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Topaz

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 deep blue has changed the public's perception of this gem. To most people today, topaz is recognized primarily as an affordable blue gemstone. The highly prized imperial topaz is intense golden to reddish orange in color. 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, Brazil. This football-shaped blue topaz gem from Minas Gerais, Brazil, weighs 7,033 carats. Like most blue topaz, its color is the result of irradiation and heat treatment; originally this topaz was probably colorless or very pale yellow-brown.

Image Number: 96-30159
Catalog Number: G8990
Weight: 7,033 carats
Gift of EDUSCO Investments Co. , 1981
Locality: Minas Gerais , Brazil

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits