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Topaz word is derived from the Sanskrit word "tapas", meaning fire. The topaz has been known for at least 2000 years and is one of the gemstones which form the foundations of the twelve gates to the Holy City of the New Jerusalem. These so-called apocalyptic stones are intended to serve in protection against enemies and as a symbol of beauty and splendour. It cannot be proved conclusively whether the name of the topaz comes from the Sanskrit or the Greek, though the Greek name 'topazos' means 'green gemstone'. The Romans dedicated the topaz to Jupiter. Topaz occurs in different colors, golden - yellow topaz and pink topaz are the most valuable. Blue and green topaz are also popular. Pink topaz are very rare. The most commonly found colour of Topaz is yellow, and that is the colour in which it occurs in one of the major German gemstone rocks, the Schneckenstein (a topaz-bearing rocksaid to resemble a snail) in Saxony.

In the 18th century, it was mined there during a period of over 60 years. However, most of the crystals were hardly a centimetre in diameter. You had to go to Siberia or Brazil to find crystals as large as your fisTopaz has one perfect cleavage. Topaz occurs in igneous rocks. Most topaz occurs in Brazil, USA, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Burma. In the 17th century, the Braganza diamond (1640 carats) in the Portuguese crown was thought to be the largest diamond ever found. It was never confirmed and it is now believed to have been a colourless topaz.

Myths on Topaz >>

A richer variety of topaz called Imperial topaz

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