Dear gemstone lovers,
there are stones which really are something special. And some of them are far rarer than diamonds. I’d like to tell you about just such a stone today because, with me and the imperial topaz, it was love at first sight!
Nomen est omen
Truly imperial: my first encounter with this radiant reddish-gold rarity was back in the 80s, on a trip to Ouro Preto, in the well known federal Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. When I first saw the special sparkle of this stone, I understood at once why my father had referred to the Brazilian imperial topaz as his favourite!
My father and I are by no means the only ones to have been inspired. The imperial topaz was already casting a spell on people 2000 years ago. But where does the name come from? Expert opinions are divided: in Sanskrit, tapas means fire, and topazos in Greek was an island in the Red Sea. Maybe the Russian tsars were behind it. They were among the earliest and most important buyers of this rarity. Yet others say the stone was not named until the time of the Brazilian empire, between 1822 and 1889. The fact is that no-one really knows exactly. But one thing is certain: today, the imperial topaz is still up among the most valuable and most coveted stones worldwide.
Not all topazes are the same
Colourless, blue, brown or green: topazes come in an enormous range of colours. But the pink and reddish-gold specimens have always been among the most coveted. However, in the time around 1800, a yellow stone known as the ‘gold topaz’ or ‘quartz topaz’ – which was in fact the inferior citrine – marred the reputation of the genuine imperial topaz. That is why the true topaz is known today as a precious topaz. And the name of imperial topaz is only borne by the rare stones with that golden-red, orange and shocking pink sparkle.
More than just rare
Much coveted: many gemstone lovers have come to recognise that the imperial topaz, with its almost platinum shimmer, its unbelievable facets, and its hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, is a true top-class stone. The result: it has become extremely rare, which means it is not only eminently suitable for use in jewellery, but also as a worthwhile investment. So I am all the more delighted to have a specimen of over 30 carats in my treasure chamber. For sheer beauty, this red pear-shaped imperial topaz is very hard to beat!