Topaz is the birthstone of November and is a rare silicate. It is known as one of the most colorful gemstones in the world. It also has a plausible hardness as it registers an eight on the hardness scale. Natural topaz is usually colorless, with some unearthed samples yielding a brownish color.
There are native varieties that come in yellow and other colors, but these are rare. Blue topaz is highly prized because of its radiant, deep tone. However, natural blue topaz is also exceptional, so it is often in short supply, which leads manufacturers to lab-created topaz.
How Many Colors of Topaz Stone?
There are several types of topaz, and not all of them are natural (i.e. some of them are synthetically colored):
- Azotic Topaz – Azotic topaz produces a rainbow visual effect and usually has an orange-pink look to it. This is an excellent example of a synthetically coloured topaz. Laboratories use metal oxides as an alternate layer for the topaz. The metal oxide produces different kinds of visual effects depending on how the topaz is treated. Azotic topaz is named after the commercial producer, Azotic.
- Imperial Topaz – Imperial topaz is orange-yellow instead of pink-orange, and is a natural variant of topaz, meaning it looks this way when mined. It is one of the most valuable forms of this gemstone because of its beauty and rarity.
- London Blue – The London blue topaz is sky blue and presents one of the deepest shades in the topaz family.
- Mystic Topaz – Mystic Topaz is so named because of the rainbow visual effect it has. This is a synthetically-coloured topaz as well that has an alternate layer made up of metallic oxides that react with the topaz to produce the desired colouration and visual effect.
- Rutilated Topaz – This is a type of topaz that has yellow internal inclusions. The internal inclusions are needle-like in form and are comprised of the mineral limonite. The effect is also observed in gemstones like quartz that can also form similar internal inclusions that impact their physical appearance.
- Sherry Topaz – This is a natural topaz that can have a brownish tint to it. Sherry topaz can either be on the pink side or the orange side, depending on the sample that you are holding.
- Silver Topaz – This is a colourless variant of the gemstone.
- Swiss Blue – The Swiss blue topaz is the brother of the London Blue topaz and has a slightly paler or lower hue, as the London Blue presents the darkest blue in the topaz family.
- White Topaz – This is another name for colourless or silver topaz. White topaz is the most common form of the gemstone and also the cheapest due to its relative abundance compared to other variants.
Take note that some unscrupulous stores pass off various forms of citrine as topaz. Citrine resembles topaz outwardly, and some manufacturers have gone so far as to treating citrine, so it produces colours similar to the colour range of topaz.
Some of the names of false topaz (citrine) are Bahia topaz, Brazilian topaz, citrine topaz, gold topaz, Indian topaz, King topaz, Madeira topaz, oriental topaz, and more.
Also, topaz quartz is fake, as quartz is quartz, and no matter what you do to it, it will never be transformed to any other mineral or gemstone. Buyer beware when jewellery stores give fancy names to gems, as they should be referred to only by their original designations or names.
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Where Are They Found?
Topaz is one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals or gemstones in the world. It is mined in several regions across the globe, and can be found in granitic formations and hardened lava flows. Countries in Asia that are well known for their topaz productions are Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Japan and Afghanistan. Topaz can also be found in Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. In the Americas, topaz can also be found in Brazil, the United States, and Mexico.
How Much Are They Worth?
Due to the rarity of coloured topaz, the “standard” for fancy topaz is synthetically-treated blue topaz. Blue topaz can be bought for $20 to $40 per carat. The current abundance of lab-coloured blue topaz has resulted in a considerable drop of value for the gemstone, but that’s okay because blue topaz is a mass-market type of gems that are meant to be accessible for all. The amount of topaz is affected by different factors:
- The number one factor that determines the value or price per carat of topaz is its color. There is a strong demand for red topaz. However, red topaz comprises only one percent of the total supply of topaz globally. Some jewelry dealers state the topaz has to have a deep red color before it can be rightly called an Imperial topaz. Imperial topaz is not just dark blue topaz but also red topaz – both have to be naturally red or blue. Synoptically colored topaz has categorization.
- Fashioned topaz or high-quality topaz will not show any outward imperfections or crystalline inclusions. While crystalline inclusions are typical, the more you have of these, the lower the value of the gemstone.
- The cut of the gemstone also has an impact on the price. The more complicated and beautiful the cut, the higher the rate. Topaz can be cut in an assortment of ways, from oval topaz to cushion-type. Marquise-cut topaz is also famous. Fantasy shapes are the rage with collectors, too.
- Sometimes, variants like pink topaz command a higher price because they serve as substitutes for diamonds. Due to the clarity and the sheer number of possible cuts, a pink diamond is often chosen over diamond because it looks similar to the most expensive gemstone in the world. You can get the same look, retain the genuineness of the gem, and save money in the process.
- Mass-market topaz will always be cheaper because they are colored in laboratories. The number of cuts available for blue topaz is limited by what the manufacturers decide upon when making this type of topaz.