Dawn of Universe titanium jewelry sculpture by Wallace Chan with a 1,399-carat blue topaz. (Wallace Chan)

This comparatively plentiful stone is obtainable in a swath of gorgeous hues that jewellery clients can’t assist however love.

Topaz has been recognized and admired for greater than two millennia. A tough fluorine aluminum silicate, it will get its title from Old French (topace), Latin (topazus) and Greek (topázios). The historical Romans believed it protected the wearer and introduced prosperity, and within the Middle Ages, it was thought to beat back the evil eye and remedy a fever.

During the Renaissance, Europeans believed topaz may calm anger and thwart magic spells. “In the 18th century, topaz turned more and more common in Spain and France. By the Victorian period, its use was widespread,” says jewellery historian Mary Borchert of San Francisco-based Lang Antiques. “Topaz is at present one of the vital common gems utilized in modern jewellery.”

It’s additionally reasonably priced, notes Yehouda Saketkhou, founding father of San Francisco-based jeweler Yael Designs. “We use the gem once we wish to hold our jewellery at a extra accessible worth level.”

Topaz might be discovered in lots of localities, however Brazil is among the many largest suppliers and has produced clear crystals weighing tons of of kilos.

Dawn of Universe titanium jewellery sculpture by Wallace Chan with a 1,399-carat blue topaz. (Wallace Chan)

Irradiating the blues
In its pure state, topaz is colorless, nevertheless it takes on a variety of hues on account of hint parts and impurities. Pink, crimson and violet shades happen when chromium replaces aluminum within the crystal construction. Yellow, brown and blue are on account of imperfections on the atomic degree.

“Because blue topaz is so uncommon in nature, methods had been developed within the late Forties to create the fascinating blue hues by irradiating the gem,” relates antique-jewelry skilled Ioannis Alexandris of supplier Gemolithos in Munich, Germany.

Although topaz shouldn’t be the one gem to bear this process, he says, it attracted consideration some years in the past as a result of the method makes the gem barely radioactive. To forestall threat to shoppers, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and comparable our bodies worldwide mandate setting the stones apart for a number of months after therapy to let the radioactivity decay. Distributors of those gems are licensed by the NRC and should conduct security assessments earlier than sending the stones to market.

Ring featuring a 7.70-carat cushion imperial topaz accented by round rubies and diamonds by Omi Privé. (Photo: Omi Privé)
Ring that includes a 7.70-carat cushion imperial topaz accented by spherical rubies and diamonds by Omi Privé. (Photo: Omi Privé)

The therapy typically produces three blue hues, says Grant Hamid of gem provider Hamid Bros in Sydney, Australia: sky, Swiss, and London blue. “Due to their massive manufacturing [volume], the worth has remained considerably secure during the last 10 years, with minor will increase in London-blue materials. It is usually equipped in calibrated sizes in oval, emerald, spherical and pear shapes.”

Saketkhou makes use of primarily blue topaz, noting that “our shoppers are drawn to Swiss and London blue in fashionable geometric and distinctive shapes.”

Blue can also be probably the most requested coloration for Bangkok-based model Kavant & Sharart, which options this topaz selection in a number of collections. “We love to do customized cuts,” says artistic director Shar-Linn Liew, citing the model’s Twist Topaz earrings as examples.

Drutis earrings in 18-karat gold with diamonds and detachable London-blue topaz drops. (Drutis)
Drutis earrings in 18-karat gold with diamonds and removable London-blue topaz drops. (Drutis)

At San Francisco-based retailer Christensen & Rafferty, “blue topaz is a cheerful basic,” in accordance with co-owner Colleen Rafferty. The retailer has no drawback sourcing such items from the designers it carries. Princess is likely one of the hottest cuts, she studies, and pricing for the gems has been regular over the previous couple of years. “We discover that with many women letting their hair go grey and white, blue topaz seems fabulous on them,” she smiles.

Ashley Davis of retailer Davis Jewelers says that within the years she’s been within the trade, “topaz, particularly blue topaz, has been the highest semiprecious coloration vendor.” In addition to its home model, her retailer in Louisville, Kentucky, carries a number of upmarket manufacturers that characteristic the gem. Prices, significantly for London blue, have elevated considerably over the previous a number of years in designer items, says Davis. “It continues to be an financial choice, and blue is a coloration cherished by so many who it’s all the time going to have a spot.”

Louis Vuitton Conquêtes necklace with 17 opals and a pear-shaped, 37.07-carat imperial topaz. (Louis Vuitton)
Louis Vuitton Conquêtes necklace with 17 opals and a pear-shaped, 37.07-carat imperial topaz. (Louis Vuitton)

Au naturel
While handled topaz is available, some desire the stone’s pure colours. Helen Serras-Herman of Gem Art Center close to Tucson, Arizona, appreciates topaz in its authentic kind for each jewellery and sculptural gem artwork. “I’ve used pure white [or] blue topaz crystals from Brazil, and pure champagne-color topaz from Russia,” she says. “The pure zoning in these crystals works properly in my designs.”

Another fan of the pure and extra muted colours is Amina Okpukpara, founding father of Mina Stones in Abuja, Nigeria. “We simply love topaz. The hardness is true, particularly for earrings and pendants, and demand is rising,” she says. She sources her stones inside the nation, creating designs with conventional African motifs. Her favourite topaz is the colorless sensible reduce, which she makes use of as “an alternative choice to diamonds as accents, and at the same time as heart stones.”

Manpriya B drop earrings with polished blue topaz, sapphire and pavé diamonds, in 18-karat white gold. (Manpriya B)
Manpriya B drop earrings with polished blue topaz, sapphires and pavé diamonds, in 18-karat white gold.(Manpriya B)

Imperial colours
Imperial topaz is a uncommon kind found in Russia’s Ural Mountains within the seventeenth century. While it “initially referred to pink topaz from Russia in honor of the Romanov household, the commerce time period as we speak is extra intently related to reddish-orange to sherry-colored materials present in Brazil,” explains Edward Boehm, CEO of gem provider Raresource in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Following its discovery close to the city of Ouro Preto within the 18th century, the Brazilian materials “started changing the restricted provide from Russia,” he says — however the title caught. Today, merchants sometimes consult with the rarer pink, purple and crimson shades by their hues “to distinguish them from different imperial topaz of combined colours,” he provides.

'Head Profile’ sculpture in Brazilian natural colorless and blue topaz, weighing 199 carats, by Helen Serras-Herman. (Photo: Gem Art Center)
‘Head Profile’ sculpture in Brazilian pure colorless and blue topaz, weighing 199 carats, by Helen Serras-Herman. (Photo: Gem Art Center)

Constantin Wild, proprietor of the eponymous model in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, sells the imperial selection to haute joaillerie manufacturers worldwide, declaring it “all {that a} gem must be: It is gorgeous, with magical colours, good hardness, and is brilliantly glowing. It is a connoisseur gemstone.” Because of its rarity and restricted manufacturing, costs are excessive, and he expects them to proceed rising. The hottest cuts, he’s discovered, are classics equivalent to ovals, cushions and pears, which “have timeless model no matter trend tendencies.”

Imperial is a favourite of Parisian designer Lorenz Baumer as properly. “I recognize its softness and brilliance and what it brings to a jewel by making it ethereal, refined and colourful,” he says. He typically makes use of it in rectangular or emerald cuts for a middle stone, as in his Papillon ring. Bangkok-based Alessio Boschi makes use of largely pure topaz. He, too, favors the imperial kind — although its restricted availability and excessive costs imply it’s just for particular items, he says. He additionally makes use of blue topaz when his shoppers request it. Whatever the colour, he maintains, “the stones are stunning, and so they all have a spot available in the market.”

Victorian-era ring featuring natural pink topaz and rose-cut diamonds. (Photo: Gemolithos)
Victorian-era ring that includes pure pink topaz and rose-cut diamonds. (Photo: Gemolithos)

Main picture: A 15.32-carat bi-color imperial topaz reduce by Constantin Wild. (Constantin Wild)

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