Gemstone for the month of November: The imperial topaz

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Gemstone for the month of November: The imperial topaz

The gemstone for this month is the imperial topaz with its warm colours the perfect gemstone for this time of the year.
The name topaz is derived from the old Greek name for an island in the Red Sea Topazios, it is now called Zabargad. This island was known as a source of peridot, but topaz never found on this island. In the old days of mineralogy peridot was just often confused with topaz. In Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language, the word topaz or tapaz meant fire.

The gemstone for this month is the imperial topaz with its warm colours the perfect gemstone for this time of the year.

The name topaz is derived from the old Greek name for an island in the Red Sea Topazios, it is now called Zabargad. This island was known as a source of peridot, but topaz never found on this island. In the old days of mineralogy peridot was just often confused with topaz. In Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language, the word topaz or tapaz meant fire.

The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength and during the Renaissance in Europe (1300s to the 1600s) topaz was believed to break magic spells and expel anger.

In India people have believed for centuries that when topaz is worn above the heart it assures a long life, beauty and intelligence!

Imperial topaz finds its origin in 19th century Russia, where at that period, the Ural Mountains were the leading source and the gemstone was named in honour of the Russian czar. The ownership of the imperial topaz was restricted to the royal family.

What is imperial topaz made of?
Topaz is a mineral and a silicate of aluminium and fluorine. The colours of imperial topaz are caused by the element chromium.

How is imperial topaz formed?
Topaz crystals grow from in once molten rocks called magma like granite in which the chemical ingredients for topaz slowly cools and forms beautiful crystals. Or in superheated mineral-rich pressurized hot water solutions which cools and form mineral veins in surrounding rock. 


 

Independent topaz miners searching for imperial topaz in Ouro Prêto, Minas Gerais, Brazil A beautiful topaz crystal from Ouro Prêto, Brazil

Colour 
Imperial topaz is a widely used term for gem-quality topaz of medium reddish orange to orange-red colour. The red imperial topaz is the most 
sought-after topaz colour, only 0,5 % of the topaz found has this colour and is the highest prized variety. Topaz also comes in vibrant orange and reddish brown that resembles fine cognac. Very often the yellowish to orange quartz variety citrine is mistakenly called Madeira topaz or citrine topaz.


  
Where is imperial topaz found?
Most of the fine-quality imperial topaz crystals are mined in the Ouro Prêto area of Minas Gerais in Brazil. The yield of facet-grade imperial rough is small. For example, at the Capão mine, only 1 percent to 2 percent of the rough is imperial-colour and suitable for faceted gems. The most common colours from the Capão mine are intense orange-yellow to orange, but the mine also produces brown crystals.

Care and cleaning of topaz
Exposure to high heat and sudden temperature changes cause breaks in topaz. Topaz is also affected very slightly by chemicals. Avoid steam and ultrasonic cleaning. The best way to clean your topaz is warm, soapy water.
Topaz has a hardness of 8 on the hardness scale compared to the hardness of diamond which is 10, and cleaves easily like diamond. 
 
A 97,45 ct. Imperial topaz

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