The word Topaz, the birthstone for November, is derived from Topazos, a small island in the Red Sea, where the Romans obtained a stone which they called by this name. The Sanskrit word for Topaz is “fire”, and in ancient lore, the topaz could be used to control heat. It was said to have the power to cool boiling water, as well as excessive anger. As medication, topaz was used to cure fever.
Topaz occurs in a range of wonderful colours – blue, pale green, varying shades of yellow, pink, red, brown and even black. The most valuable colours of Topaz are the golden orange-yellow type, called Imperial Topaz. It was not until this past century that blue Topaz became widespread on the gem market, since virtually all blue gem Topaz is irradiated and heat treated.
Did you know…?
Powdered topaz added to wine was used to prevent asthma and insomnia. A cure for weak vision called for immersing the stone in wine for three days and nights, then rubbing the liquid on the eyes.