Topaz

Big Photo

Imperial Topaz
Ouro Preto, Iron Quadrangle, Minas Gerais, Brazil
53.80 carats
© Palagems

Topaz is named from Greek "topazion" for a type of gemstone, probably after Sanskrit "tapas" - fire, alluding to the brilliance of gem-quality material. Topaz has been known from antiquity.

Pure topaz is colorless and transparent but is usually tinted by impurities; typical topaz is wine, yellow, pale gray, reddish-orange, or blue brown. It can also be white, pale green, blue, gold, pink (rare), reddish-yellow or opaque to transparent/translucent.

Topaz varies in value according to its quality; large crystals are found quite as frequently as small, consequently the value of cut stones is proportionate to their size. The faults, the presence of which reduces the value of a stone, are principally impure colour, fissures in the direction of cleavage and turbidity. Cavities, either vacuous or filled with liquids of various kinds, are also frequently present.

Topaz Gemstones by Colour

This table shows the variety of hues this gemstone can be found in. Click on a photo for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Topaz Gemstones by Size

This table shows distribution of Topaz gemstone sizes that are listed on this site. This can give a good indication as to the general availability of this gemstone in different sizes.
Contributed photos
Lightest:0.43 cts
Heaviest:159.14 cts
Average:12.52 cts
Total photos:153
Do you have a larger Topaz? Why not upload a photo?
0.43ct to 16.30ct16.30ct to 32.17ct32.17ct to 48.04ct48.04ct to 63.91ct63.91ct to 79.79ct79.79ct to 95.66ct95.66ct to 111.53ct111.53ct to 127.40ct127.40ct to 143.27ct143.27ct to 159.14ct
General Information
Varieties/Types:
Imperial Topaz - Strong orange, pinkish or red topaz.
Mystic Topaz - Topaz artificially coated with titanium or another metal to give a multicoloured sheen.
Chemical Formula
Al
 
2
SiO
 
4
(OH,F)
 
2
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
More from other references
Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Topaz Treatments
Irradiation followed by heat-treatment produces most blue colors. Irradiation also produces yellow, orange, red, brownish, pinkish and greenish colors: often unstable, may fade upon direct exposure to sunlight. Coated entirely or partially: may show peeled coating at facet junctions, iridescence (reflecting light), spotty coloration. Some surface-treatments are removed only with acids (mostly green and blue) - Blue Chart Gem Identification, Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, 2010, p 5
Synthetic Topaz
Good imitations of topaz can be made by fusing strass with a certain amount of glass of antimony (antimony oxide) and with a trace of purple of Cassius (a compound containing gold) or with a little iron oxide. Purple of Cassius gives a darker, more reddish-yellow, and iron oxide a paler yellow. Such imitations may be distinguished from genuine stones by their single refraction, lower specific gravity, much lower degree of hardness, and by the entire absence of dichroism. - Precious Stones, Max Bauer, 1968, p 333
Physical Properties of Topaz
Mohs Hardness8
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Specific Gravity3.49 to 3.57
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Cleavage QualityPerfect
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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FractureConchoidal
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Optical Properties of Topaz
Refractive Index1.606 to 1.644
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Optical CharacterBiaxial/+
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Birefringence0.008 to 0.011
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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PleochroismPink topaz - distinct: colorless - pale pink - pink;
Red topaz - distinct: dark red - yellow - pinkish-red;
Orange/brown - distinct: yellow-brown - brown; Yellow topaz - weak: pale yellow - honey-yellow - yellow; Violet/purple topaz - distinct: colorless - pale pink - purple; Blue topaz - weak: colorless - (pinkish) - bluish; Green topaz - weak: colorless - light green - blue-green
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Dispersion0.014
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Colour
Colour (General)Colourless, yellow, yellow-brown, reddish-brown, blue, green, pink, red, violet
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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Causes of ColourBlue, color centers of unknown structure. Green, yellow and blue color centers. Yellow, color center of unknown nature. Orange ("imperial topaz"), yellow color center and Cr3+ in octahedral coordination. Pink, Cr3+ - in octahedral coordination. Reddish brown ("sherry topaz"), yellow and red color centers.
W. William Hanneman, Pragmatic Spectroscopy For Gemologists (2011)
TransparencyTransparent
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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LustreVitreous
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Fluorescence & other light emissions
Fluorescence (General)Pink: weak - brown; Red: weak - yellow-brown; Yellow: weak - orange-yellow
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Fluorescence (Long-Wave UV)Colorless, blue: inert to yellow-(greenish); golden, brownish, pink: often yellow-orangy
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
Crystallography of Topaz
Crystal SystemOrthorhombic
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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HabitPrisms with multi-faceted ends, often 8-sided in cross-section striations along length.
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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Geological Environment
Where found:Topaz occurs most commonly in such igneous rocks as granites, granite
pegmatites and rhyolites, occupying veins or cavities. Resulting most often from late-stage pneumatolytic action, topaz is commonly found in greisen.
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Inclusions in Topaz
Liquid inclusions, two- and three-phase inclusions, healing cracks, needle-like crystals - Gemmological Tables, Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, 2004, p 13
Further Information
Mineral information:Topaz information at mindat.org
Significant Gem Localities
Afghanistan
 
  • Badakhshan Province (Badakshan Province; Badahsan Province)
    • Jurm District
      • Koksha Valley (Kokscha Valley; Kokcha Valley)
Blauwet (2004)
  • Nangarhar Province (Ningarhar Province)
    • Surkh Rod District
Menzies (1995)
  • Nuristan Province (Nurestan Province; Nooristan Province; Nuristan)
    • Kamdesh District
D. Blauwet (2009)
Brazil
 
  • Minas Gerais
    • Caraí
Morteani et al. (2002)
    • Iron Quadrangle
Mossman (2001)
        • Antônio Pereira district
Mossman (2001)
        • Cachoeira do Campo district
Mossman (2001)
        • Main district
          • Saramenha
Menzies (1995)
        • Rodrigo Silva district
          • Boa Vista
Morteani et al. (2002)
Mossman (2001)
    • Pedra Azul pegmatite district
Mossman (2001)
    • Virgem da Lapa
Morteani et al. (2002)
  • Rondônia
    • Ariquemes
Morteani et al. (2002)
Canada
 
  • British Columbia
    • Atlin Mining Division
      • Bennett
Wilson (2007, 2010)
China
 
  • Jiangxi Province
    • Ganzhou Prefecture
      • Dayu Co.
        • Xihuashan ore field
B. Ottens (2009)
  • Xinjiang Autonomous Region
    • Yili Hasake Autonomous Prefecture (Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture)
      • Aletai Prefecture (Altay Prefecture)
        • Fuyun Co. (Koktokay Co.)
          • Koktokay pegmatite field (Keketuohai pegmatite field)
            • Altay Mine
B. Ottens (2009)
Kazakhstan
 
  • Karagandy Province (Qaragandy Oblysy; Karaganda Oblast')
    • Akchatau (Aqshatau; Akschatau; Akchataul; Akshatau)
Smith and Smith (1995)
Madagascar
E.Ya. Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 110
  • Fianarantsoa Province
    • Atsimo-Atsinanana Region
Milisenda et al. (2001)
    • Horombe Region
      • Ihosy District
        • Ilakaka Commune
Milisenda et al. (2001)
  • Mahajanga Province (Majunga)
    • Betsiboka Region
      • Tsaratanàna District
        • Andriamena Commune
Madagascar, extraLapis English No.1, 2001, p. 43
  • Toamasina Province (Tamatave)
    • Alaotra-Mangoro Region
Madagascar, extraLapis English No.1, 2001, p. 46
Mozambique
 
  • Zambezia Province
    • Alto Ligonha District
J. Marques (2009)
Myanmar
 
  • Mandalay Region (Mandalay Division)
    • Pyin-Oo-Lwin District
      • Mogok Township
        • Bernardmyo
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
        • Chaung-gyi
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
        • Kin (Guard Post)
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
        • Kyatpyin Central
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
        • Kyatpyin North
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
        • Kyauk-Pyat-That
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Hughes (1997)
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
          • Yadanar-kaday-kadar
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
        • Mogok Valley
          • Dattaw-taung (Dattaw hill)
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
        • Pein-Pyit (Painpyit; Pyan Pyit)
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
    • Yamethin District
Ted Themelis (2008) Gems & mines of Mogok
Namibia
 
  • Erongo Region
    • Karibib District
      • Spitzkopje Area
Cairncross (2005)
Pakistan
 
  • Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas)
    • Astor District (Astore District)
      • Astor valley (Astore valley)
Muhammad (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
    • Baltistan
      • Skardu District
        • Braldu Valley
Blauwet (2004)
Blauwet (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
Blauwet (2004)
Blauwet (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
Blauwet (2004)
        • Haramosh Mts.
          • Chamachhu
Muhammad (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
    • Gilgit District
Menzies (1995)
Blauwet (2004)
Muhammad (2004)
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (North-West Frontier Province)
    • Mardan District
      • Katlang
Einfalt (2002)
Russia
 
  • Eastern-Siberian Region
    • Transbaikalia (Zabaykalye)
      • Chitinskaya Oblast'
        • Krasnyi Chikoy
          • Malkhan pegmatite field (Malchan; "Malechansk")
Evseev (1994)
        • Nerchinsk (Nertschinsk)
          • Nerchinsk Gem mines
            • Adun-Cholon Range
              • Sherlova Gora (Sherlovaya Gora)
E.Ya. Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 116
E.Ya. Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 116
  • Urals Region
    • Middle Urals
      • Sverdlovskaya Oblast'
        • Sarapulka District (Murzinka)
Evseev (1994)
        • Yuzhakovo Village
P. Lyckberg (2009)
    • Southern Urals
      • Chelyabinsk Oblast'
        • Plast
          • Kochkar' District
[var: Imperial Topaz]
Sri Lanka
 
  • Central Province
    • Matale District
G. Zoysa (2009)
  • Sabaragamuwa Province
    • Ratnapura District
G. Zoysa (2009)
G. Zoysa (2009)
Econ Geol (1981) 76:733-738
Tajikistan
 
  • Viloyati Mukhtori Gorno-Badakhshan (Viloyati Badakhshoni Kuni)
    • Pamir Mts
      • Kukurt river
      • Rangkul' Highlands
Skrigitil (1996)
Ukraine
 
  • Zhytomyr Oblast' (Zhitomir Oblast')
Evseev (1994)
USA
 
  • California
    • San Diego Co.
      • Ramona District
        • Ramona
Fisher (2002, 2008)
  • Colorado
    • Park Co.
      • Tarryall Park
        • Spruce Grove campground
Fisher (2002, 2008)
  • Maine
    • Sagadahoc Co.
  • Montana
    • Lewis and Clark Co.
      • East Helena
        • Eldorado Bar
E.Ya. Kievlenko (2003) Geology of gems, p. 70
  • Utah
    • Juab Co.
      • Drum Mts
        • Detroit District (Drum District; Joy District)
U.S. Geological Survey, 2005, Mineral Resources Data System: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia.
Vietnam
 
Pham et al. (2004)
  • Thanh Hoa Province
Pham et al. (2004)
Zimbabwe
 
  • Mashonaland West
    • Karoi District (Urungwe; Hurungwe District)
      • Mwami (Miami)
L.F. Marsh and F. Mutugumbate (2009)
  • Midlands
    • Gweru District (Gwelo District)
L.F. Marsh and F. Mutugumbate (2009)
Copyright © Jolyon & Katya Ralph 1993-2017. Site Map. Locality, gem & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. For more information please contact the . Gemdat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free gemmological information to all.