Topaz occurs in a range of different colours: deep golden yellow (imperial), shades of bright blue (usually heat treated), light to medium brown (champagne topaz), pink (usually heat treated), and white (clear). The latter are so bright that they have often been mistaken for fine diamonds. For centuries, the huge 1,680 ct Portuguese crown jewel, the Braganza, was thought to be a diamond. Good quality imperial topaz is increasingly hard to get, and prices have escalated fivefold in recent years.
Topaz can be found in Brazil, USA, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, former USSR, Australia, Tasmania, Pakistan, Mexico, Japan and Africa. Topaz is a hard gemstone, with a hardness of 8 on Mohs' scale. Only three gems, corundum, diamond and chrysoberyl are higher on Mohs' scale, making it excellent for jewellery because of its resistance to scratching. It also has a distinct cleavage, nothing to do with breasts, but how a stone breaks when struck. Topaz has only one direction of cleavage, parallel to the basal (horizontal) plane. This is the field test for topaz.
“Topaz is known as a “stone of true love and success in all endeavors”. It can promote individuality and creativity, while providing for confidence in trusting ones decisions. It acts to replace negativity with joy and joyfulness.”
One of the largest Topaz ever found was a 600 pound specimen in Brazil. You can see it today at the Museum of Natural History in New York. A rare, perfect blue gemstone was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1965. It weighed 100 kilograms. In Norway, a 137 pound crystal was found in 1901 that was two feet long.
Topaz can hold an electric charge for up to 30 hours. You can charge a topaz simply by rubbing it with your fingers. Some acquire a charge just by holding the ends of the crystal between your fingertips. Heating the gem then allowing it to cool slowly builds an electric charge greater than any other stone. It will retain that energy for more than a day after cooling down.
Topaz was believed to be named after an island in the Red Sea now called Zebirget, but formerly called Topazos. However, peridot not topaz was mined there, adding weight to the more ancient source - tapas, which was probably also responsible for the Islands name. In Sanskrit, the root of all other languages, tapas, is defined as: sobering up, penance, austerity, voluntary austerity for purification and a higher cause.
Interestingly, many cultures including the Greeks and Romans believed it protected from addiction to intoxicants. The Greeks also claimed topaz changed colour in the presence of poisonous food or drink. Egyptians thought the Imperial (golden) topaz was the captured light of the Sun god, Ra. It was worn in amulets for protection from accident or attacks and was even claimed to offer the power of invisibility in emergencies. They and others believed the stone increased their strength and could neutralize enchantments.
“Golden topaz stores information, as well as energy thoughts and love. If one needs recharging with energy, the golden topaz can be used like a battery. It can be used to attract people for friendship or business.”
Bushmen in Africa used topaz in healing ceremonies and rituals to connect with ancestral spirits. In medieval courts, kings and the nobility were often presented with an engraved topaz, often birds of prey, to win favour.
Other traditions recommend topaz for relief from asthma and digestive problems, convalescence and to improve stamina. It may help with insomnia by warding off nightmares, unproductive thoughts and allowing you to relax. It is said to promote the healing of wounds, strengthen your back and spinal cord and possibly aid in weight loss by raising the metabolism.
The colour of topaz is the primary indication of planetary rulership and their resultant energies. Clear and pale blue are ruled by Venus and the more orange-yellow imperial is ruled by Jupiter.