The November birthstone, topaz
Up until only 200 years ago topaz was the name given to any yellow gemstones, even though we now know the stone comes in a variety of shades.
Traditionally, yellow topaz has been known as November’s birthstone, alongside citrine – a stunning golden gemstone. However, more recently, any of the impressive topaz colours are worn to symbolise the birthstone for November. And it’s not just known as a birthstone, blue topaz is traditionally gifted for the fourth wedding anniversary and orange topaz is given as a 23rd wedding anniversary gift.
The colours of topaz
Topaz comes in a spectacular array of colours, including blue, brown, green, orange, pink and, rarely, red and purple. The most common topaz colour, however, is actually colourless.
Although naturally coloured topaz is more rare than colourless, these hues can be achieved by heating and then coating the crystal with metallic oxide. In fact, the majority of blue topaz on sale is the result of heat-treating colourless topaz with cobalt.
These days there is more desire for colourless topaz, not only because of its natural form, but it can be used as a diamond alternative at a fraction of the cost.
Where can you find topaz?
In Australia, gem-quality topaz was discovered accidentally during metal mining in the 1800s. Usually found in igneous rock alongside granite, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, most Australian topaz is found in alluvial placer deposits (mineral deposits formed by water movement in a stream or river, known as weathering process). Gem-grade topaz, including naturally coloured topaz, is found across Australia, including New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Brazil, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the United States are also well-known producers of naturally coloured topaz.
When buying topaz jewellery, you should look for translucent gems that are free from inclusions (visible imperfections). The exception to this is imperial topaz (medium reddish–orange, orange red to red topaz) which may show some inclusions due to the rarity of these colours.
The colour of topaz should be vivid, not dull, and deeper, warmer colours tend to fetch higher prices. As red and pink topaz are the rarest, these command the highest cost, with other colours, including white, being more cost effective for those not wishing to spend thousands on the stone.
When it comes to size, similarly to other gems, the larger the carat weight, the higher the price tag. Though when it comes to quality it is still important to choose a topaz with fewer inclusions.
So, which ever colour topaz suits you – whether it be to recognise a wedding anniversary or as the birthstone for November, there is one to suit every budget.
Luxury jewellery at The Perth Mint
Buying an exceptional piece of topaz jewellery should be an enjoyable experience. And here at The Perth Mint you can be safe in the knowledge that our collections offer spectacular designs showcasing rare gems in the finest precious metal settings.
In our landmark heritage-listed building, our elegant jewellery boutique is home to some of the world’s most exquisite topaz jewellery – perfect to symbolise the November birthstone or to celebrate that important wedding anniversary.
When it comes to luxury, we offer pieces from around the world, as well as the peace of mind that comes with choosing to make a purchase from a Government of Western Australia-owned enterprise with a long-standing reputation for quality and integrity.
Book your appointment today and one of our highly trained consultants can take time to assist you in making the perfect topaz choice. The Perth Mint Shop is home to an extensive and unique range of treasures which can only be fully appreciated in-store. Appointments are available between 9am and 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am and 5pm on Sunday.
Tanzanite, December’s newest birthstone
Only discovered in 1967, tanzanite is relatively new to the gemstone category. It was only added as the modern birthstone for December in 2002. So, what’s the big deal about tanzanite?