Natural radiation from the earth can cause a normally colorless material to have a nice shade of blue.
Pink topaz features chromium in the crystalline structure of the mineral. This impurity replaces the aluminum and causes the pinkish hue. A natural pink stone can also be extremely rare. Most of the pink material is treated to achieve this soft hue. The treatment process involves a coating process that can wear over time. This makes fine, natural pink topaz very coveted.
Golden Yellow to Brown
A common color of topaz. This color is commonly referred to as precious topaz. This variety is traditionally the birthstone of the month of November. It is also the state gemstone of Utah.
In the jewelry trade, topaz goes by many different names. These names are often associated with a particular color of Topaz. We have listed some of these names below:
Precious topaz generally refers to the orange to golden yellow hues of this gemstone. This is the most commonly known type of topaz and is most known as the birthstone of November.
Imperial topaz can be yellow, pink or pinkish orange in color. A natural imperial topaz is very rare and often sought by gemstone aficionados. There are a strict range of hues that are considered to be imperial topaz.
Normally achieved through an irradiation process, swiss blue topaz is a lighter sky-blue hue. A naturally occuring stone with this color can be irradiated by the earth. Colorless to light blue topaz have been found in regions of Texas.
This blue color of topaz is often achieved through irradiation as well. It features a darker sky-blue hue. Natural blue material that is found usually has a lighter, blue hue complimentary to swiss blue topaz.
The colorless form of this mineral features no trace impurities to affect the color. Once used as a diamond alternative, this colorless mineral offers a durable and cheap alternative to diamond. However, the fire and brilliance does not match diamond and why it is not easily mistaken for a diamond.
A vapor process added to this material can achieve a brilliant color change affect to the viewer. This film deposition process is only on the surface of the material and it can be worn off with daily wear. The color change can create a rainbow type affect.