The name Topaz derives from the Sanskrit word “tapas,” meaning fire. Topaz was revered by the ancients as the gemstone thought to fuel matters of the heart, inspire courage, increase intuition and sharpen wit. It was also believed to sweeten the dreams and the disposition of the wearer. Today, topaz is known as the gemstone of friendship, revealing the gracious and charismatic qualities of those who wear it.
The world’s largest producer of topaz is the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil. For almost 300 years, its Ouro Preto district has supplied the world with a wealth of yellow, orange and pink topaz. Other sources include the United States, Pakistan, Sri Lanka(Ceylon), Russia, Germany, Mexico, Australia and Myanmar (Burma).
Topaz comes in a wide variety of colors, with the most valuable being red or strong, saturated pink. Natural color stones, which generally come from Pakistan, can sell for much more than the heat treated pinks, which mostly originate as brownish yellow Brazilian topaz. When golden yellow to orange topaz is strongly saturated in color, and has red to pink overtones, it is called Imperial Topaz fetching high per carat prices. By irradiating colorless material, blue topaz emerges and can range in color from fine topaz through electric Swiss blue to a darker toned, London blue. The cheapest and most plentiful variety is colorless topaz, sometimes used to simulate diamond.
To clean topaz, use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Topaz has perfect cleavage and can break with sudden changes in temperature or impact; therefore, it is not recommended that topaz be placed in an Ultrasonic.
“Modern Jeweler’s Consumer Guide to Colored Gemstones” by David Federman, 1990, published by Vance Corporation, ISBN Number 89-22478
“Gemstone Buying Guide” by Renee Newman GG, Second Edition, 2003, International Jewelry Publications, ISBN Number 0-929975-34-0
”The Gemstone Handbook; Properties, Identification and Use” by Arthur Thomas, 2008, New Holland Publishers(UK) Ltd, ISBN Number 978-0-7607-9438-8