Gem Profile- Topaz
by Judy Ellis
How do red, pink, yellow, and white relate to one of the hardest minerals on earth, as well as a mountain in Utah? The answer is Topaz! Topaz is considered a gemstone with a hardness of 8.
Topaz has perfect cleavage with an orthrombic crystal system and is made up of aluminum, silicon, hydrogen, oxygen, and fluorine. Pure Topaz is colorless and clear (or white or silver), while colored Topaz occurs naturally through impurities. Topaz can also be irradiated or heated to enhance or change the color of clear topaz.

The name topaz is probably derived from the Greek word topazios, the name of an island in the Red Sea know now as St John's or Zabargad. Topaz has also referred to peridot and citrine in history, and is most likely related to the Sanskrit word meaning "Heat" or "Fire." This meaning would suit topaz, because it is formed in the vapor cavities of rhyolitic lava flows, and is often associated with a glowing orange color. Topaz has also been mistaken for diamond, like the large topaz found in the Portuguese crown, the so-called "Braganza Diamond."

Imperial Topaz, found mostly in Brazil, is a rich golden color, generally not enhanced by any treatment, and is the most prized type of naturally colored topaz. Champagne Topaz, another naturally colored stone, is the name for pale tan to medium brown topaz stones. Mexican mines supply most of the champagne topaz on the market.

Cindy Massey's mother-in-law brought this topaz stone back from India! Cindy wire wrapped it in sterling silver as a gift for her sister-in-law, from Cindy's mother-in-law.
Judy Ellis's Gem Profile- Topaz - , General Education, , Topaz pendant
Pink Topaz is hardly ever found in naturally, so when the color is natural, the stone is expensive. Most of the pink topaz on the market began originally as yellow stones that turned pink with heat treatment. Azotic Topaz is another type of treated topaz: a natural topaz receives a thin titanium coating, giving the stone more color and shine.

Topaz can be found in almost every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Some of the more important finds have been in Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and the United States. Topaz can be found in astonishingly large sizes, like the 100kg blue topaz found in the Ukraine. The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. has several cut topaz stones on display, the largest of which is a yellow topaz weighing in at 22,892.50 carats - what a rock!

Azotic and pink Topaz
Judy Ellis's Gem Profile- Topaz - , General Education, , Azotic and pink Topaz
Road trip, anyone? Topaz can also be found in the desert of Utah. Topaz Mountain, part of the Thomas Range, is a great place to find topaz crystals. The crystals found here are naturally a golden amber shade, but when sunlight falls on them, they become transparent, losing all color. The crystals, usually less than an inch long, can be found in loose rock and gravel along the side of the mountain. Break open white rhyolite to find larger crystals inside!

Orange Topaz is the birthstone of November, a symbol of friendship and peace, and the state gemstone of Utah. Golden-yellow Topaz is said to enhance personal intention and desires in alignment with divine will. It will also attract people into your life that will benefit you and bring new friendships. White Topaz encourages acceptance and spiritual guidance to find purpose and mental clarity. Biblically, the breastplate of the High Priest was to have contained Topaz, and which is generally thought to be associated with love and truth.
Resources & Recommended Reading

Topaz at Topaz Mountain at
Yellow Topaz at
Topaz on Wikipedia
Topaz on Mindat


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