Topaz is a beautiful light blue or yellow stone. Yellow Topaz is November's birthstone while blue topaz is December's birthstone. It is much less expensive than aquamarine. It looks beautiful in rings, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants.
Topaz -- Pablo Neruda's Fascination
by Margaret Burgon Klemp

Topaz is one of the gems most used by poets and writers. Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet was fascinated by a lot of things. His curiosity and his enthusiasm for various collections are reflected at his modest home at Isla Negra, Chile which is situated just off the highway to Valparaiso, the seaside resort in the Andes. Besides his interest in antiques he had a love affair with topaz. He described it this way:
"Whenever you touch topaz, it touches you: it awakes
a gentle fire, like wine awakes in grapes. Still unborn,
clear wine seeks channels amidst the stone, demands
words, bestows its secret nourishment, shares out the kiss
of human skin: the touch of stone and man in serene peace
kindles garlands of fleeting flowers, which then return
to prime sources: flesh and stone: contrary elements."
Pablo Neruda, El topacio
Topaz is full of mystery, in fact there is a famous movie mystery thriller named after it. The Topaz is well-known as a large quality gem. The worlds. largest topaz crystal was found in Brazil at the Minas Gerais, the world.s most well-known producer of topaz. It was purchased in 1938 by Allan Caplan, a New York dealer in minerals and precious gems. Upon his first inspection of the stone he thought there might be something wrong with it, and this particular stone along with two others were sent the American Museum for further study. What the experts found was the largest topaz known to that date. It is still housed at the museum. During the Middle Ages people believed that the use of topaz strengthened the mind and prevented sudden death. Some physicians of those times prescribed it as a remedy for weak vision. It was also used as a method of preventing mental disorders or curing these disorders altogether.
The topaz has superb qualities of color, clarity and hardness. Its. hardness allows it to be easily polished because it contains an innate smoothness. The smoothness and slipperiness of topaz is one of the ways it is identified along with the brilliancy of color. It comes in all different shades of yellow, blue, brown and rose reds. Most deep blue hues are produced artificially by heat and irridation. Citrine is sometimes mistaken for topaz. The more intense colors of topaz is what usually sets it apart from the lighter citrine colors. However, there is a test known as the "methylene iodide test" that can make a final determination. A stone is place in the solution, and a citrine gem will float while the topaz will sink to the bottom. While hardness is a definite prime attribute, topaz has a real disadvantage with its. basal cleavage. This makes the stone very sensitive to sharp blows so artisans and miners have to handle it very carefully.
Topaz can be found in streams, rivers and in gravel deposits. It is found mainly in gem pegmatites where the presence of fluorine can be found. Flourine provides a rich environment for the stones to grow into very large crystals. In fact, without the presence of Flourine topaz would not exist. Topaz crystallizes orthorhombically and develops columns with square and diamond shapes planes with multisurfaced heads. Topaz can also be found in cracks and cavities where a combination of Flourine and silica and alumina which was released by very hot temperatures caused the gems to form. Chromium Oxide is what provides its beautiful color.
Brazil is the undisputed leader in topaz production. Topaz can also be found in the Ural Mountains in Russia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the United States. At Minas Gerais they are normally mined from their primary rock or found on valley floors there. Topaz was actually first discovered in Poland in the Erz Mountains in an area called Schneckenstein.
Topaz is a very large stone. One giant gem at the Viennese Historical museum is reputed to weigh 585,000 carats. The rarest topaz is the Imperial Topaz and pink topaz. Pakistan is the only place today where rose-red tinted topaz can be found today. All other pink topazes get their color from heat treatments of up to 475º C. Imperial topaz is has a yellow tint to it while other members of the topaz family can be completely colorless. Some of the most beautiful examples of topaz are the famous blue topaz which can have colorful ranges starting with light blue stones. The very deep blue topaz is artificially produced by heating and irridation processes. One of the most interesting characteristics about topaz is that it bleaches in daylight and then renews itself as the light subsides. The color changes occur because of natural heating and irridation.
The largest deep red topaz in the world was found either in Brazil or Russia, and is considered highly unusual. Naturally red topaz is not very often found.

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