Topaz is a gorgeous gemstone found in a wide range of colors. Striking shades of red, orange, peach, pink and gold are just a few shades of interest.  However, yellow topaz is the official birthstone for the month of November.  Commonly used as the suggested anniversary gemstone for the 4th, 19th, and 23rd years of marriage, this lovely stone has actually been quite famous throughout history.

yellow topaz gemstonesThe word topaz comes from the Sanskrit and means fire. Typically, gem connoisseurs mine it from sources in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Russia, Australia, Africa, Mexico and Pakistan.  The method most often used is surface mining or open pit mining, but sometimes underground mining is also an option depending on how deep it is in the ground.  Topaz may be found in large chunks, or in small pieces.

Interestingly enough, the most famous topaz was for years thought to be a diamond called the “Braganza Diamond.” It is also known as the “Prince Regent Diamond” because it entered the court during the regency of Prince Regent John VI.  Some describe it to be about the size of a goose egg, and say that John VI had a hole drilled in it to wear as a necklace for special occasions.

The famous “Braganza Diamond” disappeared after the death of King John VI, and no one is quite certain as to where it is today.  Some think it may be set on the Portuguese crown.  Even though it was discovered in 1797, if were a diamond, it would still be the largest and most valuable diamond ever found, but experts believe based on its color, which had been described as a dark yellow color, and other features that it truly was a topaz.

Those who are interested in seeing genuine topaz gemstones may do so at various museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the British Museum.  Their dazzling displays contain both rough and cut stones.

As with most gems that have been around for centuries, topaz have their own powers associated with them.  It was considered to heal both physical and mental disorders and even prevent death.  As for physical ailments, those with achy body conditions would wear it because they thought it cured or improved arthritis and other bone and joint dysfunctions.  In addition to those health problems those who wore it felt it improved various blood vessel and circulatory problems.

Emotionally, topaz was said to drive away sadness and even improve upon intellect, as well as bring a feeling of calm and peace to the hearts of all those who wore it.

On fun piece of folklore associated with topaz comes from the Greeks.  They believed it had powers to literally increase strength and actually make those who wore it hidden from sight.  However, they were not the only ones to feel it had these magical powers.  The Egyptians felt if they wore it as an amulet they would be safe from injury, while the Romans were certain that it improved their eyesight.

Based on its history and beauty, those who wear topaz jewelry designs would most likely agree with St. John in Revelation who said that topaz was, “touched by the splendor of the sun.”  It truly is a splendid gem.

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