|Color:||Most often shades of yellow; more rarely pink, blue, light green, or colorless|
|Moh’s Scale grade for hardness:||8|
|Typical crystal structure:||Rhombus. Most topaz stones are formed in a rectangular bar with grooves along its sides. The tip of the crystal is an asymmetrical pyramid.|
Origin of the Name
The origin of the name “Topaz” is unknown, although there are a number of theories. One posits that the name comes from the Sanskrit word tapas (fire), which could refer to the stone’s color. Another theory is that the name comes from the Greek name, “Topazus,” of St. John’s Island in the Red Sea on which rare gemstones were once found. The island was shrouded in fog and difficult to find. The word topazus means “to search” and could have been the root of the name of the island and the stone.
The Topaz in Judaism
The second stone in the first row of the breastplate of the High Priest is the fateda, which could be the modern-day topaz. “You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it… You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald…” (Exodus 28: 15-21)
Rabbi Eliyahu HaCohen, who lived in Izmir, Turkey in the 17th-18th century, elaborated on the stones of the High Priest’s breastplate making the association of the topaz with the Tribe of Shimon and mentioned that the stone had the power to cool the body.
Characteristics and Healing Powers
Throughout the years, many magical powers have been ascribed to the topaz, with people believing the stone had the power to overcome sadness; grant courage; calm passions; strengthen love; confer wisdom; banish evil powers and cure many diseases. The many beliefs and superstitions attached to the topaz confirm the stone’s importance.
The topaz is a very complex mineral and despite its high hardness grade (8) breaks easily with a light blow along the crystal’s length, which causes the stone to split perfectly. When setting the stone, it is necessary to take care not to apply pressure so as not to break it.
There are a few kinds of topaz. The most expensive are yellow-brown to reddish topazes. Some believe that the topaz was chosen as the November stone because its color recalls the color of the leaves in the European autumn and the glow of the Indian summer.
The topaz is found in Brazil, Mexico, California, Texas, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Russia, as well as in number of African nations, including Nigeria.
One of the most famous topazes is a stone that was incorrectly assumed for many years to be a diamond and was even called the Braganza Diamond. This topaz is part of the Portuguese crown jewels.
Famous November Birthdays
Martin Luther; Sir Winston Churchill – UK prime minister during World War II; Thomas Edison – inventor; Boris Becker – tennis player; Bruce Lee – actor; Chaim Weizmann – the first president of Israel; Claude Monet – Impressionist painter; Indira Ghandi – former Indian prime minister; Aishwarya Rai – Bollywood actress; Laura Bush – former first lady of the US; Mark Twain – author.
Written By: Iris Hortman