Legend and Myth
In mythology, topaz is portrayed as a gem of peace and healing. It was first found by the Romans over two millennia ago on the Island of Topazios in the Red Sea. They believed it could protect its wearer from enemies and bring reconciliation.
The gem was also worshipped in old Egypt, where it was said to hold mystical powers given by the sun god Ra. In South America, many tribes believed topaz could dispel sickness when the moon was full.
During the 18th century gold rush, Brazilian topaz became extremely popular amongst European aristocracy. The enormous Braganza topaz was set in the Portuguese Royal crown, and the Parure necklace of Maria Pavlovna, belonging to the Swedish royal family, is made with Brazilian topaz.
Catherine Middleton has been known to wear a pair of blue topaz and diamond drop earrings on social occasions. Hollywood is also very fond of the blue gem, famously worn at award ceremonies by Cate Blanchett, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez.
Topaz is a silicate mineral of fluorine and aluminium. It appears in many colours including yellow, gray, red and colourless – and very rarely, pale blue or pink.
Due to its rarity in nature, blue topaz in most commonly obtained by heating and irradiation of colourless topaz.
It registers 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it almost as hard as sapphire and tougher than tanzanite.
As all crystals, topaz can be brittle and should be treated with care.
Where on Earth?
Topaz is mined in many parts of the globe, including China, USA, Russia and Mexico.
Brazil’s Minas Gerais region, however, is where the world’s biggest transparent topaz crystals are found.
Most of the gemstone production here is still carried out by artisanal miners. The Brazilian government applies restrictions on mechanised mining to protect indigenous tribes and the environment.
Birthstone and Anniversary
Topaz is the birthstone for November and the gem for 16th wedding anniversaries. Blue topaz has a beautiful glacier-blue colour, which makes it an ideal winter birthday gift.
Almost as hard as sapphire, blue topaz’s durable nature has made it a popular precious gem for commemorating important life occasions.
Famous Blue Topaz Gemstones
The Programa Royal Collection is a natural heritage gem collection based in Madrid, Spain. One of its most famous gemstones is the Marbella Topaz, the world’s biggest blue topaz.
At 8,225 carats and expertly cut into an oval shape, it is breathtakingly pure and transparent. The Marbella Topaz can be admired at the Programa Royal’s Art Natura complex in Madrid.
Blue Topaz Style Tips
Because blue topaz comes in big crystals, it is extremely popular in cocktail rings and other large items of jewellery.
In lighter shades it adapts well to all tones of clothing, except very bright reds and oranges.
Blue topaz is often seen at celebrity events and looks particularly striking when worn with matching blue evening wear and accessories.