Information on Gems
Topaz crystals have been held in high regard as gemstones from classical times, though they went under the name of 'chrysoprasios', the golden stone, and not 'topazios'. At that time the stone we call topaz was probably lumped together with other yellow gems, such as yellow sapphire, beryl and chrysoberyl. The wholly improper trade practice of applying the name 'topaz' to the much cheaper citrine quartz is now, fortunately, less prevalent than it used to be.
Most people know topaz as a yellow gemstone, and in jewelry it is seen most commonly in a range of tints from pale yellow to rich brown. The most desirable shade is a medium brown with a tint of red, a subtle color not found in any other gemstone. Pink topazes are also much admired, the more so the deeper their color. They are very rare in nature; practically all are produced by a carefully controlled heat treatment of brown stones. A topaz color seen in jewelry as blue is enhanced to become blue, because few blue topazes have a sufficiently deep color. Most are paler than aquamarines and like these can have a greenish tint. Most common and also less valuable is completely pure, colorless topaz.
Colored topazes have been very popular from the sixteenth century onward, and have often been worn in exquisite settings as necklaces, earrings, brooches or entire suites. Being hard, they take an excellent polish and display a fair lustre. Their depth of color varies from stone to stone, so that it is no simple matter to match a number of stones exactly.
For this reason, and also to deepen and brighten their color, both pink and brown topazes were often backed with metal foil of an appropriate shade which largely compensates these inequalities. Such foiling, also used with other pale transparent stones, has to be contained in a closed setting (one that covers the entire back of the stone). An open setting, which leaves the pavilion largely uncovered, usually indicates that the stones have been more carefully matched for color. This in turn implies that a wide selection of stones was available which was not the case until the nineteenth century. Foiling old jewelry therefore carries no pejorative implications, even when the original foiling has faded and lost some of it's virtue. It is often not practicable to refoil and reset the stones without damaging them, quite apart from the adverse effect on the historical value of the jewelry.
Topaz is not synthesized commercially, the usual substitute being citrine. Some synthetic spinel and, of course, paste, has been marketed imitating both pink and sherry-colored topaz.
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Care of pearls
Some Tips and Information
If you are a proud owner of nature's wonder - pearls - then you might be on the look out for tips on pearl care. Look no further, for you have come to the right place.
A gemstone or gem (also called a precious or semi-precious stone, or jewel) is a piece of attractive mineral, which - when cut and polished - is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However certain rocks, (such as lapis-lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone. Apart from jewelry, from earliest antiquity until the 19th century engraved gems and hardstone carvings such as cups were major luxury art forms; the carvings of Carl Fabergé were the last significant works in this tradition.
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Information on Gems
Amethyst is a transparent, coarse-grained, purple variety of quartz and has long been the most important quartz variety used in jewelry. Amethyst is the most precious quartz mineral and comes in a few distinct colors.
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Jewelry, Gems & Minerals
Stories from A-Z
Jewelry, Minerals and Gems
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