Topaz is a semi-precious stone that pleases the eye with its intensity of colour, brilliance and clarity. In ancient times, it was also known as the “topaz gemstone” because of its special characteristics. Its qualities are close to those of diamonds, which led the discoverers of a 1680 carat crystal in 1797 to believe it was a diamond, but it was in fact a natural topaz. The diamond was mounted in the crown of the royal house of Braganza in Portugal.
The name topaz is thought to come from the Greek Τοπάζιος (Τοpáziοs), the ancient name of a hard-to-reach island in the Red Sea, famous for the unique stones found there. Later, the island would come to be known as the ‘land of topaz’. “Topazos”, and today it is called Zabargad or St. John`s Island.
Another version of the etymology of the word is that it comes from Sanskrit, in which language it would translate as “fire” or “heat”. Thus, it is not by chance that this stone is assigned the masculine solar element, which underlines its energetic force.
Physical properties and where it is found
Topaz – physical properties
Type of mineral: Group IX of silicates (non-silicates)
Colour: colourless, white, light blue, yellow, yellowish brown, orange, red, grey, green, pink and reddish pink
Mohs hardness: 8
Specific gravity: 3.53 – 3.56
Crystal system: orthorhombic
Chemical formula: Al 2 (F, OH) 2 SiO 4
Optical properties: Biaxial (+)
Refractive index: 1.609 – 1.643
Dispersion: 0.014 (BG), 0.08 (CF)
Flourescence: pink: brownish | red: brownish yellow | yellow: yellowish orange
Two of the remarkable aspects of topaz are that its colour intensity can vary depending on the angle from which the stone is viewed, and that it does not dissolve in most chemical solvents, being rather prone to shattering if hit hard.
Where to find it
Topaz ores can be found, depending on colour, in several countries such as Russia, Czech Republic, Afghanistan, Norway, Pakistan, Italy, Brazil, Japan, Germany, USA.
Topaz is not easily affected by chemical agents found in cosmetics, but it can be damaged in environmental conditions, so:
- avoid wearing topaz jewellery every day, even if the stone is in a ring or pendant that you might be tempted to keep close to you at all times;
- do not expose the stone to sudden changes in temperature (from severe cold to severe heat and vice versa), as there is a risk of cracking;
- prolonged exposure to sunlight or a heat source is not beneficial to topaz either, as it can permanently change colour;
- topaz is not cleaned with steam or ultrasound. The easiest and most effective way to clean this stone is with a soap and water solution, carefully applied with a soft cotton cloth.
Metaphysical properties and benefits (by colour)
Imperial topaz or yellow topaz – held close to the heart, gives long life and stimulates intelligence. This hue, imperial topaz, gives creativity to the wearer and is useful for those suffering from depression and panic attacks as it raises the vibrational level of optimism.
Blue topaz – is frequently confused with aquamarine stone (unfortunately it is very difficult to find a natural and untreated blue topaz). Like all blue stones, blue topaz will help you balance with the universe and divinity. It is a relaxing stone that connects you with your soul and is often used in meditations.
Orange topaz – is used for awakening instinct and establishing harmony. It helps develop spontaneity as well as self-healing and has the ability to help in overcoming depression and interpersonal issues.
Pink topaz – is one of the rarest topaz colours, genuine specimens can hardly be found where the colour has not been altered. Energetically, it is the one that helps in developing faith, connection with divinity and restoring peace.
Red Topaz – is known as a stone with a powerful energy due to its solar connection and represents the sacred fire within.
Colorless topaz – like pink, it is difficult to find in nature. It aids the inner journey being perfect for meditation practices.
Green topaz – is the one that gives us the impetus to be who we are, activating the personality, symbolising balance, immortality and soul power.
Brown topaz – helps in developing the positive side of the personality.
Topaz and the Zodiac signs
Topaz is also known as the stone of those born in November – it is believed to bring special benefits to these natives, such as loyalty, friendship, trust, emotional balance.
It is highly compatible with the sign Scorpio but also suitable for Sagittarius and Libra.
In ancient times, topaz was believed to be the stone – symbol of chastity and sincerity, which was given to women who were about to marry to bless the marriage union with happiness and liveliness.
It is believed that the topaz stone worn around the neck helps to keep the inner energy movements harmonious and contributes to awareness. Topaz is the stone that guides the inner journey and helps the traveller to realise the effects of a wrong word or action. It is a gem that brings happiness and it is advisable to have it close by when going through a tense period. The topaz stone “supports” happiness and renewal both spiritually and physically.
The Egyptians used the topaz stone to protect themselves from negative energies, and it was attributed to the god Ra (the sun god). The Greeks used it for protection and physical strength.
Jewish priests used topaz as an amulet against evil, seeing it as a symbol of wisdom and courage. Thus the topaz stone was one of the 12 stones used in this amulet, representing the 12 angels protecting the Gate of Heaven.