Monday, November 2, 2009

GEMSTONE OF THE MONTH | TOPAZ


In many ways, the topaz gemstone is similar to diamonds. For one, topaz forms inside volcanic rock and its durability and hardness rivals that of diamonds. At one time clear topaz gemstones were commonly mistaken for diamonds.


The similarities, however, stop there. Unlike diamonds, topaz gems have a perfectly placed crease located at its base. When the stone is struck here, it is easily broken. For this reason, topaz gems are normally implemented in low impact jewelry items such as pendants and earrings, but not rings.

Though the majority of topaz stones used in jewelry design are a vibrant blue, this shade rarely occurs naturally. The stones' natural color is usually very pale to moderate blue, and jewelers incorporate heat and a process known as irradiation to produce a richer, uniform blue color. Though the stones do come in a variety of colors, including pink and orange-pink, the most prominent, naturally occurring hues are yellow, green, and gold.

Topaz stones are mined in Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Brazil. In ancient times, Egyptians wore it as a protective amulet while Greeks believed topaz magnified physical strength as well as granted its wearer the power of invisibility. The stone is believed to also possess energizing and healing properties that promotes creativity, optimism, and confidence.

The American Golden Topaz, found in Brazil, is one of the world's largest, faceted, yellow topaz gemstones at an astounding 22,892 carats. It is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
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Photo: Gold Topaz Crystal
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