Color: colorless, yellow, red-brown, light blue, red, pink, violet, light green
Moh's hardness: 8
The name topaz is most probably derived from a place of discovery, on an island in the Red Sea formerly known as Topazos, now Zebirget.
The Egyptians believed that the topaz was colored with the golden glow of the mighty sun god Ra. Romans associated the stone with their own sun god: Jupiter. This made the topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. According to legend, topaz also dispelled enchantment and helped to improve eyesight. It was said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink, and to cure insomnia, asthma and hemorrhages. The ancient Greeks even believed that the gem had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency.
Topaz appears in a wide variety of colors and shades. It may have a golden amber hue or a blushed peach color, and all the beautiful warm browns and oranges in between. Blue topaz is very popular in today's fine and fashion jewelry, while shades of pale pink to sherry red are more rare.
The most rare and valuable topaz has a pink to reddish orange color. Brown, yellow, orange, red and pink topaz are mainly found in Brazil, the most important supplier of topaz today. Pink topaz is also found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Russia. Blue topaz, which has a pale to medium blue color is mined in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. Other deposits are in Afghanistan, Australia, Burma (Myanmar), China, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, and the United States.