Topaz – The cool gemstone

Topaz is a crystal whose attributes have long been appreciated for thousands of years. The topaz has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, which exceeds that of quartz; in fact, it is the hardest of the silicate minerals, with a chemical formula of Al2SiO4(F,OH)2. When polished, the gold color of topaz is virtually indistinguishable from citrine, the golden variety of quartz. Topaz is quite fragile if dropped (cracks easily), and has a vitreous luster with a range of colors which can be altered depending on the treatment applied. It is highly amenable to color change.

Location

Topaz is mainly mined from Brazil and Siberia, which produces some of the largest specimens in the world, even up to 600 pounds a piece. The Minas Gerais mines are some of the most famous mines in the world, both for this and the large quantity of quartz crystals found there. The Alabaschka mines in Siberia on the other hand, are famous for the large specimens of “burnt” topaz. The Ural Mountains in Russia are a fine source of blue topaz too, while Sri Lanka and Myanmar produce deep golden colored topaz.

Origin and physical qualities

topaz.jpgTopaz may have acquired its name from the island of Topazios in the Red Sea, which has large amounts of the peridot (olivine) crystal that resembles topaz. Although the Bible makes mention of Topaz multiple times, it now seems that the “topaz” it mentioned is actually peridot. Topaz only gradually came into its own after the Middle Ages, when it became identified as a distinctive gemstone, but prior to that, the word “topaz” was for long taken to mean a number of yellow colored gemstones, like citrine or peridot. Till today, some unique forms of citrine are referred to as some sort of “exotic” topaz.

When heated, topaz exhibits the properties of pyroelectricity, which means it can attract or repel small and light objects, due to accumulated electrical energy caused by the heating. Because of this sensitivity, topaz is regarded as a good conductor or modulator of thought energy, and therefore, somewhat similar to quartz crystal.

Color

The most common color of topaz is light yellow, but topaz is also naturally found in shades of blue, green, sherry red and pink. But what is curious about topaz, is how easy it is to modify its color. When yellow topaz is heated at temperatures between 300 to 450 degrees Celsius, it turns pinkish-brown. If irradiated, it turns blue. Pure topaz is originally colorless.

As jewelry, topaz is one of the most beautiful gems in the world. I’ve seen cut pieces of topaz exhibiting such fire and brilliance, as to rival even the best grade diamonds and sapphires out there. And the good part is, topaz is much less rare than any of the top gemstones, hence it’s not likely for fine grade topaz to cost a whopping amount.

Metaphysical qualities

The energy of topaz is conducive to manifestation in one’s life, and it is believed to encourage or bring about, more wealth and good luck to its owner. From a metaphysical viewpoint, topaz seems good as programming crystal, since its energy is believed to exhibit more pronounced qualities of attraction and manifestation, and its shape, form, and appearance even superficially resembles that of quartz. It also helps with relieving stress and often seems to share some of the qualities of amber. In Hindu culture, topaz is regarded highly; topaz is thought to bestow longevity, intelligence, and beauty. Topaz is also regarded as a protective gemstone, protecting against both physical danger, and psychic threats.

Topaz is beneficial for the lungs and the liver. It has also been used in skin disorders and wound healing. Topaz is good for the nervous system – the “burnt” varieties seem good in relieving stress. In fact, topaz has a reputation going around as a “cooling” crystal, able to cool down both hot temperaments and physical dispositions.

As an overall health energizer, topaz works ok, but not in any particularly conspicuous or flashy manner, in my experience. All the same, the beauty and hardness of topaz ensure that it remains as one of the most constantly sought after gemstones in the world, for a long time to come.

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Categories: Topaz.