Like every other gemstone, topaz has a history of rich mythology and lore. Many people know that diamonds are often associated with eternal love, but few realize how mystical topaz is as well.
Topaz is the November birthstone and the symbolic meaning behind Topaz represents strength, endurance, protection, integrity, and balance in relationships. The metaphysical properties of this beautiful gemstone have been revered for centuries by many cultures from around the globe.
In recent years topaz’s popularity has risen once again due to its amazing optical phenomenon called color-change which makes it very appealing to both men and women alike. You will be astounded when you learn exactly how much history surrounds this wonderful crystal!
Topaz in Ancient Times
In ancient times it was considered a symbol of love and affection and was thought to ward off sudden death. Egyptian High Priests would often carve topaz into scarabs for use in rituals while Kings of Persia wore it around their necks to shield themselves from demons.
Topaz was a stone worshiped by the Aztecs and Mayans who believed that it came from thunderbolts hurled down by their respective gods, Huitzilopochtli (god of the sun) and Huracan (god of storms).
One of the earliest known records where topaz is mentioned dates back to 1200BC when Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut dispatched an expedition to the mysterious Land of Punt in search of precious jewels including topaz, carnelian, and emeralds. This was just one of many ancient Egyptian expeditions that were undertaken in search of rare gemstones to adorn their Pharaohs and leaders.
Where is Topaz Found?
Topaz is found in many locations throughout the world, but perhaps the most popular places to find topaz are Brazil and Sri Lanka. Topaz can also be found in Madagascar, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan, China, the United States (Arizona), Namibia, Nigeria, and Australia.
However, not all topaz comes from a gemstone quality. The majority of the topaz mined today is used as a glass imitation which is usually colorless or pale yellow called “Imperial Topaz”. This type of topaz has been used over the years for carvings and other types of jewelry including intaglios and cameos.
The term Imperial Topaz should not be confused with natural red to pink colored precious topaz. There are many red to pink imperial topaz stones found throughout the world but they are not considered rare. Imperial topaz is often used in the making of various types of jewelry.
Many people mistake common blue topaz for “Imperial Topaz” because there are so many pieces that have been treated with irradiation to turn the color blue. Blue topaz is very abundant and inexpensive, but has little value other than as a piece of jewelry or tumbled stone.
Natural color-change topaz was first discovered in Brazil in 1963 which was quickly followed by another discovery in Pakistan within months of each other. Since then, additional locations throughout the world have produced color-change examples including Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and the United States.
The color-change effect in topaz happens when a stone is exposed to certain levels of radiation from nearby radioactive materials such as uranium. The color change can be quite vivid reaching shades of blue, green, pink or violet depending on the type of exposure it receives, but over time the color will fade back to its original colorless state.
Topaz is known for many metaphysical properties that have been revered since antiquity! In fact, it’s been used for centuries by practitioners from different spiritual traditions around the world. Some cultures believe that wearing topaz can bring rain during periods of drought, promote fidelity between lovers and ward off evil spirits. Many people also believe that topaz brings tranquility and happiness as well as strengthening the mind and body.
Topaz is also cherished for its ability to promote inspiration, creativity, and self-expression while helping one to connect with their intuition and inner knowing. Since topaz has a strong connection to the first (base) chakra, this crystal is thought to enhance our overall vitality. Topaz is also said to be good for working through mental blockages, increases intelligence, improves decision-making abilities, helps one have the courage yet remain calm in times of stress or danger. In addition, topaz can help those suffering from depression by bringing that “sunshine” back into one’s being so they feel more optimistic!