Topaz is an aluminium silicate that contains fluorine and hydroxyl. In its pure form it is colourless (white). Impurities are what cause variations in colour. The name topaz is believed to come from either the Greek word "Topazios" or "Topazion"; the ancient name of an island in the Red Sea where the ancient Greeks mined a yellow gem that they believed to be topaz, or from the Sanskrit word "tapas", which means "fire".
Topaz ranges from colourless (white) to yellow, orange, red-brown, light to dark-blue, pink to red, violet and light-green. Most unadulterated topaz is colourless or pale blue. The most rare and valuable topaz is yellow, or pink to reddish-orange. Red and violet topaz is incredibly rare.
Topaz is often enhanced to produce the most desirable colours. The most popular colour for topaz is blue, but in nature, blue topaz is usually pale blue rather than bright or deep blue. The brilliant blue shades of topaz are usually achieved by artificial means. Topaz is exposed to radiation and then usually heated, to produce striking blue colours. A deep blue enhanced topaz is known as "London blue"; medium blue is called "Swiss blue" and light-blue is termed "sky blue". Mystic topaz is colorless topaz which has been artificially coated giving it the desired rainbow effect.
Deposits of topaz have been found in Brazil, Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, Germany, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the USA.
Topaz has a history that goes back at least two thousand years. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz was a powerful stone that could increase the strength of the wearer and even provide invisibility in desperate times. Both the ancient Egyptians and the Romans associated topaz with the Sun God.
Pictured above is my newly listed Swiss Blue Topaz and Crystal Gold Necklace. Below are some more examples of Topaz jewellery from some members of the Jewelry on Etsy team.