Having a fair amount of knowledge about gemstones is quite helpful. It always becomes an aid when you’re about to invest your money in a particular gemstone. Whether you’re a collector or you have your own business, making a safe choice should be your priority.
If you have decided to invest in topaz, there is a wide range of variety for this gemstone. Often individuals get confused between getting a blue topaz or a white topaz. Both are excellent choices, however, depending on your purpose of the purchase, one can have a slight edge over the other.
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Most historians agree that the word topaz comes from ancient Greece. In their Biblical text, topaz is believed to come from the old Greek name Topazios.
This was used for a small island located in the Red Sea. Today it’s called Zabargard. Ironically, no topaz was found on this island.
Instead, another gemstone by the name of peridot was found, and it was often confused with topaz. Modern mineralogy made the differences apparent between peridot and topaz.
In ancient Greece, it was also believed that those who own topaz would be given strength. When the Renaissance period occurred in Europe during the 1300s to 1600s, topaz was assigned a new meaning.
Individuals popularly began believing that topaz will help them break magic spells. It was also believed to aid in dispelling anger.
In parts of India, where topaz is produced in large quantities, many people believed differently. Healers suggested that if topaz is worn above the heart, it will bring intelligence, beauty, and long life. Additionally, ‘imperial topaz’ came from nineteenth-century Russia.
During that time, Russia’s Ural Mountains were the primary source of producing topaz. Imperial topaz, pink in color, is one of the rarest gemstones that was only owned by Russia’s royal family.
Types – Blue Topaz vs White Topaz vs Pink Topaz vs Yellow Topaz
Topaz is an ideal gemstone. With a good hardness and relative abundance as well as availability, this gemstone is very popular in the market.
If topaz has no impurities, it will appear colorless. However, you can find this stone in a wide variety of colors.
One type of topaz is imperial topaz, which is orange-yellow or pink in color. The value of imperial topaz increases as the color deepens.
Blue colored topaz stones are more commonly used in jewelry. Before, the blue topaz was not famous. But since the past century, blue topaz has spread in the gem market like wildfire.
Another popular type of topaz is mystic topaz. When the light reflects on this stone, it creates a rainbow-like appearance of the stone.
However, it is colored synthetically using an extremely thin layer of metal over the top of the surface.
Ever since jewelers have started replacing diamonds with other gemstones, topaz has become a popular choice as well. When it comes to using topaz in jewelry, many people swing between white topaz or blue topaz.
The most obvious difference between white topaz and blue topaz is the color. White topaz is a natural topaz without any impurities. You can say that it is the purest form of topaz.
On the other hand, blue topaz comes with impurities and treatments which give this stone its color. You can find blue topaz is a lighter or intense blue color.
Because of its colorless appearance, white topaz is often compared with diamonds. Jewelry shopping guides have popularized white topaz as a replacement for diamond engagement rings. The main reason behind that is the cost of diamonds. Compared to diamonds, it won’t take a buyer forever to collect the money needed to purchase white topaz.
White topaz vs. diamonds
Unlike diamonds, topaz is a semi-precious stone. However, in its purest form, topaz can be precious. This affordable stone is a marriage between aluminum and fluorine, whereas diamonds are pure carbon. Interestingly, white topaz is used to create blue topaz. Heating white topaz and irradiating it brings out the desirable blue color.
Diamonds are exceptionally durable, and they rate at 9.5 to 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Because of their chemical composition and other properties, diamonds are also scratch proof. With time, diamonds do not fade, and the sparkle stays. They also have a heightened light performance.
However, high clarity diamonds can cost you an arm and a leg easily. Diamond’s refractive index is at 2.4, which means its light return is exceptional. Diamonds have a lot of high-end qualities. But visually, it’s not easy for one to distinguish well-cut white topaz to diamonds.
White topaz is not as hard as diamonds, but it rates at 8 on the Mohs Scale. This makes topaz the fourth hardest gemstone. White topaz does require slight care since, over time, it can be prone to developing scratches. Owners may want to polish their topaz stones and get rid of its cloudy look that can develop over time.
Compared to diamonds, white topaz’s refractive index is impressive. It stands at 1.64, and that means that white topaz can be reasonably bright. However, when purchasing white topaz, if you wish to substitute it for a diamond in terms of looks, always opt for a high-quality one. A well-cut white topaz has excellent clarity and brilliance. It can easily be confused for diamonds.
White topaz is not suitable for everyday wear. It is prone to chipping, and it can be damaged if exposed to extreme heat. Still, the stone performs very well for the price that is paid for it.
If you’re not looking for a white or colorless stone for your engagement ring, blue topaz a popular alternative in the market. Since the early 2000s, blue topaz became the second most popular gemstone for its color.
Sapphires for an engagement ring can come at a very high cost. The more refined a sapphire is, the higher the price tag goes. That is why blue topaz is an economical choice now.
However, blue topaz is often compared with aquamarine. Both aquamarine and blue topaz have a similar appearance. In addition, aquamarine has become a more valuable choice in the gemstone market. Both these stones are chemically enhanced to get desirable shades of the color blue. While topaz does not occur blue naturally, aquamarine is typically blue-greenish in color.
Because white topaz is heat-treated to turn into blue topaz, the value of blue topaz is often decreased. The heat treatment can also diminish the properties of blue topaz in terms of hardness, blue topaz, and aquamarine rank at 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Nevertheless, blue topaz has a high cleavage. This means that blue topaz has a greater tendency to crack and break. If it is not worn with care, the stone can fall into pieces when struck hard with something. Due to this, even though it rates at 8, blue topaz is not very tough. That makes it more prone to damage than aquamarine.
Because white topaz is irradiated to transform its color to blue, there is a high risk involved. The treatment, if done poorly, can make blue topaz slightly radioactive. Prolonged wear of such a blue topaz stone can be harmful to buyers. The dangerous level, fortunately, decreases right after the treatment is complete.
Due to precautions taken by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the United States, irradiated blue topaz is secured until it is not radioactive at all. Only then it can be sold in the market. That is why you must purchase blue topaz from a registered seller and refrain from the black market.
Still, both these stones require maintenance and care to prolong their life. Jewelers often suggest using a protective setting to keep it safe. That is why it will be wise to choose bezel, halo, or flush settings when using blue topaz in an engagement ring.
Blue Topaz vs White Topaz: Which Metal Suits Better
Traditionally, golden-yellow topaz was preferred when choosing an engagement ring. That is because any metal was suitable for this tone. Nowadays, blue topaz and white topaz have become the center of attention.
For blue topaz, many jewelry store owners recommend using white gold. The silver color of this metal helps enhance the blue shade of topaz and makes it more elegant.
Since white gold can be expensive per carat, there are other metals you can opt for. Platinum, silver, titanium, and zirconium are also used for blue topaz engagement rings.
On the other hand, white topaz is a popular replacement for diamond rings. That is why the same metals for diamond rings can be used for white topaz rings. A popular choice for white topaz is traditional yellow gold.
However, high-purity yellow gold rings can cost you a fortune. An alternative to that is rose gold, also known as pink gold. This metal is now quite popularly used for any kind of jewelry. But, some buyers believe that white stones in rose gold rings often look dull, especially if they are not diamonds.
You might be a buyer with a limited budget. If you wish to spend more on the white topaz stone than the setting, you have choices. You can use the same metals suggested for blue topaz rings for white topaz rings.
Blue Topaz vs White Topaz: Value
In terms of value, blue topaz is generally cheaper than aquamarine. This price difference is due to the artificial treatment of blue topaz. For buyers, this makes a huge difference when they’re asked to invest in either blue topaz or aquamarine.
An aquamarine ring can easily cost double the price tag of a blue topaz ring. Even if the rings are identical in terms of cutting, metal, and setting, using aquamarine can quickly increase the cost of the ring.
When you’re making a decision, then, use a general rule of thumb. If you simply want a beautiful blue stone, you should purchase a blue topaz. It will be less expensive, and it will meet your expectations. However, if you want a high-quality blue stone ring, aquamarines usually win the race.
If you are looking for an engagement ring with white topaz, the price range of this stone If depends on its quality, an excellent quality white topaz can cost you $80 per carat and above.
On the other hand, a good quality white topaz can be found between the range of $30 to $80 per carat. But, you can purchase a mediocre quality white topaz for $10 per carat as well in case you are merely looking for a white stone.
Pink topaz is a type of mainstream pink gemstones. It comes from a sole deposit that is located in Brazil. To be more specific, most of the pink topaz in the market comes from the Brazilian town of Ouro Preto.
It is extracted from a single topaz mine located outside this town. Since the early 19th century, this Brazillian topaz mine has yielded only 12 kilograms of pink topaz per year.
Pink topaz is an ideal choice because it consists of everyday durability, beauty, and genuine rarity. These properties have made pink topaz one of the most valuable gemstones all around the world. For pink topaz, expert cutting is critically required to maintain its beauty.
Pink topaz is also strongly dichroic. If not accurately oriented, the darker dichroic hue can collect on the edges of the refined gemstone. This results in an uneven color tone. Such mishandling of the stone can quickly decrease its value in the market.
When topaz gemstone interacts with chromium, it results in pink and red topaz colors. While other types of topaz are widely available, pink topaz only comes from one place. Pink topaz is one of the world’s hardest gemstones. That makes it the perfect choice for everyday wear.
However, it is advised to store pink topaz carefully. This helps owners avoid scratches or cracks. Because of its rarity and demand, pink topaz can be very costly. The per-carat worth of this type of topaz can go up to $3,500.
Yellow topaz is semi-precious. It comes in various shades of yellow from dark to light. Because of its refractive index and hardness, yellow topaz is the perfect substitute for yellow sapphire.
Sapphire can be a highly expensive gemstone. Compared to that, individuals only have to pay about $5 to $7 per carat for yellow topaz. The price, of course, depends on the color, size, clarity, and cut of topaz.
In the jewelry market, you can locate various antique rings with a yellow topaz stone. This color of topaz also makes an excellent replacement for a yellow diamond. On average, one carat of a yellow diamond comes with a hefty price tag. The range of yellow diamond is between $6,500 to $8,000 and above.
Yellow diamonds are scarce and highly in demand because of their shine. But few people is able to invest in such a gem. That is why many jewelers use yellow topaz as a yellow diamond simulant.
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Yellow topaz is also very popular among healers. This kind of topaz is known for aiding in the manifestation of your intentions according to the ‘Divine Will’. Because of its strong metaphysical characteristics, it also helps instill faith inside the owners. Such faith brings out the good things in life.
Yellow topaz is confused with another gem called citrine belonging to the Quartz family. Both the gems might look the same, but their traits are very different. Citrines are more affordable and available in the market as compared to yellow topaz.
Topaz Chemical Component
Topaz is a rare type of silicate mineral. The chemical composition of this gemstone is Al2SiO4(F, OH)2. Usually, topaz is formed in the fractures of igneous rocks like rhyolite and pegmatite. However, geologists have also found topaz in water-worn pebbles. These are discovered in the stream sediments coming from igneous rocks.
Topaz is mainly found with cassiterite and flourite. This gemstone comes from various locations. These areas include Ilmen and Ural Mountains of Russia, Sri Lanka, Germany, Norway, Afghanistan, Italy, and Pakistan.
Topaz is a prevalent naturally occurring stone, and it is available in large quantities. This is probably the very reason that few geologists believe that developing topaz in labs is commercially necessary. Additionally, due to its complex chemical formula, it can be very costly to make synthetic topaz.
To Sum Up
Most buyers around the world decide to purchase white, blue, yellow, or pink topaz depending on their color preference.
If you are looking for a diamond simulant, white topaz is your best option after costly moissanites. But, if you are thinking of proposing with an out-of-the-box ring, you should opt for blue topaz.
Still, because of its decreased quality, blue topaz engagement rings are not as popular as aquamarine engagement rings.
Additionally, because blue topaz is treated, you should take high precautions about the source where you will make your purchase. Other than that, if you wish to purchase a yellow or pink diamond look-alike, yellow topaz and/or pink topaz are your topmost affordable picks.