The name “topaz” is derived from the Greek Τοπάζιος (Τοpaziοs), which was the ancient name of St. John’s Island in the Red Sea from which a yellow stone (believed to be chrysolite: yellowish olivine) was mined in ancient times; topaz itself (rather than topazios) wasn’t known about before the classical era. In the Middle Ages the name topaz was used to refer to any yellow gemstone, but now the name is only properly applied to the silicate.
Topaz is nature’s palette of colour; it is available in a rainbow of colours: deep golden yellow topaz (sometimes called sherry topaz) and pink topaz are the most valuable. Today we also have blue topaz which sometimes is enhanced in colour through irradiation.
The crystal structure in Topaz is orthorhombic and at 8 in Moh’s scale it is a fairly hard rock. Some Topaz has tear-shaped cavities containing a gas bubble or several immiscible (non mixing) liquids Prismatic topaz crystals have a characteristic lozenge-shaped cross-section and striations parallel to their length.
This is a powerful healing stone promoting well being and soothing. It gives creativity and self-expression to life as well as attracting love. It also is believed that it cures insomnia asthma and haemorrhages.
Legend has it that Topaz dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight. The Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Its mystical, curative powers waxed and waned with the phases of the moon.
Topaz occurs in igneous rocks such as pegmatite’s, granites and volcanic lavas and localities include Brazil, the US, Australia, Tasmania, Pakistan, Mexico, and Russia (pink topaz).
The Egyptians said that Topaz was coloured with the golden glow of the mighty sun god Ra. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who also is the god of the sun. Perhaps the most famous Topaz is a giant specimen set in the Portuguese Crown, the Braganza, which was fist thought to be a diamond. There is also a beautiful Topaz set in the Green Vault in Dresden, one of the world’s important gem collections. The Smithsonian Institution also sports a Topaz in its “Hall of Giants” which exhibit some of the largest gemstones ever faceted.
Zodiac & Birthstone:
Zodiac: Sagittarius (November 23 - December 20)
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