Topaz Gemstone Jewelry
Topaz is one of the most versatile gemstones in the making of jewelry and can be used as both the central stone or as an accent to another primary gemstone. We present to you a complete overview of the gem and how it is a must-have for those special occasion gifts or to cherish in your own collection.
What Is Topaz?
When the earth combines silicate aluminum and fluorine to produce beautiful crystals in various colors, it makes topaz. Topaz is one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals at an 8 on the Mohs scale—right up there with diamonds—and found worldwide with the primary mines located in Brazil.
The true beauty of this gemstone is that once the clear molecular base is in place, inclusions of other minerals such as iron create a beautiful array of colors. Hues range from golden yellow-brown to wine red, blue, shades of orange and yellow, and even light green, pink, and purple. Sometimes a miner even uncovers a cluster of topaz where the crystals spread throughout the vein are in patches of various colors depending on the direction they grew (called pleochroic) because diverse minerals altered different sections.
Besides clarity, it is the color that determines the true value of the stone. The blues (Sky, Swiss, and London) are the most popular shades for consumers. The most easily mined is white topaz, which is the base topaz composition without other minerals and therefore colorless. These are often used in place of diamonds, or the stone can be subjected to processes that turn it into different colors to fit a design. The most valuable natural topaz is the Imperial Topaz because of its rarity and color. These include gemstones that are naturally intense reddish-orange, pink, or peachy-orange in color. The name "Imperial" comes from the concept that their beauty was coveted by the 18th- and 19th-century Czars of Russia.
Because of the variety of coloration, past gemologists and jewelers, when using outdated testing methods, mistook a topaz for another gemstone. Yellow topaz sometimes was classified as a citrine, which has a quartz base. The Sky and Swiss shades of blue topaz look like aquamarine. White topaz has been misread to be a diamond. In fact, the most famous misnomer is the "Braganza Diamond," which craftsmen set in the Portuguese Crown Jewels. When gemologists tested its 1680 carats for mineral composition, they found it to be a white topaz.
Meaning of Topaz
The name topaz is said to come from either "topas," which is Sanskrit for fire, or the Greek word "topazios" which is the ancient name for St. John's Island in the Red Sea. While the Greeks thought it was first found there, no credible evidence shows a topaz mine ever existed on the island.
Topaz has long been presented as a symbol of opulence, luxury, influence, and generosity. People gave them as gifts to bring the receiver bravery, wisdom, and success in future endeavors. In a marriage setting, it was a symbol of true love and fidelity. Those who wore topaz were also said to be gentle in nature—it is held the stone has a calming effect on the mind and body.
In some cultures, the reds, oranges, and yellows of topaz were believed to be the captured energy of the sun bringing lasting perseverance, joy, and generosity. When set in gold, topaz brought opulence to its owner. They were used when a substantial collective goal needed to be completed or physical activity called for endurance. The blue stones added the concept of the overall sky to the sun motif representing the inspiration and momentum needed to get started on an important task. It promoted honesty, forgiveness, and confidence in fulfilling the "task at hand."
In other cultures, it was deemed to restore health. Warmer colors promoted tissue regeneration while the blues cured head issues such as nervous exhaustion and headaches. Ancient Greeks imagined it gave them strength. During the Renaissance, topaz was said to protect the wearer from accidents and nightmares and could even break the spells of dark magic.
The Imperial Topaz gemstones have long been a symbol of friendship, making them an excellent choice when thinking of a gift for a long-time companion you hold dear.
Size and Durability of Topaz Gemstones
When topaz is formed naturally, heat and pressure take silicate aluminum and fluorine and mold it into a cluster of crystals. The molecules bond together in a lateral strength (in layers) and with a Mohs scale hardness of 8, almost as tough as a diamond.
The crystals themselves may grow up to hundreds of pounds and are still at cut-gem quality at this size. Gems up to 20,000 carats have been shaped for unique commemorative pieces, and museums around the globe love to obtain large crystals for a breathtaking display.
The strength and size of topaz mean it can be cut and shaped into all kinds of imaginative ways to produce gemstones in various carat weights, from the tiniest accents to large, brilliant centerpiece stones. Stories and creations from around the world display topaz in priceless crowns, jewelry, and symbols of power, yet their abundance today allows them to be set in desirable, affordable pieces for those with refined taste on a budget.
The main issue for the gemstone is that topaz, while reaching almost diamond status on the hardness scale, is formed with the molecules fastened together in lines rather than connected in a spoke pattern in multiple directions. This creates planes in the stone called cleavage, which can cause the stone to break if it is struck by a hard blow. For this reason, when purchasing a topaz ring, especially one with a large rock, it is best to size it to the less dominant hand. This lessens the possibility of the topaz cracking under an accidental sharp blow.
Topaz Birthstones and Anniversaries
Birthdays and anniversaries are excellent reasons to purchase quality jewelry that will be treasured and passed down for generations. Topaz has the honor of representing two months in the collection of birthstones.
For those born in November, Imperial (also known as Precious) Topaz is the stone of choice. This coloration of topaz ranges from a rich yellow to a medium peachy-orange, which attracts the fiery, noble people who usually hail from this month. Blue topaz, the most popular gemstone, represents those born in December. This is fitting because of the fact above that they are said to promote truth, forgiveness, and confidence in fulfilling goals—all excellent qualities as we celebrate those born in the month that closes out one year and brings excitement for the next to come.
Blue Topaz also commemorates the fourth wedding anniversary, while Imperial Topaz is traditionally gifted on the twenty-third.
Why Topaz Jewelry
Because of its rainbow of colors and hardness in composition, topaz crystals make great gemstones for all types of jewelry. They can be placed in a variety of materials, including gold, silver, and enamel. Topaz takes well to all kinds of settings so that light can pass through at a variety of angles to create a luminous show of dazzling rays.
With the more extensive availability of topaz, it can be used in place of other, more expensive stones. A stunning blue topaz, the most popular stone to purchase, can create the same effect of class and style as its aquamarine and sapphire counterparts, complementing any ensemble. White topaz can sparkle just as brilliantly as diamonds on the wearer at a fraction of the cost. This means that those with champagne taste can enjoy a stunning piece of jewelry even if they do not have the budget for Dom Perignon.
Since topaz comes in such a variety of colors, it does well in a multi-hued jewelry setting as it does by itself. It matches well with amethyst, citrine, peridot, and other more precious stones so that an artist can create beautiful, multi-colored themes and accents to simple settings. Whole collections of jewelry featuring flowers, seascapes, and other imaginative pairings are enhanced with the tones created by the inclusion of minerals in the topaz base.
Sterling silver is an excellent choice to bring out the color of each piece of topaz in the work of jewelry. Designed with a collection of different gemstones, jewelry sparkles harmoniously in silver settings because the metal takes a backseat to the hues and allows each one to shine equally. Since topaz contains the meaning of a gentle nature, silver is the best way to emulate that meaning. Silver softly wraps itself around the stone and allows its colors to shine brightly.
The use of gold turns topaz jewelry into true works of art. The gold can be fashioned into a setting worthy of the splendid hues the selected gemstone and complementing accents hold with the ability to create stunning pieces featuring a larger stone. Important occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and moments of personal success can be well-celebrated with a topaz ring or necklace set in beautifully crafted gold.
We have a wide selection of jewelry created with topaz stones set in sterling silver and both white and yellow gold. Some pieces are part of a more comprehensive collection, so you can purchase the necklace and coordinating earrings, rings, and bracelets to match. Our artisans selected pieces that make a statement and fit the occasion desired with a fine selection for any taste or style.
How to Care For Topaz
Once you purchase that beautiful piece of topaz jewelry, there are a few things you can do to make it last for generations.
First of all, put it on after applying makeup and lotions to avoid clouding the stone's brilliance with these substances. Take the time to clean it every few months by washing it in a solution of mild detergent and warm water using a soft-bristled toothbrush to wipe away dirt and oils from all crevices and surfaces. This is especially important to do if it is a beloved ring or pendant worn regularly.
While the hardness of the stone itself is high, topaz forms in layers like wood and can crack along the minute grainlines, so it is better not to wear it during manual labor or strenuous activities. Also, do not wear it around extreme temperatures, which could fade the stone's coloring over time. As with most gemstones, sunlight can fade your stone over time, so take care to store your treasure in a beautiful jewelry storage box.