Etymology and History
- The name topaz is believed to be derived from the Greek word 'Τοπάζιος' or 'Τοπάζιον'.
- It is named after St. Johns Island in the Red Sea, where a yellow stone (now believed to be chrysolite) was mined in ancient times.
- The name topaz was first applied to the mineral in 1737.
- Ancient Sri Lanka exported native oriental topazes to Greece and ancient Egypt.
- The word topaz may be related to the Sanskrit word 'तपस्' meaning heat or fire.
- Nicols, the author of one of the first systematic treatises on minerals and gemstones, dedicated two chapters to topaz in 1652.
- In the Middle Ages, the name topaz was used to refer to any yellow gemstone.
- Many English translations of the Bible mention topaz, but it likely refers to chrysolite instead.
- Topaz was believed to cure lunacy and provide protection from danger while traveling by the ancient Romans.
- During the Middle Ages, topaz was believed to enhance mental powers.
- Topaz is used to make jewelry and other adornments.
- Orange topaz is the birthstone for November and the state gemstone of Utah.
- Blue topaz is the state gemstone of Texas.
- Topaz comes in a variety of colors, including colorless, golden brown, and pink.
- Imperial topaz is yellow, pink, or pink-orange.
- Topaz in its natural state is colorless, often with a greyish cast.
- It can be confused with citrine, but topaz is heavier.
- Impurities and treatments can give topaz various colors, including wine red, pale gray, and pink.
- Imperial topaz stones can fade on exposure to sunlight.
- Blue topaz is rare and is often heat treated and irradiated to achieve a darker blue color.
Localities and Occurrence
- Topaz is commonly found in silicic igneous rocks, such as granite and rhyolite.
- It crystallizes in granitic pegmatites or in vapor cavities in rhyolite lava flows.
- Topaz can be found in various countries, including Russia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and the United States.
- Brazil is one of the largest producers of topaz, with some crystals reaching boulder size.
- The largest recorded topaz, known as the American Golden Topaz, weighed 157.75 carats.
Minerals related to Topaz
Topaz Data Sources