Rare and valuable minerals

What is the difference between topaz and London topaz?

Topaz is a many-sided gemstone, a mineral, one variety of which is considered cheap and widespread, and the other is one of the most expensive and rare gems in the world. To help you understand this stone, navigate its diversity and decide on the choice of the specimen that is right for you, we have written this manual on topaz evaluation factors. We also pay attention to the influence of some nuances on cost formation.

Colors and types of stone

Topaz colors can be varied and have different occurrences in nature and value. In addition, topaz is characterized by pleochroism, from weak to strong, depending on the intensity of the color.

Red

Red is one of the most sought after and valuable topaz colors. Less than a percent of the total amount of mined raw materials goes into cutting. Red can be not only the main tone of topaz, but also one of the colors of pleochroism. For example, in some orange and yellow stones cut into an elongated pear or oval shape, it appears as an additional shade. In the photo: red topazes of elongated oval and pear shapes

Pink

Pink topaz is very rare, it resembles the color of a fancy diamond and pink sapphire. However, it is much cheaper than these varieties.

Orange

Orange is also one of the noble varieties. Sometimes it has a slight pink tint, so it looks like a padparadscha sapphire. If the color is very bright, neon, and the cost is relatively low, most likely you are looking at topaz with a painted film applied (Coated topaz).

Yellow

Yellow and golden colors are more common and come mainly from the mines of Brazil. The fact that demand for it slightly exceeds supply makes it more affordable compared to red and pink varieties.

Wine

Tan, tan, and brown colors are often called wine or tea colors. These shades are not stable, they tend to fade in the sun, so their cost is low. In the photo: wine topaz crystals in the sun

Cyan and blue

Blue and blue topazes are the most common colors of topaz in jewelry. Their popularity is due to their beauty, hardness and the ability to mass produce a blue color. It should be borne in mind that 99 percent of all blue topazes have been refined. In the photo: untreated (non-irradiated) blue topaz

Colorless (white)

Colorless (white) topazes are mined in many deposits and often serve as the starting material for the subsequent production of blue color. In the Asian cut, colorless topazes do not look attractive, but when cut in compliance with the required proportions, with high-quality polishing, they are very beautiful.

Green

A very rare color for this mineral, the color is not pronounced, muted. As a rule, the greenish color is obtained by superimposing blue and yellow-brown color zones in one stone. Be careful with stones of a pronounced green color; in most cases these are film-coated topazes.

Two-color

Sometimes one copy contains two colors at the same time. For example, blue and golden brown. If such a crystal is correctly oriented and arranged with the correct arrangement of edges, the cut stone will have a collection value. Such topazes often come to market in the Volyn deposit, Ukraine. In the photo: two-color topaz from Volyn, Ukraine

PURITY

Topazes of all colors, except blue and colorless, according to the GIA classification of clarity of jewelry stones, belong to type II, usually with inclusions. When extracted, crystals, as a rule, contain mineral, gas-liquid inclusions, etching channels, and others. Some crystals contain needle-like yellow-brown inclusions that can be mistaken for rutile, but when tested they may be channels filled with limonite. As a rule, crystals of raw materials free from defects are selected for cutting. Therefore, when cut, topazes are often free of visible inclusions or imperfections. This is especially true for blue, colorless and yellow topaz, which are more common than pink and red. In the case of the latter, about 1 percent of the extracted raw material is suitable for cutting.

CUT

Since topaz crystals coming from deposits often have a prismatic appearance, valuable varieties are cut in the form of elongated pears, elongated ovals, and baguettes in order to preserve the mass of raw materials as much as possible. Due to their rarity, pink, yellow, red, and orange topazes are practically not cut in standard sizes. Colorless, light blue and indigo topazes are cut in a variety of shapes, from classic to fancy. Raw materials are common and inexpensive, crystals can reach large sizes and there is no need to “save” to save mass. This allows cutters to get creative and use their imagination. The market offers a wide range of sizes of these varieties, from a few millimeters to large interior specimens, both calibrated stones and individual ones. We list the main cut shapes: oval, circle, cushion, trillion, radiant, octagon, heart, baguette, square, marquise, pear. In the photo: yellow oval-cut topazes White and blue topazes are sometimes found in the form of sprinkles, but it is worth considering that the cost of cutting work is much higher than the cost of raw materials and they are not used for exclusive jewelry.

Can topaz be considered a gemstone?

If we approach this stone from a legal point of view, topaz is not included in the list of precious stones and can conditionally be called semi-precious. From the point of view generally accepted in international gemological practice, topaz is considered a precious stone. According to the classification of Melnikov E.P. Imperial topaz belongs to the II order jewelry stones, blue, white and wine varieties belong to the III order jewelry stones. We talk about classifications in this article.

How to distinguish topaz from a fake?

This gemstone is very popular, so you can encounter imitations or fakes, especially with regard to noble valuable varieties. Glass is a traditional substance used to create imitation gemstones. Bolle is a modern and technological variation of it – glass ceramic. The properties of glass make it possible to obtain a variety of colors, so many jewelry stones can be counterfeited with it. What this material produces are streaks (heterogeneity of color, swirling color zones), bubbles, round and comma-shaped, sometimes quite large, visible to the naked eye. When studied with a polariscope, the observation pattern will correspond to an isotropic material or anomalous anisotropy. It is interesting that a method for obtaining the mineral in laboratory conditions has been developed, but due to the high cost of the work, it is not used in practice for the manufacture of jewelry inserts. The noble yellow and reddish varieties of topaz are similar to minerals such as spodumene (a variety of triphan), zircon, tourmaline, citrine, sapphire, and heliodor. Zircons are distinguished by a bright dispersion, which is not characteristic of topaz. Spodumene has less pronounced pleochroism. One of the diagnostic methods that allows you to determine topaz with high accuracy is observing the refractive index in a refractometer. For yellow topaz it is 1.61-1.62, for red and pink varieties it is slightly higher than 1.63-1.64. For citrine, which belongs to quartz, it is significantly lower than 1.54-1.55, for sapphire (the corundum mineral) it is higher and amounts to 1.76-1.77. However, we note that the listed methods require skills in working with gemological instruments and specialized knowledge. The most reliable way to confirm the natural origin of a gemstone is to contact an independent gemological laboratory. Here are examples of expert opinions on natural topaz. It should be noted that sometimes topaz is used as an imitation of more expensive precious stones: sapphire, diamond. There are known cases when unscrupulous traders mixed topaz crystals into the raw diamond deposits, processed in the octahedral form characteristic of natural diamonds. Also, if the raw material was processed in the form of colorless pebbles, other uncolored minerals (for example, quartz or zircon), as well as glass and even plastic, may accidentally appear among the topaz. Therefore, you need to check every stone! If you like this stone, you can choose and buy topaz in the catalog. If you have any questions about this guide, please email us. Once you try on jewelry with London topaz, you will definitely never forget it. The noble deep shade of the stone with a steel tint can easily compete with precious sapphire. In this article we will tell you what kind of mineral this is and why it is so valued all over the world.

The difference between London topaz and regular topaz

In nature, colorless or lightly colored blue topazes are most often found – they are not expensive at all, do not look particularly bright, and are considered semi-precious. Even counterfeiting such stones does not make much sense, although history knows such cases. Another thing is colored topazes, which are extremely rare. Even greater luck is to find a colored mineral of a rich shade. But if we do not have large reserves of such beauties, this does not mean at all that humanity should suffer! This is probably what the jewelers thought and decided to give us a miracle. In order for the pale mineral to acquire a sufficiently rich color, it is subjected to special processing. The stone is placed in a special device, where it is irradiated until the desired shade of topaz is obtained. The color changes due to changes in the crystal structure of the mineral. After this treatment, the gems become radioactive, so they are sent to a special storage facility for several months. If there are too many microimpurities in the crystals, the shelf life can increase up to a year. At the end, after many measurements of the radiation level, absolutely safe colored crystals are obtained. Previously, this technology was used only in the West, but since 2011, topazes have been dyed in Russia, although only at two enterprises – in Tomsk and Dimitrovgrad. The London Blue stones got their name due to their origin – the first samples were received by scientists from London. In addition to London Blue, there are other shades that are also obtained artificially: the lightest blue shade is Sky Blue, and the medium-saturated one is Swiss Blue. But still, “London blue” is valued above the rest, being considered the most expensive. By the way, despite the fact that the color of the stones is obtained artificially, its cost is very high. This is due not only to the complexity and duration of processing, but also to the beauty of the unique shade and the properties of the mineral itself.

Properties of London Topaz stone

Although topaz is considered semi-precious, some gemstones would envy its characteristics. This is a fairly hard mineral – only diamond and corundum are stronger than it. He can compete with many of his “colleagues” in transparency. To find out more about all the properties of London Topaz, read below.

Stone color

Topaz that has not undergone any treatment is most often colorless or with a dull undertone, but the London samples have stunning coloring. In the palette of colored minerals you will see inky, steel, blue-smoky and thick gray shades. The undertone may be blue or greenish. The deep shades of London Blue are reminiscent of the twilight sky of Foggy Albion, and its blue color is also compared to the view of the endless depths of a northern lake. A completely unique shade that puts you in a poetic or philosophical mood.

Chemical and physical properties

The physical characteristics of artificially colored London topaz do not differ from the naturally colored mineral. The transparent stone with a glassy luster has a high hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale and has a density comparable to that of diamond – 3,49-3,57 g/cm³. For clarity, we have compiled a table of characteristics: Colorless, golden yellow, pale blue, yellow, yellowish brown, violet red, pink 3,49-3,57 g / cm³ From the point of view of chemical composition, topaz belongs to the group of aluminum silicates. The stone is very resistant to acids and does not dissolve in them. But when exposed to direct sunlight, topaz can become discolored, because ultraviolet rays change the internal structure of the crystals.

Magical properties

Despite the fact that the London Blue color is obtained artificially, the mineral retains its healing and magical properties. It is believed that the main ability inherent in topaz is to endow a person with limitless wisdom. In addition, his strength helps him determine goals and achieve his goals without putting in extra effort. Even a small crystal attracts abundance, joy, and prosperity into the owner’s life. Esotericists claim that this blue stone is one of the best talismans for a person whose profession is related to money. If you are planning negotiations or a major deal, but you are not confident in yourself, be sure to take topaz jewelry with you. It will help you make the right decision, unravel your partner’s plans, and get your own benefit from a contract or agreement. The gem is also good for those whose work involves long trips and travel. It will protect sailors, researchers, travel bloggers from various misfortunes and troubles that may happen along the way. For the magic to work, you need to save the talisman until the end of the trip. If you think that envious people might have cast a spell or evil eye on you, turn to a talisman for help. It is the power of topaz that will eliminate harmful influences from the outside. Wear the jewelry with it constantly, taking it off only for a few hours or during sleep, so that the stone has time to rest from its work. After a couple of weeks, you will feel that life is gradually returning to normal. For a person who has had a traumatic experience – for example, a difficult divorce, loss or separation from loved ones – the blue crystal will serve well. It will save you from destructive emotions, restore peace and the ability to look at life events philosophically. After some time, a person returns to faith in the future, the desire to live a full, rich life. If fortune has turned away from you, topaz will help here too. They say that the mineral attracts good luck, gives universal recognition, and also makes others listen more carefully to your words.

Healing properties

Lithotherapists are convinced that any topaz – no matter whether it has a natural color or received its shade in the laboratory – has power and healing properties This mineral is the first assistant for those who suffer from depression or anxiety disorders. Along with other traditional medicine, the saturated crystal will help improve sleep, get rid of phobias, and restore inner balance and joy of life. If you have problems with cognitive functions, this gem can be an excellent ally in the fight against memory impairment. Also, the blue crystal helps to increase concentration and helps to finish what you start. For a person who notices decreased vision, experts advise applying topaz or jewelry with it to the eyelids for 5-10 minutes twice a day. In combination with medications prescribed by your doctor, the stone will help restore vision faster and get rid of eye infections. In addition, our hero is able to relieve arthritis pain and, with constant use, slow down the progression of the disease. “London Blue” has proven itself well in lithotherapy for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It not only improves digestion, but can also relieve pain, inflammation, and bloating. It is believed that the blue mineral helps with conception and can even save a woman from infertility. Lithotherapists recommend constantly wearing rings or bracelets with topaz if a woman dreams of becoming a mother.

How to distinguish London topaz from similar stones

Since this mineral is quite popular and expensive, it is often passed off as other, less valuable stones or even colored glass. To avoid falling for the tricks of unscrupulous sellers, it is better to buy jewelry with stones from suppliers you trust. But if you still decide to take a risk, take a closer look at the jewelry insert before purchasing. Aquamarine, for example, is passed off as “London blue” – it is lighter and paler. If observation is not enough, and you are still not sure which stone is in front of you, take it in your hand and compare it with topaz. The density of the latter is higher than that of aquamarine, and, accordingly, it will weigh more. Another “competitor” is glass ceramic. This is an artificial stone obtained from quartz glass. To check, you can try scratching a hard surface or glass with a crystal. A real mineral will leave scratches, but will not suffer itself, but an imitation will not pass this test. An additional way is to rub the stone with wool: natural topaz will quickly become electrified and attract small particles. It is even easier to distinguish natural stone from painted glass. During the inspection, you will notice that the color of the mineral is uneven, since it has internal imperfections – cavities, cracks. The glass is painted evenly, without transitions or color accents. Other important features: the glass does not electrify, heats up quickly in the hand, and is not capable of scratching hard objects.

Use in jewelry

London topaz is good on its own, which is why it often appears in jewelry. But jewelers love to combine it with other precious stones to highlight the beauty of the main character or, conversely, to dilute its rich shade with more neutral crystals. The ideal frame for the blue shades of the mineral will be cool metals – platinum, white gold, silver. And in warm shades of the frame, a blue pebble will effectively contrast; this option will look great if you want bright combinations. “Evening” stones are used to encrust various jewelry for women – earrings, brooches, pendants, bracelets, rings. Men’s accessories with this stone also look great thanks to its deep shade, which suits any gender and age well. Jewelry for men featuring London Topaz can be in the form of signets, bracelets, cufflinks or tie clips.

Compatibility of London topaz with zodiac signs

  • Topaz has the most beneficial effect on Scorpios, making their explosive nature calmer, helping to get rid of the habit of impulsive actions.
  • Unyielding Sagittarius will also become softer, more accommodating, learn to show empathy, and begin to cope better with conflicts.
  • Pisces and Cancer will have to interact with the powerful stone a little longer to notice the result of its influence. These signs will be able to show firmness in making decisions, reveal their hidden potential, and become more attractive to the opposite sex.
  • Libra, Aquarius, Gemini, thanks to the help of the patron, will be able to more easily survive conflicts, learn to be more attentive to themselves, without losing objectivity.
  • A wonderful crystal will help Aries, Taurus, and Capricorns find harmony and cope with internal tension.
  • The gem is also suitable for Leos and Virgos – these signs will find peace thanks to the blue talisman even during the most severe storms of life.

For convenience, we have made a compatibility table:

Zodiac sign Compatibility
Aries ++
Taurus ++
Gemini ++
Cancer +
a lion ++
Virgo ++
Scales ++
Scorpio + + +
Sagittarius + + +
Capricorn ++
Aquarius ++
Pisces +

How to properly care for stone

The main rule that will prolong the rich life of London topaz is not to expose the crystal to direct sunlight. Ultraviolet light can change the internal structure of crystals, and the stone may turn pale or completely discolored.

Otherwise, caring for jewelry with a blue stone is standard – we protect it from impacts, temperature changes, exposure to chemicals, and contact with sea water.

Periodically wipe the accessories with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly. If the dirt is strong, you can clean the stone with soapy water, then rinse with clean water and let it dry naturally. Once a year, you should have your jewelry professionally cleaned, where not only the surfaces will be cleaned, but also other hard-to-reach places, including the jewelry insert mounts.

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