Topaz is a precious gemstone that comes in a wide spectrum of colours. It can be amber, blue, gold, pink, or colourless. But the most popular, well-loved of all is Blue Topaz.
Jewellers love this Topaz variety because it's simple yet elegant, and valuable yet inexpensive. Crystal healers and meditation practitioners use it to strengthen relationships, achieve inner peace, and connect with the higher self.
Read on to dig deeper into the stone's history and properties.
The Physical Properties of Blue Topaz
An aluminum silicate that contains fluorine, Topaz is known for its durability and glass-like luster. It has a Mohs hardness rating of 8. Although it isn't soluble in most chemicals, Topaz is brittle and possesses a perfect cleavage. It easily forms cracks, flaws, or chips when extreme pressure is applied to it.
The stone is also pleochroic in nature, meaning it displays various colours when viewed from different angles. As a result, Topaz reflects a distinct blue green or light green colour.
Blue Topaz rarely occurs in nature, with a clear to light blue shade. Most Blue Topaz gemstones available in the market today are synthetic. They are made by heat treating and irradiating colourless Topaz to produce assorted shades of blue.
In the jewelry trade, stones with a light to moderate blueness are called Sky Blue and Swiss Blue Topaz, while stones that have a deeper (almost denim-like) sky blue colour are called London Blue Topaz. The value of the stone increases with the intensity of its colour.
The History of Blue Topaz
The name ˜Topaz' comes from the Greek word topazion, a derivative of the ancient Sanskrit word for fire. It is believed that the stone was first discovered on the Island of Topazios in Egypt's Red Sea. Topaz is also mentioned in the Old Testament of the bible which indicates that it has been regarded as a precious stone for ages.
Before the 1970s, Blue Topaz was rare and very costly. To increase supply, gem treatment experts came up with the irradiation treatment to turn colourless Topaz stones to Blue Topaz. In this process, the stone is treated with gamma radiation to alter the structure of its crystal lattice. This changes the way light penetrates the stone as well as the amount of light it absorbs, resulting in the colour change. Gem experts learned to adjust the process to create different intensities of blueness in Topaz stones.
The Ostro Stone, the world's largest Blue Topaz, was discovered in the mid-1980s by the British explorer Max Ostro in Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was faceted into a 9,381-carat gem measuring 15cm long and 10.5cm wide (the size of a rugby ball) and weighing about 2kg.
The Lore of Blue Topaz
In ancient Egypt, Blue Topaz is worn to protect against enemies and nightmares. The gemstone was also worshipped as it is said to possess mystical powers bestowed upon by the sun god Ra. South American tribes claimed that the stone could help heal sickness, especially during the Full Moon.
Because of its cool and calming blue colour, Blue Topaz was also believed to have cooling properties. As such, it was used to cool down boiling water and to soothe burns. These cooling properties also applied in taming overwhelming emotions like fear, anger, and anxiety.
Blue Topaz is the birthstone of people born in December. It symbolizes clarity, honesty, and deep emotional connection. Gifting someone a Topaz gemstone or jewelry signifies a proposal for a committed romantic relationship or an appreciation of the recipient's loyalty.
The Metaphysical Properties of Blue Topaz
Besides its soothing powers, Blue Topaz is said to have the ability to re-energize its user. It can promote effective communication in relationships by empowering people to speak calmly in emotionally charged situations and increasing compassion toward the other person.
It is also believed to usher forgiveness, leading to a relaxed mind and body. Meditating with a Blue Topaz is said to help one be attuned to their higher self.
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What is Gemstone Pleochroism? (n.d.) International Gem Society. Accessed at https://www.gemsociety.org/article/what-is-gemstone-pleochroism/
Blue Topaz History. (n.d.). Fire Mountain Gems. Accessed at https://www.firemountaingems.com/resources/encyclobeadia/gem-notes/gmstnprprtsbltp
Gillespie, T. (2016, September 27). WHAT A GEM: World's largest blue topaz unveiled 30 years after ˜British Indiana Jones' escaped Nazis and piranha to get it. The Sun. Accessed at https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1860867/worlds-largest-blue-topaz-unveiled-30-years-after-british-indiana-jones-escaped-nazis-and-piranha-to-get-it/