Before detailing the distinction between the various types of Blue Topaz Gemstones, its important to understand what is Blue Topaz exactly?

Meaning of Blue Topaz

blue topaz

No one can explain the meaning of blue topaz better then us. Its a dream gemstone in our own language if we had to explain the topaz meaning. However in real the actual meaning is derived from Sanskrit and means “Fire”. There is believed to be an island called Topazos in the red sea near Greece, where a yellow colored topaz variety used to be mined. Now mainly the yellow ( today known as imperial topaz ) is found in Brazil. Most of the other commercial productions are from Nigeria and brazil with some deposits still found in India, Srilanka, Burma, Russia, Laos.

Topaz can mean a lot of different things for a variety of different people. Topaz meaning for fashion people means affordable gemstone jewelry in this color range. Meaning of  topaz for the astrological purpose is to bring new life and positive energy for those who believe in powers and astrology. Topaz for the Hindu religion is the stone of the “Kalpa tree” and is believed to be one of the 9 sacred stones in the religion.

Blue Topaz – General Introduction about this December birthstone (Topaz birthstone)

The Topaz is one of most popular gemstones in the world along with the Ruby, Diamond and Sapphire. It is available in wide range of colors but the golden orangish-yellow Topaz known as Imperial Topaz is the most expensive color of all. Topaz in blue color is the most admired member amongst the Topaz family because of its brilliance and striking color. Topaz is also the favorite amongst the texas state as its the Texas state gemstone.

Although, the color blue is available with many gemstones like in the darker tones of Sapphires, Tanzanite, Iolite, Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine and Kyniate etc. But none of the above mentioned gemstones are perfect for everyday wearing jewelry such as rings, pendants because they do not possess the perfect hardness as Topaz. This blue colored Topaz has been rated 8 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness which makes it an outstanding gemstone for daily use. “Colored Stone” – a well known industry magazine has rated Topaz on second position amongst all the colored gemstones, Sapphires being at the first position.
blue topaz process from white topaz to blue topaz

Topaz is one of Earth’s hardest naturally occurring gemstones. It develops as a crystal mineral in various granite rocks and lava flows. Topaz, in a natural state is usually colorless and transparent.  The presence of iron and chromium impurities causes variations in color which ranges from pale yellow, brown and grey to pastels shades of green, violet and pink. The most common venues from where Topaz is mined are Germany, The Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan and Brazil, at specific sites of Texas and Utah as well as in Mexico. Topaz can be found in vast and flawless crystals which can be faceted into giant gemstones which can weigh thousands of carats.

The only natural resources of White Topaz are found in Sri Lanka. It is important to be note here that the Topaz in natural blue color is very rare to be found. Blue – Topaz traded in the market is produce by giving heat and radiation treatments to the clear Topaz. The methods of treatment given to clear Topaz to change its color into blue will be discussed later in the article

A Classification into a Topaz color chart

blue topaz color chart
Topaz comes in various colors of blue. Broadly, on the basis of color it can be classified into three categories. The above Topaz color chart explains everything you need; works as a pocket guide for color reference.

Swiss BT

swiss blue topaz

London BT

London Blue Topaz oval

In case of all topaz in blue color, it is very hard to determine where one color ends and another starts. A simple rule of thumb is applied all over the world i.e. light blue is Sky, medium blue is Swiss and dark blue is London. Topaz is colorless or white quartz, the color blue is result of various radiation and heat treatments. The color (shade of blue) depends on type of radiation method used. The several methods of irradiation which are used to alter the color of Clear Topaz are:

Ø By X-rays
By Gamma rays
By Neutrons bombardment
By High-energy charged particles such as electrons and protons.

1. Sky Blue Topaz: Sky Blue comes clean, clear and delicate blue color just  resembles the the color of the sky on a cloudless day. It pleases to those who like light colors and airy spaces. Technically, Sky Topaz is a white topaz which has been exposed to gamma- rays to change the color of the gemstone into light blue.

Gemstones are exposed to gamma-rays within a gamma cell containing the radioactive material Cobalt 60 which emits gamma-rays. The rays generated are very penetrating and produce uniform color to the specimen. For producing a Swiss Blue, intense doses of gamma-rays is required for the first 2-3 hours subsequently, the dose can be reduced.

Without a doubt, Sky Topaz is the most affordable gemstone in the market today. Its pleasing and spirit-lifting light blue color gives you the look of Aquamarine but at very pocket-friendly price tag. The Sky Topaz ranges between 0.50$-2$ per carat. Consumer market of light blue colored topaz is Europe.

2. Swiss Topaz: The vivid color of Swiss Blue Topaz resembles to the color of rich Caribbean Sea which is very close to the color of Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline.  It is different from Sky Topaz as it darker then sky color and also known as the Electric Topaz. Technically, Swiss Topaz is a white topaz which has been exposed to high energy electrons to change the color to bright, saturated and cheerful blue.

Linear accelerators are used at high energies to accelerate electrons. The electrons are forced to pass through by electrically deflected zigzag pattern so the whole specimen holder is exposed to the beam of electrons. This method is complex, expensive to build, expensive to operate and must be well-shielded. More importantly, the excessive heat produced during the process is a cause of major worry because too much heat can crack the specimen. During this radiation process, the samples are often cooled by running cold water. Due to the low penetration and coloration there is more heat at the surface. The penetration depth can be increased but it can result into high radioactivity. The only advantage of using this radiation method is that it can produced treated topaz by increasing the doses to tens of thousands of mega-rads. While, in the case of gamma-rays to achieve this level of energy it may take several months. The color produced in linear accelerator is brown and blue.

Swiss Topaz is one of the prettiest and most famous members amongst the Topaz family. It has a vivid blue color which is darker then the color Sky Topaz and lighter then London Topaz. The price starts from 1.5$ per carat. The main consumer markets of Swiss Blue are U.S.A, Asia and Europe.

3. London Blue Topaz: London Blue is a white topaz which has been exposed in a nuclear reactor to change the color to a saturated and deep blue. Many of these have a slightly greenish tone when viewed from certain angles.

Neutrons produced in the nuclear reactor can also change the color of pure topaz crystals. They have the excellent penetration so, there is no problem of surface heating and color produced by neutrons is deep and uniform. The color produced by neutrons is often dark to those produced by electrons. Thats why, London Blues are also referred as ‘Inky’ and ‘Steely’ Topaz.

In case of blue color, more saturated blue color tends to have more value because the exactly look like Tanzanite. So, in Topaz the London Blue is regarded as the most valuable amongst the other members of the Topaz family. London Blue prices start from 2.5$ per carat. The consumer markets of this dark blue stone are Europe, U.S.A. and Australia.

Heat Treatments : Followed by irradiation treatments (either by gamma-rays, neutrons or electrons ) the treated topaz is heated to reveal the  blue color more clearly by removing any yellow or brown color present on the stone. Heating acts as a cleaning for the gemstone. Heating should be applied on gemstones very slow and carefully. Because Topaz is heat sensitive and excessive heat can break, chips or shatter the gemstone. The heating should be done below the temperature of 200 degree Celsius.

Blue Topaz- The Hidden Controversy you must know about?

In case of Swiss Topaz and London Topaz, the color has been attained by bombardment from electrons and neutrons in a linear accelerator and nuclear reactor respectively followed by heat treatments. In the year 2007 The American Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) raised a question that is irradiated Blue Topaz are really safe for the public or not?? This statement raised a controversy at that time and thus badly affected the demand of Topaz worldwide. But after 2 years of this event, NRC themselves tested around 9 batches of irradiated Swiss and London Topaz of 500 carat each an issued a fact sheet assuring that irradiated Blue Topaz are safe for the person. After the controversy, strict rules have been imposed by NRC in regulating the license for the gems treated in Linear Accelerators and Nuclear Reactors. This ensures that the people get safe topaz (blue) to wear on their body and it doesn’t give out any harmful effects.

Topaz jewelry

Topaz jewelry is really one of the most commonly sold on the market – for the reason that be it blue topaz engagement rings, any topaz jewellery, topaz rings, topaz pendants, topaz earrings – all these are quite close to the hearts of women. Blue is a favorite color for all women these days. It resembles the sky, the water, Kate’s wedding videos and many more pleasant memories. We have collected some of the good designs and used the topaz images of jewelry to make a little topaz picture collage of Blue topaz jewelry. These include with Topaz rings, Topaz pendants and some of the most common Topaz earrings. Most of the designs are by Macy’s, so dont forget to check their website.

blue topaz jewelry designs

Topaz – A Mass Market Gemstone – also a December birthstone.

1. The supply of mined colorless Topaz is large apparently larger than its current demand in the Gemstone Industry. This feature makes Topaz cheap and easily available gemstone.

2. The cost of cutting and radiation is sufficiently greater than the cost of the colorless Topaz. It is believed that 90% of the cost of Blue Topaz is constituted because of the various radiation and cutting method used. Rest 10% is of the raw material.

3. Blue colored Topaz is an excellent substitute of Aquamarine which is very costly. So the person who wishes to buy Aquamarine but could not afford it can also buy this alternative blue colored gemstone.

Conclusion- 

S.No.

Basis

Sky Blue 

Swiss Blue

London Blue

1.

Color

Light Blue

Medium Blue

Dark Blue

2.

Method used to change the color

Expose to gamma rays

Expose to high energy electrons in a linear accelerator.

Expose to neutrons in a nuclear reactor.

3.

Radioactivity

No

Yes

Yes

4.

Time   consuming method used in changing the color

No

Yes, to decay radioactivity gemstones has to keep aside for several months.

Yes, to decay radioactivity gemstones has to keep aside for several months.

5.

Price /carat

0.5$-2$

1.5$+

2.5$+

6.

Consumer Markets

Europe

U.S.A, Asia and Europe.

Europe, U.S.A and Australia.

7.

Other Name

No name

Electric Topaz.

Inky and Steely Topaz.

Table showing the difference between Sky Blue, Swiss Blue and London Blue.

Topaz Gemstones Quality factors

GIA is very good at explaining Topaz quality factors, but they are so in every gemstone. Topaz has very simple 4 C’s. The Cut and Clarity are is almost the best in its own ways – as the topaz comes clean and inexpensive they are usually cut for good fire (well cut stones) so really the other C’s you have to worry about is:

Color – The color is one of the most important topaz quality factors as they come in many colors: White, Sky, Swiss, London, Mystic (100’s of colors), Orange/yellow topaz (Imperial) and many more coated colors.

Carat Weight – The carat weight is one of the 2nd most important quality factor in topaz. If you compare a 1 carat sky topaz with a 150 carat imperial yellow topaz – the price can vary hugely. Thus how many carats the stone is – is very important.

How to care for Topaz Ring?

How to Clean Blue topaz Ring

Copyrights Navneet Gems and Minerals – Simply save it on your phones to avoid any confusion and use it easily while actually doing it, this can be used for other gemstones such as “Quartz, Aquamarine, Ruby, Sapphire and anything that is harder or similar to Topaz (7 hardness)