Traditional – Yellow Topaz Alternate – Citrine
HISTORY OF THE TOPAZ
The name topaz derives from Topazios, the ancient Greek name for St. John’s Island in the Red Sea. Its golden color was believed by the Egyptians to be the glow cast by the sun god Ra. Yellow Topaz ranges in color from a peachy blush to a deep cognac. There are records of Topaz being used in ceremonial and royal jewelry and idolatry as far back as Exodus in the Bible. Due to its yellow color the Topaz was considered to have the power of the sun and to give its wearer boundless energy and optimism as well as physical and spiritual strength. In medieval times it was believed to quell anger and break spells. The Topaz is now considered “the stone of sun and joy” and is believed to bring emotional balance and protection from greed.
Throughout much of history all yellow gems were considered Topaz. We now know that many of these gems not Topaz but citrine, quartz, or possibly even diamond. We also know that Topaz occurs in a wide range of colors such as totally clear, champagne to chocolate brown, blue, and pink. The most rare Topaz is the prized Imperial Topaz which is pinkish orange and was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia during the 19th century. Due to its scarcity and unusual beauty only the Russian czar and other royals were allowed to own it.
Common Topaz can be found in many countries including Sri Lanka, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico and the U.S. A light blue variety was discovered in the hill country of Texas and was adopted as the official gemstone of Texas in 1969. That same year Utah also adopted Topaz as its state gemstone.
Processes were developed in the 1960s to turn common colorless topaz blue with irradiation treatment. This variety has since flooded the market, making it one of the least expensive gems available.
FAMOUS TOPAZ GEMSTONES
The “El-Dorado Topaz” is the largest faceted gemstone in the world and weighs an enormous 31,000 carats (6.2 kg). It is an emerald-cut yellow topaz gemstone that was found in Minas Gerais, Brazil and then weighed 37 kg, uncut. The American Golden Topaz, which is another enormous gem, weighs an astounding 22,892.5 carats (4.6 kg). It is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. It is one of the largest faceted gems in the world, came from Minas Gerais in Brazil and two years were taken to cut its 172 facets. There are unbelievably enormous uncut yellow topaz crystals reaching a mass of 31 kg (the Lindsay Uncut Topaz) and 50 kg (the Freeman Uncut Topaz). These uncut gems are on display as part of the Smithsonian Museum’s collection. The Chalmers Topaz is another huge cut topaz, and weighs 5,899.5 carats (1.17990 kg). It is white with a blue cast and is a brilliant-cut oval-shaped gem. It is displayed at the Field Museum of Natural History, USA. In 1964, some blocks of blue topaz, each weighing an amazing 100 kg were found in the Ukraine. Another famous topaz gemstone is the 1640 carat Braganza “Diamond”, which is part of the Portuguese Crown Jewel collection. It was originally believed to be a diamond, probably because it was found in Minas Gerais, near where diamonds had been discovered, but was later found to be a white topaz crystal.
HISTORY OF THE CITRINE
November’s second birthstone, citrine, is the variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. It takes its name from the citron fruit because of these lemon-inspired shades.The pale yellow color of citrine closely resembles topaz, which explains why November’s two birthstones have been so easily confused throughout history.
Citrine’s yellow hues are caused by traces of iron in quartz crystals. This occurs rarely in nature, so most citrine on the market is made by heat treating other varieties of quartz—usually the more common, less expensive purple amethyst and smoky quartz—to produce golden gems. Citrine is considered the stone of wealth, success, optimism, and personal power. It’s also called the “merchant’s stone” for its tendency to attract wealth and prosperity
Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison
Topaz can be made into an almost limitless variety of jewelry due to its versatility. It is ideal for wearing in topaz rings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants and can be fashioned into almost any shape. As with diamond, topaz should be protected from hard knocks by protected settings in rings for daily wear. This is because a single blow could cause fracturing due to perfect cleavage
Citrine is perfectly suitable for any type of jewelry design, including rings, pendants and earrings. It is considered hard, durable and can easily withstand the daily wear and tear of commercial mainstream jewelry. Citrine is typically worn as pendants or rings, but it can also be used for necklaces, pins and brooches. Citrine is also quite popular for use in beaded and string jewelry designs. Citrine is a favorite for many jewelers and designers owing to the wide range of shapes and cuts available. Citrine is one of the most popular golden gemstones on the market today and it is very moderately priced even in large sizes. Since citrine is one of November’s birthstones, it is highly sought-after for use in birthstone jewelry, especially birthstone rings and pendants. Citrine rings are suitable for both men and women, with darker orange stones being favored for use in gentlemen’s jewelry and lighter, brighter stones favored for use in ladies’ jewelry.
DIY or Have It Custom Made Everything you need to make your own jewelry is available online at Ny6Designs Beads and Jewelry Supply. You can also come and shop in our store located at 1023 S. Greenville Ave., Allen, TX. 75002. Phone 214-509-6700.
Don’t know how to make jewelry? No worries! Sign up to learn how in one of our jewelry design classes or ask us about our custom-made jewelry service.
Like diamond, topaz has perfect cleavage, which means that the force of a single blow could cause it to split. Therefore, protected bezel settings are recommended, rather than pronged settings, for rings that are worn daily. Topaz’s hardness (8 on the Mohs scale) makes it durable and means that it does not scratch easily. To clean your topaz, simply use soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. As with most gemstones, ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended. Always remove any jewelry or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sports. Store topaz away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box
Citrine, like all quartz, is considered to be very durable, but there are still a number of other gem types capable of scratching citrine, including topaz, spinel, sapphire and diamond. Take caution by not wearing or storing other gems near each other, especially when engaging in vigorous physical activities like sports, exercise or even household chores. Clean your citrine using a mild soap and warm water. You can wipe gemstones using a soft cloth or brush. Be sure to rinse them well to remove any soapy residue.
As with almost all colored stones, harsh chemicals are not recommended, especially bleach and acid. Ultrasonic cleaners are typically considered safe for citrine, but steamers should be avoided due to citrine’s sensitivity to heat. Avoid prolonged exposure to direct light or extreme temperature conditions. When storing citrine gemstones, wrap them in a soft cloth and place them inside a fabric-lined box