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Everything You Need to Know About Topaz

| 6 min read

Often found completely colourless, Topaz is one of the cleanest gemstones that our planet has ever produced. But, it can also be acquired in a vast number of colours - sometimes naturally, and sometimes as a result of safe and permitted treatments.

But, whether the colour of a Topaz is authentic or whether it’s been developed, each individual stone is just as beautiful as the last. Here, we look at some of the history surrounding November’s birthstone, and explore some of its fascinating features.


Topaz is a transparent to translucent stone, a member of the Topaz family and is the birthstone for November alongside Citrine. It's also the stone that’s traditionally given for the 4th and 23rd wedding anniversaries.

Topaz has a clarity that's like no other gemstone out there, and sits at 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness which makes it perfect for everyday wear.

Most often, Topaz is found colourless. However, this means that before it was officially identified as a stone in its own right, it was frequently mistaken for others. In fact, in Brazil in 1740, the ‘largest Diamond ever found’ turned out to be a 1,680ct Topaz! Its real identity was discovered later, and the Topaz still sits inside the Portuguese Crown Jewels and is known as the ‘Branzanga Diamond’.


Topaz Information

Crystal System Orthorhombic

Specific Gravity 3.5 - 3.6

Refractive Index 1.60 - 1.63

Chemical Formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2

Composition Aluminium Fluoro-Hydroxyl-Silicate


Because Topaz has been around for such a long time, nobody is really certain of how the gem earned its name. A possible origin comes from the Sanskrit word ‘tapaz’, meaning ‘fire’, which could refer to a gemstone's fire (the way white light splits inside the gem into a rainbow of colours).

Additionally, Zabargad (a small island in the Red Sea), was once named ‘Topazios’. The island was once linked to Topaz by Roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder (23 – 79 AD), who stated that the name of the island came from 'topazos', the Greek word meaning 'to seek'.


Ouro Preto, Brazil

Topaz is mined in multiple areas around the world, from Asia to South America. Brazil provides a wondrously clear Topaz variety, which offers experts the perfect opportunity to use modern colouring techniques to create a whole range of hues. Brazil also give us one of the very few varieties of Topaz that is found naturally coloured – Imperial Topaz.

Nigeria, on the other hand, offers Topaz stones that are just as clear as well as bright. Each supply of Topaz from around the world is completely unique, whether it’s from Australia, Mexico or Myanmar. Other countries where Topaz can be found include:

  • Mexico

  • Brazil

  • Nigeria

  • Zimbabwe

  • Madagascar

  • Sri Lanka

  • Pakistan

  • Myanmar

  • Australia


Imperial Topaz

Galileia Topaz

Created specifically to enchant collectors, Galileia Topaz appears in an affectionate soft pink. The colour is achieved using a specific technique that’s been developed over the years, which involves diffusing the colour through the stone to create a soft rosy glow.

This colouring process is effective, safe and perfectly acceptable within the gemstone industry. Plus, it will last a lifetime.

Imperial Topaz

Imperial Topaz is a pleochroic stone, meaning it can display different colours when exposed to light. Therefore, Imperial Topaz can appear in colours ranging from yellow to pink. However, with new and advanced technology, this variety of Topaz can also be obtained in a golden colour.

Sky Blue Topaz

Sky Blue Topaz is the lightest variety of Blue Topaz, and can often be mistaken for gemstones like Aquamarine due to its clarity and colour. It's light tone also pairs well with many other gemstones when set into jewellery.

Swiss Blue Topaz

Thought to have earned its name from the sky above the Swiss Alps, Swiss Blue Topaz is the name given to any Blue Topaz gemstone with a colour tone that sits between London Blue and Sky Blue.

The colour of Swiss Blue Topaz is truly vibrant, and has the ability to dazzle anyone who comes across it.

Cullinan Topaz


Even though we don’t know the origins of Topaz’s name, we do know that it’s been around for a very long time – over 2,500 years, in fact. Therefore, the stone has a huge amount of legend and folklore surrounding it.

Topaz is mentioned in the Bible, and is one of the 12 gemstones inside the Breastplate of Aaron. It was once thought to be able to protect a person against enemies, and was also believed to attract both love and fortune.

However, different people around the world had very differing beliefs:

  • In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that Topaz could protect them against magical spells

  • In India, Topaz has long been associated with beauty and intelligence

  • Ancient Greeks once used Topaz to supposedly relieve insomnia, as well as to give them strength

  • Ancient Egyptians believed that the Egyptian Topaz got its golden colour from the glow of the Sun God, Ra. They also believed it had the ability to make its owner invisible!

  • Ancient Romans believed that Topaz would change colour when danger was near, and had the ability to protect the owner against harmful poisons

When it comes to metaphysical properties of gemstones, we must point out that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they are authentic. However, it is an interesting concept that we believe deserves further exploration.


Mystic Toapz

Topaz sits at 8 on the Mohs scale, meaning it can be cleaned using warm soapy water. Use a soft detergent and a soft cloth to buff away any dirt that surrounds the gemstone, including those areas that are harder to reach! If you need to, a cotton wool bud can get into the nooks and crannies much more easily. Avoid ultrasonic and steam cleaning at all costs.


Topaz is durable enough for everyday wear, however this also means it can scratch all gemstones that sit below it on the Mohs scale. So, it must be stored separately where other gemstones can’t knock into it.

As with all gemstones your Topaz must be kept away from extreme temperatures, and if you’re wearing it in jewellery always remove it before cleaning or engaging in heavy work or exercise.

Topaz has been worn and adored for thousands of years, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the world’s most-loved gemstones.

Are you looking to add Topaz to your gemstone collection? You can shop it right here on Gem Collector.


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