Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Gemstone: Topaz

Multi Gemstone Earrings, Bracelet and Ring
The earrings feature mystic topaz

Topaz is the chameleon of gemstones.  It is naturally colorless but when iron and chromium impurities get into it, the resulting topaz come in an array of colors. These colors include yellow, orange, red-brown, light blue, pink to red, violet, and light green. This can lead to a miss identification of topaz as another gemstone.  There are characteristics of topaz that combined differentiate it from other gemstones.  For instance topaz has an orthorhombic structure which as defined by the Oxford dictionary as – “of or denoting a crystal system or three-dimensional geometric arrangement having three unequal axis at right angles.  Topaz also has a weak fluorescence and has perfect cleavage just like a diamond.  It also exhibits pleochroism (shows  several colors in a single stone) depending on the angle the gemstone gets seen from.  Lastly topaz is transparent with few inclusions giving it a brilliant appearance and a glassy luster. 

Despite topaz's ability to show many different colors it is not uncommon for this gemstone to go through enhancement to produce even bolder color.  The most popular topaz sold in the US is dark to deep blue.  In nature blue topaz is usually light blue. To create darker shades of blue, topaz goes through a radiation process called irradiation.  What happens is radiation passes through something else to reach the topaz for indirect contact with the radiation.  After that topaz gets a heat treatment to produce striking shades of blue. To produce a purple-pink topaz pieces of orange-brown topaz are heat-treated. Both types of treatments are widely accepted since they result in a permanent color change.  There is natural pink topaz in existence but it is rare, pale in color, and only found in Pakistan.

Another way topaz can have its color changed is to coat it with titanium dioxide. There are three types: Azotic topaz: formed by coating undesirable pieces of topaz to produce a rainbow of color; topaz can also be coated to appear pink; and to turn topaz, green, clear topaz goes through diffusion treatment to turn it green.  These treatments are not permanent and will fade to show the true color of the topaz piece. 

All gemstones including topaz can safely be cleaned with warn soapy water with or without using a tooth-brush.  After cleaning the gemstone wipe it with a soft cloth.  Avoid contact of any type of gemstone with household cleaning chemicals and protect them from extreme heat to prevent permanent damage to the gemstone.

Always store gemstone jewelry inside a fabric lined box or wrap it in a soft cloth then store it separately from other gemstones.

Cliptomania.com has only one pair of earrings featuring real topaz that is violet in color with 14K Gold Vermeil hammered tops paired with a rough cut ruby ring and a bracelet with rough cut ruby, citrine, and garnet gemstones.  The hints of pink in the violet mystic topaz and the pink hints in ruby go very well together even though they are different gemstones.

References: gemselect.com , minerals.net,  and gemsociety.org