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Topaz as well as amethyst is a February gem, though amethyst is more known as this month birthstone. Topaz is colorless and transparent but is usually tinted by impurities; typical topaz is wine, yellow, pale gray or reddish-orange, and blue brown. It can also be made white, pale green, blue, gold, pink (rare), reddish-yellow or opaque to transparent/translucent.
Orange topaz, also known as precious topaz, is the symbol of friendship, and the state gemstone for the US State of Utah. Blue topaz is the Texas state gemstone. Naturally occurring blue topaz is quite rare. Typically, colorless, gray or pale yellow and blue material is heat treated and irradiated to produce a more desired darker blue. Mystic topaz is colorless topaz that has been artificially coated giving it the desired rainbow effect.
Imperial topaz is yellow, pink (rare, if natural) or pink-orange. Brazilian imperial topaz can often have a bright yellow to deep golden brown hue, sometimes even violet. Many brown or pale topazes are treated to make them bright yellow, gold, pink or violet colored. Some imperial topaz stones can fade on exposure to sunlight for an extended period of time.
Topaz can be found at Topaz Mountain in western Utah, and in various areas including Ural and Ilmen mountains of Russia, in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Pakistan, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Flinders Island and the United States. Some clear topaz crystals from Brazil can reach boulder size and weigh hundreds of pounds. Crystals of this size may be seen in museum collections. The Topaz of Aurungzebe, observed by Jean Baptiste Tavernier measured 157.75 carats. Colorless and light-blue varieties of topaz are found in Mason County, Texas within the Llano Uplift.
During the Middle Ages topaz was thought to heal both physical and mental disorders and prevent death. The ancient Greeks believed topaz bestowed strength to its wearer. It was worn as an amulet to ward off enchantment, dispel sadness and strengthen intellect. The Romans believed it had power to improve eyesight. The Egyptians wore it as an amulet to protect them from injury; topaz was believed to assure beauty, fidelity and long life. Red and pink topaz gems were commonly used in the jewelry of the 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarinas and is why topaz is sometimes called "Imperial Topaz".