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
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.
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.
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.”
Questions & Answers
How do I know if a topaz is “Imperial topaz”?
There is no official standard for imperial topaz. Some dealers use the term for colours that are orange to pink to red to purple, others reserve the term for certain saturated shades. It’s the colour, not the term “Imperial” that gives topaz its value.
Is pink topaz from Pakistan or Brazil more valuable?
Topaz with a vivid purplish-pink colour is the most rare topaz colour: colour is more important than country of origin in assessing quality.
Does GIA grade topaz?
GIA doesn’t grade topaz. GIA Gemological Identification Reports identify and assess the characteristics of a mounted or loose topaz (weight, measurements, shape, cutting style and colour) and indicate any detectable treatments.
Is blue topaz radioactive?
National regulations around the world control the release of gems from irradiation facilities to ensure that they meet safety standards. In the United States, the standard for release and import of topaz is a small fraction of the background radiation that everyone is exposed to every day.
Find out moreTopaz: Questions & Answers
Caring for Your Topaz
Keep your topaz beautiful by following simple care and cleaning guidelines.
Because of cleavage, extreme pressure or sharp temperature changes might cause topaz to break.
Care and Cleaning
Warm soapy water is always safe.
Topaz coated to improve colour must only be cleaned with mild soapy water.