Gemstones are fascinating. Their colors, hues and shapes are mesmerizing. A memorable jewelry piece has meaning to the owner. Gemstones allow us to create that meaning. Wearing gemstone jewelry evokes positive emotions and fill our hearts with love.
Each month of the year is dedicated to one or two gemstones. We commonly refer them as “birthstones”. It’s exciting to make gemstone jewelry that marks your or your loved ones birthday month. But when it comes to purchasing a gemstone jewelry, you start to doubt whether the gemstone is real and not synthetic. You also want to make sure your not getting ripped off on price. And lastly you want to learn how to take care of the gemstone so it does not chip or fade. That’s why we’ve put together this in-depth post for you. Each month, we cover a different gemstone, so you are covered for all twelve months. We answer all the difficult questions commonly asked by many gemstone jewelry lovers. Now let’s cover the November Birthstone – Topaz.
Meaning and Origin:
The name topaz come from the sanskrit word “Tapas” means fire. Ancient Greeks believed it gave them strength. The gemstone has also been associated with long life beauty and intelligence. The world’s finest topaz are from Brazil. Other regions that serve as a source are Pakistan, Zambia and Madagascar.
The 4C’s – Color, Clarity, Cut, Carat:
Color: Gemstones get their color either through their basic composition or because of their impurities or defects. Topaz gets it’s color because of it’s impurities or defects. When mined, commonly found topaz is colorless or white. It is then treated. Most treated topaz is blue in color. It is rare to find an untreated blue topaz. Other colors include red, pink, purple, yellow, orange, brown, and green. Red topaz, also known as “Imperial” and brownish yellow-orange topaz, also known as “Sherry” or “Precious” are fine and rare gemstones.
Clarity: Generally speaking, topaz is free of inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. Certain rare pieces may show minor inclusions but are still considered valuable.
Cut: One of the most important element in the visual appeal of any gemstone. Since topaz crystals are elongated and columnar, the gemstone generally is cut in oval and pear shapes.
Carat: Unlike diamonds and sapphires, topaz can be found in large carat sizes. The price per carat is generally $20-$40 per carat unless you opt for precious. For rare pieces can cost $800+ per carat. Prices start increasing for gemstones larger than 10mm x 8mm.
Refractive Index and cut of the stone determine (1) brilliance – light reflected from inside the gemstone, (2) luster – smoothness of the surface, light reflected from the surface of the gemstone, and (3) fire – rainbow-like flashes. A topaz with excellent cut has excellent brilliance, luster and fire. Compared to gemstone such as a diamond with a higher refractive index, topaz has lower brilliance, luster and fire. If a topaz is scratched or chipped, it will likely lose it’s sparkle and look faded or clouded.
Hardness is an indication of a gemstones resistance to scratching. Topaz has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale. In comparison, diamond hardness is a 10. Since Mohs scale is not linear, a diamond is six times harder than a topaz. It is important to note that hardness does not equal to toughness. Both diamond and topaz can be broken.
Value and Price Point:
The 4C’s determine the value of topaz. Mass-produced blue or colorless topaz is inexpensive and cost approximately $20-$40 per carat. Rarer gemstones such as “Imperial” and “Sherry” topaz cost $800+ per carat. In comparison to pink sapphire or pink diamond, pink topaz is available in larger sizes and is less expensive.
Practical Tips for Fine Jewelry:
Blue and colorless topaz are readily available and inexpensive options. You can create a beautiful topaz ring, pendant or earrings on 18 Karat white or yellow gold. Pink topaz is an excellent alternative to pink sapphire and pink diamonds. It is inexpensive and available in larges sizes. Red topaz such as “Imperial” or “Sherry” topaz are an excellent choice if you shopping for rare gemstones. If you decide to opt for rarer gemstones, go with jewelry pieces with protective mountings. Protective mountings protect the topaz from getting scratched.
Cleaning and Care:
In order to clean topaz jewelry pieces, place it in regular warm water with mild soap for approximately 20 minutes. You can choose to use a toothbrush to clean off any dirt. It is crucial to avoid steam or ultrasound as it can cause the gemstone to break. Also extended period of direct sunlight can cause the gemstone to fade or change color.
In this post, we’ve covered we’ve covered the following on topaz:
- Meaning and Origin
- The 4C’s – Color, Clarity, Cut, Carat
- Value and Price Point
- Practical Tips for Fine Jewelry
- Cleaning and Care
To conclude, topaz is a fabulous gemstone both in terms of beauty and value. It will not disappoint you. It’s a symbol of strength and prosperity. You have a heartfelt array of colors to choose from. If you are looking to get a custom jewelry piece designed for you, contact us here. Did you like this post or have questions? If so, leave them in the comments section below.