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Honey yellow. Fiery orange. Cyclamen pink. Icy blue. In warm or cool tones, topaz is a lustrous and brilliant gem.

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Reddish Pleochroism

Topaz’s reddish pleochroic colour often appears at the ends of cut gems.

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Prized Colour

Rich reddish orange is one of this gem's most coveted colours.

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Long Oval

Because topaz crystals are typically elongated, polished gems are often cut long.

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Columnar Crystal

This topaz crystal has a columnar prism with a “chisel-like” termination.

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Basal Cleavage

Parallel to the base of the crystal are weaker bonds between the atoms.

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The colour the trade calls imperial topaz is highly prized and very rare.

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Buyer's Guide

The different colours of topaz have their own unique subtleties for the value factors. Imperial colours, blue colours and yellow colours must be evaluated according to their own criteria.


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What to look for

9.73-carat pear-shaped topaz
Colour Is The Most Important Quality Factor For Topaz

Red is one of the most sought-after topaz colours and represents less than one-half of 1 percent of facet-grade material found. The colour the trade calls imperial topaz is highly prized and very rare. Many dealers insist that a stone must show a reddish pleochroic colour to be called imperial topaz.

This 10.15-carat purplish pink topaz has no eye visible inclusions. - Courtesy The Natural History Museum of L.A.
Clarity Refers To The Inclusions

Faceted blue topaz is almost always free of eye visible inclusions. Other more rare colours like imperial and pink may show inclusions more often and still be valuable due to the colour’s rarity.

Uniquely cut topaz
Cut Is One Of The Most Important Factors In Appearance

Topaz is cut in a wide variety of shapes and cutting styles. Production includes all the standard gem shapes such as ovals, pears, rounds, emerald cuts, cushion cuts, triangle cuts, and marquise shapes, as well as designer-inspired fantasy shapes.

Purplish red topaz
Carat Weight Allows For Precise Measurements

Standard topaz cuts for the jewellery industry include a wide range of shapes, sizes and weights. Blue topaz rises very little in per carat price as the size increases. Imperial topaz on the other hand rises in per carat price dramatically as size increases.

Topaz Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide

Tips & Advice

1. Think beyond blue.

Although blue topaz is the most common colour you’ll see, thanks to a treatment that creates the colour, topaz comes in beautiful pinks, reds, oranges, yellows and browns too.

2. Supply and prices are different for blue topaz and Imperial topaz.

Blue topaz and colourless topaz are very affordable and widely available. Red, pink and orange colours are rare and valuable. You’ll need to find a jeweller who has gemological knowledge and expertise to see fine qualities in these rarer colours.

3. Don’t confuse topaz and “topaz quartz” and “smoky topaz.”

When yellow citrine quartz was first discovered, miners called it “topaz quartz.” Topaz is usually more valuable than citrine in a similar colour and also occurs in more saturated tones. Sometimes brown quartz is mistakenly called “smoky topaz.”