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Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminiun and fluorine. Topaz crystallizes in the orthorhombic system, and its crystals are mostly prismatic
Topaz is an aluminum silicate that contains up to 20% fluorine or water. Its physical and optical properties vary according to the proportions of water and fluorine present. Golden brown and pink topaz contain more water and tend to form longer crystals.
Topaz is one of the hardest silicate minerals. It makes an excellent mineral specimen because of its high luster, attractive colors and well-formed crystals.
Topaz is used to promote good fortune. In fact, it has been said that dreaming of topaz may indicate that good fortune is on its way. These dreams can also suggest love affairs.
Traditions hold that topaz bestowed many benefits upon its wearer. It would dispel cowardice, calm the temper, cure madness and plague, and sharpen the wit. It was also thought to aid in sleep and eliminate nightmares, as well as cure rheumatism and soreness in the joints. The stone has also been credited with being effective against bleeding and heart disease. It has been said to instantly lose its color to indicate that poison is present, thus protecting its owner. The stone has also been thought to bring fidelity and friendship if constantly worn without being set aside. It was also believed to be an effective talisman against accident and fire, and to bring increased intuition and long life. To Christians, it has been known as a symbol of uprightness and virtue.
Topaz gets its name from the Greek word topazion, which may originate from the Sanskrit tapas, meaning, “fire.” The name might also come from the name of the Egyptian island of topazos (now St Johns island) in the Red Sea. The Latin writer Pliny the Elder used the island’s name for a yellowish green stone found there, and it soon became the name for most yellow stones. Topaz was once predominantly found there but is now also found in Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Burma, and Mexico.
The majority of topaz is colorless and is called topaz. The next most abundant color of topaz is blue and green. The most frequently seen stones in jewelry are the shades yellow or sherry brown, and pink. Clear, pink, blue and honey-yellow varieties of topaz are especially valued. The most sought after and expensive colors are called “imperial topaz.” In the past, it was thought that all yellow gems were topaz and that all topaz was yellow. We now know topaz varies in color from pale blue and colorless, to yellow, orange, brown and pink. The pink stones so popular in Victorian jewelry were produced by heat-treating golden-brown topaz from Brazil.