Topaz Gemstones: Colours, History & MythsMarch 05, 2019
If your birthday is in November you know the Topaz is one of your birthstones. The Topaz is sometimes referred to as a precious stone while at other times it is said to be a fairly common, inexpensive gemstone because it comes from or is made of a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluoride, which happens to be one of the most abundant substances in the Earth’s crust, So, that abundance, rather than shortage or in short supply, explains the common aspect but where does the precious title come from?
Answer: colour and the type or variety of Topaz known as the Imperial Topaz is the only Topaz with the “Precious” designation. Its colour is golden-yellow to orange. The exact colour for the Imperial Topaz though is not well defined so there is a wide range of colours – orange to pink, or golden-orange to brown – with the golden-yellow to orange being the most valuable and sold as Imperial Topaz. In the Zodiac calendar, the Topaz is also the gemstone for Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter.
Other Colours of Topaz
Aside from the golden-yellow to orange Imperial Topaz, the colour that most often comes to mind when Topaz is mentioned is blue but blue topaz rarely occurs in nature and if/when it does it is a very pale blue meaning the Blues we see in the marketplace – London Blue, Swiss Blue, and Sky Blue – are the result of enhancement procedures or techniques such as heating or irradiation. And while Pure Topaz, like Pure Corundum, is transparent and colourless Topaz also comes in many other colours including brown, brownish-yellow, yellow, pink, gray, violet, pink, and light green. But if you ever hear of or someone tries to sell you a Smoky Topaz, beware, for there is no such colour of Topaz. Rather, it is quartz and a completely different type of gemstone. Confusion also arises when the Citrin, also one of November’s birthstones, enters the picture because its colour is similar to the yellow topaz. These two, however, are not related because the Citrine is a quartz and the Topaz, as I said above, is a mineral.
Topaz History & Myths
The Topaz, particularly the golden topaz is an ‘old’ stone whose history and lore goes all the way back to the ancient cultures of Rome, Greece, and Egypt with both the ancient Romans and the ancient Egyptians associating the stone with their respective sun gods: the mighty Sun god Ra of Egypt and the Roman god of the sun, Jupiter. They also believed that the stone’s golden colour came directly from the god and therefore it had the power to protect the faithful. The ancient Greeks also believed the stone had supernatural powers that would increase strength, both physical and intellectual, drive away sadness and, in times of emergency or need. improve digestion, relieve arthritic pain, aid weight loss, improve digestion, aid eyesight and weight loss and, when worn as an amulet set in gold, protect the wearer from dark magic and bad charms, even make him/her invisible in times of need, distress, or emergency. As well and maybe even more important, the Topaz was also believed to attract love and wealth again because of its golden colour.
Truly, even if you don’t believe any of these myths or superstitions, the Topaz, whether the common variety or the Precious designation, is a unique stone and with a hardness of 8 on the Mohs Scale and therefore suitable for every type of jewellery and, in fact, Pure Topaz is often used as a diamond substitute. If, however, you’re thinking to add a topaz to your jewellery wardrobe, even if it’s not your birthstone, best you choose a golden topaz set in gold because its believed mystical ability is said to attract gold. And you wouldn’t dispute that, would you, and ruin your chances of attracting gold (or maybe winning a lottery)?
To see any of these beautiful Topaz stones of any or all colours and for further information. please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6364.