BLUE TOPAZ

bluetopazThe beautiful cool blue of the sky is captured in blue topaz. This pastel blue gem is a designer favourite since it is affordable and available in a wide range of gem shapes and sizes. Its bright and lively colour looks right set in both yellow and white metals. You’ll find that this versatile gem complements almost everything in your wardrobe, from browns and grays to vivid tones.

Blue was once the rarest colour of topaz, but today it is the most common, thanks to a stable colour enhancement process developed in the 1970s.

The popular icy pastel blue colour is created by exposing colourless topaz to irradiation and then heat. Lighter colours are created by electrons and the darker blue known as London or Super blue is created by exposure to neutrons. The process can take minutes or years, as high-energy processes require that the topaz is stored before it can be released safely.

The pale or colourless topaz used in the process is mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and China. The gems are usually cut before they are treated.

Legend says that topaz dispels enchantment. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz has the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz was also said to change colour in the presence of poisoned food or drink.

In 1969, blue topaz was named the state gem of Texas to celebrate a small deposit of natural pale blue topaz that was found in the state.

Because blue topaz is readily available and affordable, it can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including unusual cuts. Large dramatic gems are readily available.

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.