If you're on the hunt for an elegant and unique piece of jewelry, look no further than the gemstone topaz. With its varying colors and ability to reflect light and brilliance, it is a much sought after stone and utilized in a variety of different settings. When looking to purchase topaz jewelry be sure to do your research so you know your way around any pitfalls. This shopping guide will help you begin the process.
Topaz, which is derived from the Sanskrit name meaning fire, is a hard, semi-precious gemstone. Though the colors of topaz can vary greatly, it is most commonly found colorless or in a milky clear state. It is also often found in yellow or gold hues. For centuries topaz has been viewed as a precious and valuable stone. Many ancient civilizations believed that topaz had been touched by the sun which gave it the yellow color. It is also mentioned several times in the bible when describing the Garden of Eden. Long ago people referred to any yellow gemstone as topaz, but since modern gemologists began to study topaz more specifically they realized that it could not only be found in yellow, but in red, blue and even multi colored like the mystic topaz.
Where is topaz found?
Topaz is formed in mountain ranges as the magma that flows through their depths cools down. It is formed in the cracks and crevices of ingenious rocks such as pegmatite, rhyolite, and granite. Though Brazil has been named the primary source for topaz, it is also possible to find it in Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Texas, and other various places worldwide. It was recently named the state gemstone of Utah due to its prevalence in the mountain ranges in that region.
When shopping for topaz there are several things to be aware of. Considering the color, cut, clarity and carat of a piece of topaz jewelry will help to ensure that you will get the best piece for your needs. Also educating yourself on how to spot an imitation will save you time and money when considering a topaz purchase. This Topaz Shopping Guide will give you six top tips for purchasing topaz.
Choose your color
Something to keep in mind when deciding on a color for your topaz is the GIA color grading system. Colors consist of three main qualities. The first is hue. The basic hues of topaz are red, orange, yellow, blue, violet, green, and purple. Next is tone. Tone refers to a color’s lightness.
This can be colorless (0) all the way to black (10). The third is saturation. This refers to a colors intensity. From a dull gray or brown (1) to a vivid color (6). When describing a stone the dominant color will always be capitalized while the lesser or secondary colors will be described as ‘sl’ for slight and ‘st’ for strong. An example of the GIA scale can be seen when describing a common red topaz. This would be described as R for hue (because the stone is red), 5 for tone (because it is in between clear and black) and 5 for saturation (because the color is vivid). This would be written as R 5/5.
Topaz comes in many colors. Some of these colors occur naturally in topaz and some are colors that are enhanced chemically. Below is a list of some of the varying colors of topaz to help you decide which color is best for you.
Colorless (white) topaz
Pure topaz will always be colorless. Finding a piece of topaz that is clear with no visible inclusions or impurities will often resemble a diamond. Though finding a piece without these common inclusions is very rare. To find out more about the differences between these two stones read or article white topaz (colorless) vs diamond
This is the most common color of topaz. Yellow topaz encompasses various hues of yellows and oranges. This color topaz is fairly easy to find and is relatively inexpensive.
The vibrant blue topaz that you often see is jewelry is not how topaz naturally forms. Blue topaz is often chemically treated to achieve its bright color. Naturally occurring blue topaz is often a grey or foggy blue color.
Pink topaz is a very rare color to find. Many of the bright pink topaz shoppers will see on the market today are actually chemically enhanced yellow topaz. Naturally occurring pink topaz will have a duller pink color but will be exponentially more in price than a chemically treated pink topaz.
Champagne topaz comes in varying shades of brown and is never chemically treated to achieve its ideal color. This is a naturally occurring shade of topaz.
This color of topaz ranges from light peach to shades of orange. Like champagne topaz, it is also naturally occurring and can be quite pricey.
Mystic topaz is topaz that has been chemically treated to achieve a rainbow of colors. It is called mystic topaz because it will often times contain 3 or more colors in its surface giving it a magical, color changing quality. This type of topaz ranges in price, but can often be quite expensive.
Choose your Cut and Carat
Common cuts for a topaz are emerald, pear, and oval. These cuts work well with the way topaz naturally splits and easily display the natural beauty of topaz. A well cut topaz will sparkle and shine, reflecting light. While the emerald, pear, and oval cuts are common, it is easy to find topaz cut in many other shapes such as heart cuts, tear drops, and even raw with an image carved into the surface.
While buying a 10 carat diamond can break the bank, finding a topaz of an equal carat will not be quite as expensive. It is not incredibly difficult to find topaz in a larger carat. The carat alone does not determine the value of the stone however, which is why it is important to understand the cut, color and clarity of the stone as well. Small topaz, under a few carats will have little value and can be found online for very a very low cost.
What piece is for you?
Topaz can be found in many different styles and settings. It is important to shop around to find exactly what you are looking for as topaz comes in so many colors and cuts. To ensure you will get the most use out of your piece do your research to determine the right piece to fit your lifestyle. Some of the most common topaz jewelry contains blue topaz. It can often be found paired with sterling silver in a ring or commonly in earrings. If you are more drawn to yellow or orange topaz, finding the right setting can be very important. Gold settings are often times paired with these yellow or golden hued stones. It is important to think about the needs of the person wearing the topaz when choosing the right piece. Due to the hard nature of this stone, topaz can be worn without fear of serious damage to the stone when worn in a well-used place such as a bracelet or ring. Earrings have risen in popularity and can be a great way to incorporate topaz into your jewelry collection.
Be aware of imitations
When shopping for topaz always beware of imitations. Citrine is another gemstone with lesser value which can often be mistaken for topaz. Doing your research before beginning your search will lessen your chances of being fooled by an imitation topaz. Some good things to remember are the hard nature of topaz. If your stone has scratches on the surface, you can be fairly certain that stone is not a topaz as topaz is not easily scratched. Topaz is also one of the few gemstones than can display several colors in one stone depending on the angle in which it is viewed. If you find this quality in your topaz, you can be sure it is authentic.
Know what your topaz gemstone means
Topaz has long been a symbol of love and affection. Many civilizations pair topaz with desire and passion perhaps due to its orange fiery color. It is often believed that wearing topaz can increase your overall cheerfulness and sweetness. Though the exact symbolism of topaz changes with the primary colors, its symbol of love and passion always remains.
Know how to care for your topaz stone
Caring for your topaz is a simple as warm soapy water and a clean dry cloth. Due to the hardness of topaz it is important to store it separately or inside a soft cloth. This will protect your other stone from being scratched by topaz’s hard surface and also protect your topaz from being scratched by harder stones such as your diamonds or sapphires. It is a good idea to remove your topaz before working out, applying makeup, or cleaning the house, as sweat, chemicals and other foreign dusts and liquids can damage the quality of your stone.
Shopping for topaz
Now that you know some of the top tips for purchasing topaz, here is some information on how and where to purchase your stone. Shopping online can be quick and efficient but there are benefits to shopping in person as well. One thing is certain, it is important to shop around before making your final decision.
Shopping for topaz can be intimidating and a little overwhelming. It is important to do a little planning before you begin shopping. Understanding which color topaz you gravitate towards and what style piece you like before embarking on your shopping adventure will help you make the search a little less challenging. Websites such as eBay, Etsy, and Overstock will have lots of various options and are fairly easy to navigate. These website enable you to search within a budget and style making the shopping process easy and not overwhelming. Searching for topaz can also be done in person. Many jewelry stores carry various topaz pieces which would enable you to try on a piece before purchasing, something that can be very helpful.
Topaz is a beautiful stone and a great addition to every collection. Whether you are looking for understated earrings or a gold set ring, topaz will prove itself as a vital member of your jewelry collection due to its brilliance and durability. If you take the time to educate yourself on topaz and caring for your stone, it will always maintain its place as an elegant and loved piece in your collection.