Topaz is a very versatile gemstone for use in jewelry due to its appealing array of colors and wide range of shapes and sizes. Topaz comes in warm, cool tones, such as honey yellow, fiery orange, cyclamen pink (a light crimson color of the cyclamen flower) and icy blue. Since it is regularly cut into larger sizes, topaz provides jewelry designers the opportunity to create lovely statement pieces.
Sky blue and yellow topaz gemstones are quite common in today’s jewelry market. However, topaz gemstones can be found in an exceptionally wide range of colors including various tones and saturations of green, orange, red, pink, purple and brown, in addition to yellow and sky blue. Most of these colors do not occur naturally, they result from gemstone treatments. Topaz crystals often come out of the ground colorless or a shade of brown. Naturally occurring blue topaz is among the rarest of topaz colors. The plentiful blue topaz we see results from irradiating and heating the colorless or brownish crystals to create the lovely sky blue color. 100 East Fine Jewelry along with other reputable dealers disclose any and all gemstone treatments to customers before purchase, so they can make an informed decision.
The rarest natural topaz colors besides blue are pink, red and fine golden orange. While red is one of the most sought-after topaz colors, it represents a very small amount of facet-grade material.
Topaz gemstone varieties are normally identified simply by hue name, such as blue topaz, yellow topaz, etc. However, some in the trade assign certain topaz varieties special trade names which make them sound more exotic and valuable. Be aware, however, there is significant disagreement among members of the trade as to how trade names such as imperial topaz, precious topaz and sherry topaz are defined. We follow GIA’s advice when considering topaz varieties; focus on the stone’s color to determine value, rather than on a trade name.
From a pure hardness standpoint, topaz is one of the harder gemstones. However, like diamond, topaz is subject to cleavage, which means it might split apart when receiving a hard blow from certain directions. When used in rings and bracelets, to minimize cleavage potential, topaz should be set in protective mountings. When mounted in pins, necklaces, pendants and earrings, they are quite appropriate for everyday wear. High heat or sudden temperature changes can also cause breaks in topaz.
Topaz is one of two November birthstones. To learn more about it, visit our Education and Resources page. There you can learn about gemstones, caring for your jewelry, cleaning fine jewelry and much more.