Naturally occurring topaz is colorless. Flaws and impurities in the mineral create a wide range of colors and hues. As a pleochroic mineral, you may see several colors when viewing topaz from different angles.
In addition to naturally-mined topaz, modern irradiation and heating processes flood the market with topaz stones in every color of the rainbow. These processes are undetectable from naturally-occurring topaz to the naked eye.
The most common topaz stone colors include:
Light yellow (champagne) to orange. Yellow topaz is the most abundantly found variety. Very pale yellow topaz is sometimes mistaken for quartz or yellow sapphire.
Pink to red. Heating yellow topaz produces gems in the pink and red family.
Blue. Most blue topaz is created (i.e., not natural). It’s made when colorless topaz undergoes a special irradiation process, which results in different shades of blue.
Types of Topaz
Because so many different topaz types exist, gemologists tried to organize the most popular by color family. So you’ll see several topaz gemstone varieties on the market, such as:
Precious Topaz, which refers to stones with yellow/peach/orange colors.
Imperial Topaz stones are deep pink, orange, and very red. This rare and prized gemstone was mined in Russia and named to honor a Russian czar.
Sherry Topaz comes in warm yellow to brown hues.
Blue Topaz ranges from paler shades to more expensive dark blues. Swiss Blue, London Blue, Super Blue, and Maxi Blue are a few examples.
Mystic Topaz has a rainbow effect due to a thin, artificial film coating added to colorless topaz.
Where Does Topaz Come From?
Mining for topaz took off during the 1800s and has continued into the modern day across countries such as:
Russia. Gem hunters found topaz in the Ural Mountains of Russia.
Brazil. Miners have been plucking large deposits of yellow, orange, red, pink, and violet topaz from Minas Gerais (a state in Brazil) and Ouro Preto (a UNESCO world heritage site) for over 200 years. Brazil is still the largest natural topaz producer.
Pakistan. A very rare and sought-after pink topaz with a hint of violet (called cyclamen pink) has been found in the small town of Katlang.
Topaz is now also mined in:
- India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar
- Nigeria, Namibia, and Madagascar
- Italy and Norway
- The United States
Is Topaz Expensive?
Topaz is one of the most common gemstones around, making it an affordable November birthstone jewelry option. And since it's colorless, natural topaz is quickly becoming a trendy, budget-friendly diamond alternative for engagement rings.
Typically, yellow, orange, and brown topaz are the most abundant and least expensive. Rare, naturally-occurring varieties of deeply-colored Imperial Topaz, on the other hand, are much higher in price.
How to Buy Topaz
Since topaz comes in such a wide array of color choices, you're sure to find November birthstone jewelry to fit anyone's style.
One of the most important factors to consider when buying topaz is color. The richer and more intense the hue, the more valuable the topaz. Just remember that most colored topaz is heat-treated or irradiated, and it's almost impossible to tell treated topaz from naturally-mined colored topaz stones.
As far as your investment goes, topaz is a durable stone (measuring an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness). So you can confidently wear your topaz jewelry every day without fearing damage from normal wear-and-tear.
Fun Facts About Topaz
Share these fun facts about topaz with your friends or social media followers:
- Topaz marks several wedding anniversary gifts: blue topaz (for the 4th anniversary), golden topaz (for the 19th), and Imperial Topaz (for the 23rd).
- It’s said that topaz may come from the Sanskrit word tapas, meaning fire.
- Many ancient Egyptian talismans and artifacts contain vibrant yellow topaz, which they believed was the embodiment of the Sun God, Ra.
- The Ancient Greeks swore topaz gave strength to the wearer.
- During the middle ages, people believed topaz could ward off evil spells.
- Hindu traditions say wearing topaz above your heart ensures long life.
- Crystal experts believe topaz can help reduce anxiety, tempers, and nightmares.
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac says giving topaz symbolizes love, affection, and devotion.
- Only royals could own Imperial Topaz in Russia.
Now let’s move on to November’s other birthstone…