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Facts and Folklore by Wynn Fabbri
In the Fall tradition, the beautiful colors of golden orange, yellow and yellowish peach remind us of the birthstone for November, Topaz. The word Topaz is derived from the Greek word "topazios" , or the word "tapas" meaning heat or fire in Sanskrit.
Golden topaz is given on the twenty third wedding anniversary.
The mineral topaz is aluminum fluoride hydroxide. It's hardness on Moh's scale is 8. Topaz comes out of the ground colorless unless it has impurities. If there is a mix of other elements in the crystals, it can be brown, orange, yellow, gray, pink yellow, green, blue or reddish pink.
The most valuable and sought after color of topaz is red, it is the most rare. Red topaz makes up less than one half of one percent of gem grade topaz. This color is called imperial topaz, it may have a yellowish orange bodycolor, however it must have reddish hues appearing on some facets (pleochroism) to be considered imperial.
Precious topaz is a term used to describe more common yellowish brown to yellowish orangish brown hues.
As mentioned, topaz is usually colorless, however, there have been natural strong blue topaz mined, however it is extremely rare. Most all of the blue topaz used in the industry today is heat treated or irradiated to give the blue hue.
Precious orange topaz is considered a symbol of friendship. The ancient Egyptians thought that the Sun God, Ra, was responsible for the golden color of topaz. Topaz is thought to calm down anger and to bring a fever down. Topaz was added to wine in a powder form as a preventative for insomnia and asthma.