Color: Precious topaz ranges from golden and honey tones to brown to reddish orange and rare pinks
Gem Family: Topaz is a gem family that includes the relatively rare precious topaz, the coveted sherry-red to orange imperial topaz, and the delicate pink topaz. However this gem family is most well known for enhanced blue topaz, the most affordable and available of gems.
Source: Rare pastel pink topaz is found in Pakistan and Russia. Imperial topaz, a reddish-orange, sherry red to deep salmon pink, is found in Brazil. Brown, yellow, peach, and orange precious topaz is found in Brazil and Sri Lanka.
Clarity: Ranges from no visible inclusions to moderately included.
Size Range: Precious topaz is available from 0.5 to 5 carats. Pink topaz is available from 0.5 carats to 1.5 carats, with individual sizes rare over three carats.
Shapes Available: Precious topaz is most often found in a scissors cut, a rectangular gem cut with curved sides that has triangular facets. Ovals, cushions, and emerald cuts are also available.
Enhancement: Sometimes peach-colored topaz can be "pinked" by gentle heating. Topaz is sometimes heated at low temperature to remove yellow.
Lore & History: The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the mighty sun god Ra. This made topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who also is the god of the sun. Topaz is the birthstone for those born in the month of November.
Toughness & Hardness: Topaz has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale and it is quite durable.
Care & Cleaning: Topaz is a very hard gemstone but it can be split with a single blow, a trait it shares with diamond. As a result it should be protected from hard knocks. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.
Special Characteristics: Perhaps the most famous topaz is a giant specimen set in the Portuguese Crown, the Braganza, which was first 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.