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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Topaz Gems

Photograph of a group of topaz gems from the National Gem Collection displaying a range of colors
Photo by Chip Clark. Click to zoom.
SpecimenCatalog NumberLocalityWeight
TopazNMNH G262-00Urals, Siberia, Russia155.5 ct
TopazNMNH G5004-00Urals, Siberia, Russia296.6 ct
TopazNMNH G4916-00Minas Gerais, Brazil77.08 ct
TopazNMNH G3625-00Texas, United States146.4 ct
TopazNMNH G2219-00Minas Gerais, Brazil54.4 ct
TopazNMNH G9246-00Zhitomir, Ukraine181.48 ct
TopazNMNH G3402-00Minas Gerais, Brazil18 ct
TopazNMNH G9564-00Urals, Siberia, Russia815 ct
TopazNMNH G3550-00Minas Gerais, Brazil129 ct
TopazNMNH G268-00Honshu, Japan50.8 ct
TopazNMNH G9140-00Minas Gerais, Brazil259.9 ct
TopazNMNH G3890-00Madagascar170.75 ct
TopazNMNH G2046-00Minas Gerais, Brazil34.1 ct
TopazNMNH G2174-00Minas Gerais, Brazil41.4 ct
TopazNMNH G2232-00Minas Gerais, Brazil34.1 ct

Until the 1950s, topaz was known almost exclusively as a yellow to golden gemstone. But since then, the routine radiation and heat treatment of pale-colored topaz to turn it shades of blue has changed the public’s perception of this gem. To most of the people today, topaz is recognized primarily as an affordable blue gemstone. The highly prized “imperial topaz” is an intense golden to reddish-orange color and is found primarily in Ouro Preto, Brazil. More commonly, topaz is colorless to pale blue or yellow. Pink or red stones are rare, although pink stones can be produced by heating the golden brown topaz from Ouro Preto. The topaz gems pictured here exhibit the range of colors and are from Russia, Texas, Japan, Madagascar, and Brazil, weighing 18 to 816 carats.The National Gem Collection has a beautiful display of topaz gems and crystals on exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History.


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