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Blue Topaz

Blue Topaz

December Birthstone

Icy blue topaz has a fire and sparkle that no other stone can imitate. It combines the clarity of topaz with the colors of the sky and the sea, ranging from velvety deep turquoise to pale robins egg with a multitude of shades in between. The name topaz is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word for fire, but the fire in blue topaz is muted and cool, more akin to the glimmering heart of fire in solid ice. In fact, most blue topaz resembles a blue sky more than it does the fiery sun for which the stone is named.

Regardless, blue topaz shares the qualities of all topaz. It represents loyalty and righteousness, and the ancient Greeks believed that it carried the power to protect its wearer from misfortune and sudden death. Like its sisters, the yellow and white topaz, blue topaz confers clear sight on its wearer, giving them the ability to see through illusions and spells to the heart of the matter. A true blue stone, indeed, the blue topaz is an aid to keeping a cool head, no matter the situation, and inspires compassion and warmth in those who see it. The blue topaz is associated with true love, which is clear-sighted, trust, relationships and communication. It is said to loosen the throat, allowing the emotions to be expressed in evocative and moving ways, making the blue topaz the stone for poets, actors, politicians and writers.

Topaz is found in a veritable rainbow that runs the gamut from crystal clear to deep, russet orange. Natural blue topaz, though, is extremely rare in nature. When blue topaz does occur naturally, it is nearly always so pale that it is almost colorless. Most blue topaz available today is helped along by man with the application of irradiation and heat. The application of radiation and heat allow precise control of the color achieved by the stone, making blue topaz extremely popular in jewelry collections that depend on uniformity of color. Among the trade names for the various shades of blue are sky blue, Swiss blue and London blue. The lightest of these shades is sky blue topaz, which resembles a watery summer sky, and darkest is the velvety blue of London blue which is dark enough to be mistaken for sapphire.

Between the two, Swiss blue topaz offers a shimmering shade of blue that is close the purest aquamarine. Transparent and pure, its heart glows with a hint of shimmer that brings to mind the incomparable sky of bright summer day. The blue has just enough of a hint of green to warm it, making it a true, clear blue that is treasured for its crystal jewel tone.

Topaz is an alumina silicate with a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, making it one of the harder gems – but it shares the quality of cleavage with its cousin the diamond. A single hard blow from the right direction can cleave the stone cleanly in two, thus is should always be protected from hard knocks. Topaz is mined throughout the world, though the highest quality clear and blue topaz is mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and China. Clarity, truth, loyalty and prosperity – the blue topaz is a gemstone that carries with it all that is good in life. If you were born in December, the blue topaz is your lucky stone – lucky you!

Naturally occurring blue topaz is rare, and when it does occur the color is generally pale. The blue topaz that is on the market today has been treated with radiation to deepen and set the blue tones. The process used gives very predictable results, making it possible to perfectly match the hue every time.

Until recently, blue topaz was considered the least valuable of all topaz colors, but the advent of the irradiation treatment has changed that. The stunningly clear blues that are achieved has made blue topaz one of the most popular gemstones on the market.

Blue topaz buying guide

Blue topaz comes in a range of colors. The most desired is a pure, clear robin’s egg blue. When buying blue topaz, be sure to examine the stone under both natural and incandescent light. Because the stone is so light in color, inclusions show easily, but eye clean stones are not uncommon.

Be wary of unscrupulous dealers trying to pass the less expensive quartz off as blue topaz. If possible, have the stone appraised by an independent gemologist.

Blue topaz care

Like diamonds, topaz have perfect cleavage – meaning that a sharp blow from the right direction will cause the stone to split perfectly along the cleavage line. For this reason, it’s important to protect blue topaz from situations where it may receive a sharp blow.

Everyday cautions

Remove blue topaz jewelry when doing house or yard work, and before applying makeup and hair spray.

Cleaning blue topaz

Clean blue topaz jewelry with a soft cloth or brush and a solution of mild dishwashing liquid and water. Soak the piece of jewelry in the solution for ten to twenty minutes, then carefully scrub with a soft toothbrush. Do not use ultrasonic or mechanical cleaners and avoid harsh chemical cleaning solutions.