The Meaning and History of Topaz
Topaz is the birthstone
for the month of December, and the stone given in celebration of the 4th and 19th anniversaries of marriage
. Topaz is a symbol of love and affection, and has been said to be an aid to ones sweetness and disposition.
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 Greeks and Romans greatly valued topaz as a gemstone. In medieval times
, small wine-yellow Saxonian topaz was mined at Schneckenstein in the Erzgebirge Mountains in Saxony Germany, and several rulers wore these specimens in jewelry. Deep mining was later used at the site from 1737 to 1800. Topaz was always a prized and rare stone from the time of the middle Ages until discoveries of large deposits in Brazil
in the mid 19th century. Nowadays it is much more popular and very affordable.
In 1740, the “Braganza” diamond
(1,640 carats) was found in Ouro Preto, Brazil
. It was set in the Portugese crown, and was thought to be the largest diamond
ever found. The fact that it was a diamond
was never confirmed, and it is now believed to have been a colorless topaz.
Topaz was one of the stones selected by Aaron for his priestly breastplate. He placed it on there as the second stone in the first row of stones. Topaz is also found as one of the stones in Revelation and is one of the stones of the apocalypse. In Egyptian practices, it is the symbol of Ra, the Sun god, who was the giver of life. In Europe, topaz became strongly linked with Apollo, who is also a solar being.
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
Topaz has become very popular over the years. Most of the topaz on the market is treated. Unfortunately there is no way yet to determine which stones have been treated and which are natural. Although topaz has not been manufactured synthetically on a commercial scale, a completely natural looking blue coloration has been produced in colorless topaz by means of irradiation with gamma rays. This practice is regarded as legitimate in the trade, and is becoming increasingly widespread. It is one of the reasons for the present abundance of topaz in the trade.
Topaz closely resembles the finest aquamarine
, and offers a very attractive and more affordable alternative to aquamarine
. Some of the finer deeper topaz stones have been found to be radioactive. In the US, all topaz must be tested for radiation levels, as according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a highly radioactive stone may be injurious to the wearer. The Gemological Institute of America now provides radiation testing to the jewelry trader. Be careful if you are buying topaz outside of the US- if you do, it may be wise to have it tested when you come home.
In Hindu mythology, the word for topaz means heat. Topaz is one of the sacred stones of the Hindu’s Kalpa tree. It is well known and very sacred to the Hindus. It is one of the 9 sacred stones upon a talisman
of nine gems. The Hindus believe that worn as a pendant, this gemstone will relieve thirst, sharpen intelligence and lengthen ones life.
In Africa, healing rituals with topaz are practiced to establish communion with the realm of the spirit. The Bushmen who bring it to their shamanic work both for journeying, working with ancestors, and for healing, treat the stone as a highly sacred one.
Topaz was once was considered one of five elemental substances that would bring protection to the deities. The figure of a falcon engraved upon a topaz would bring the wearer goodwill and kindness of the powers that be. It was also thought that this would help one attract wealthy patrons who would support artistic endeavors.
Topaz in particular has been said to work with ones creative energies. topaz is also excellent for promoting concentration. Many believed wearing a topaz ring would keep death from coming prematurely and would control insomnia and greed. topaz has also been long believed to be useful for those unable to control lust- a good stone for people with sex addictions.
Topaz has been said to be of great use for protection against a wide variety of problems from emotional difficulties to fires and accidents. In 1255, St Hildegard of Bingen, the famous mystic, offered a simple remedy for failing eyesight: steep a topaz in wine for three days and then lightly rub it over the eyes. Worn around the neck, topaz was also thought to cure madness.
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 has been said to be an ideal stone for travelers, protecting them from homesickness and danger. Ancient Romans credited topaz with preventing sickness of the chest and abdominal pain. Set in gold and worn around the neck, topaz is reputed to dispel bad omens, heal poor vision and calm anger.
Mystical Powers of Topaz
*The information provided here is for entertainment and reference purposes only. It is based on centuries of folklore, most of which camethe birthstones of your loved ones, or your favorite combination of colors about before the age of modern medicine. It is not meant as actual medical information. For advice about any of the illnesses listed, please visit a qualified physician.
Topaz has many attributes when it comes to aiding one’s physical health. It has been said to work with the spinal column and help steady and regulate the action of the heart. It has been used to treat bleeding and works to promote health in the glandular systems of the body. It is highly recommended for those who wish to improve their eyesight. In earlier times, topaz was believed to be able to actually absorb the heat of a fever. Topaz has also long been believed to ease the inflammations, discomfort and pain associated with arthritis. It is used in India
to treat tonsillitis, whopping cough, and mumps. Topaz is also useful for treating infections, deafness, goiter, hemorrhage, gout, circulatory problems, and nightmares. It aids in achieving good digestion, combating anorexia, restoring the sense of taste, stimulating metabolism and more. Furthermore, men are believed to become more viral when wearing topaz.
Topaz is particularly good for artists. It gives one access to their artistic creativity, and increases one’s appreciation of beauty. It is said to give a person the capacity to see both the larger picture and the minute detail, recognizing how they interrelate.
Emotionally, topaz is very useful for treating depression. It helps a person alleviate their fears, and treats psychosomatic illnesses. It balances emotions, helping those who go from one extreme to another. topaz is highly recommended for healing a person who is suffering from shock or trauma. It is also an excellent stone for those whose lives contain abnormal amounts of stress or tension. topaz can stimulate a person to maintain a brighter outlook on life.
Topaz has been praised for its ability to attune one to his higher self. It facilitates living according to your own aspiration and views rather than living your life to please others. In paying attention to your own needs and finding your inner sources of emotional nourishment rather than feeding off a partner, you nurture yourself. And in living life in an equal partnership you can find that inner fulfillment we are all looking for. This can lead to a more productive life.
All in all, topaz has been said to relieve greed, frenzies, insanity, hypocrisy, envy, intrigue, disease, injury, sudden death, sorcery, negative magic, lunacy and all disturbing emotions. It is said to soothe, heal, re-motivate, and bring the wearer strength, loyalty, beauty, protection, healing, weight loss, joy, generosity, abundance, wisdom, enlightenment, knowledge, good health, virtues of leadership, and love.
Topaz is known as the “lover of gold,” as it is used to bring wealth and money. It is traditionally known as a stone of love and good fortune, bringing successful attainment of goals. It is said to be especially effective when set in gold and bound to the left arm. topaz brings confidence, aids in problem solving, openness, honesty, self-control, self-realization and the development of inner wisdom.
Placed in the home, topaz protects against fire and accidents. When put under the pillow, it fends off nightmares and ends sleep walking. Overall, topaz has been known to transmute negative energy into positive energy.
In particular, topaz has been said to be extremely helpful to those who are angry. The stone aids in releasing one’s anger and bringing the realization of ones emotions and emotional pain to the surface. It helps one learn his true and real feelings and honor them, letting go of anger and resentment. topaz promotes the surrender to forgiveness of oneself and others, thereby releasing the anger that can hold a person back from living a healthy life.
Topaz also aids verbalization and is excellent for meditation and living according to your own aspirations and views. It helps you recognize truth and wisdom and where exactly you have strayed from your own truth. It is a great choice for the time when we want to understand our entire life, when we want to know why what seemed to be our greatest wish, our strongest desire, was not fulfilled. It allows us to clearly see what we have accomplished, and the goals we still have left to accomplish. This clear vision allows us to have inner peace.
Physical Properties and Science of Topaz
Topaz rates an 8 on the hardness scale
. It is a hard brilliant stone with a fine color range. In fact, the color of a topaz is more important than the size in determining its value. topaz occurs naturally in a range of colors and is heat-treated to produce the more popular hues. True topaz is found in shades of colorless to yellow, orange, red or brown, and is sometimes treated by irradiation to produce blue colors. The term “imperial topaz” refers to stones with a fine peachy to reddish orange color. Today, pink, blue, and honey colored stones are the most sought after, while deep golden yellow and pink are the most valuable (natural pink stones are rare- most are heat treated yellow stones).
Topaz is the variety of topaz most available today. Much colorless topaz is irradiated and heat-treated to a range of blues, some of which are almost indistinguishable from aquamarine
with the naked eye. What makes a topaz different from an aquamarine
is its lack of pleochroism
. Aquamarine always displays a very attractive pleochroism
from blue to greenish-blue or bluish-green. topaz usually has a more definite blue, perhaps with a grayish tone, which certainly distinguishes it from aquamarine
As with all light colored gems, the value of the topaz increases with its intensity of color. topaz has a definite sky-blue color and is uniform in color, often without overtones. While it is often pale, it can also be bright or sometimes even an intense blue. It can sometimes also have a slight gray or even greenish tinge.
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.
A distinctive feature of the topaz is its perfect easy cleavage
. This requires careful handling when stones are cut and polished, since specimens may split or develop internal cracks.
Topaz produces some of the largest crystals. They can be up to 3 feet long and weigh up to several hundred pounds. The largest stones have been nearly 20,000 carats. One of largest topaz stones in the world sits in the Museum of Natural History in New York
City. It comes from Brazil
and weighs a shocking 600 lbs! The largest cut topaz, the pale blue “Brazilian Princess” found at Teofilo Otoni North of Rio De Janeiro, weighs 21,327 carats and was fashioned as a square cut. It is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC
The best way to clean topaz is with warm soapy water. Never clean topaz in a home ultrasonic cleaner or a steamer. It is important that the stone be protected from any sort of exposure to rapid temperature change, acids, or heat. A topaz stone will start to lose its color if kept out in the sun or exposed to other kinds of heat. topaz is relatively hard but can crack easily if dropped so handle your topaz with care.