Birthstone: December

Hardness: 8

Blue topaz has become one of the most popular gemstones on the market today, due to its clarity, durability, availability and affordable cost. Yet it is a shade of topaz rarely found in nature.

Topaz is one of the well-known pegmatite minerals that also includes beryl and tourmaline. Blue topaz has a definite, uniform color ranging from sky blue to Swiss blue. It is sometimes confused with the more costly aquamarine – whereas aquamarine sometimes has a greenish-blue or bluish-green tint, blue topaz will always look blue or bluish gray.

Most blue topaz starts life as a colorless or slightly tinted topaz from places like Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and China. It is then irradiated (to incite the color change) and heated (to stabilize the change). The result is a permanent aqua shade.

In addition to blue, the stone comes in a variety of colors, including golden yellow, orange-yellow, reddish-orange, sherry red, deep pink, honey brown, light green, and many shades in between.

According to legend, the stone can dispel enchantment and improve the eyesight. The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz is also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Throughout history, different cultures have believed that the stone could cure insomnia, asthma and hemorrhages; bring friendship; promote patience and a pleasant disposition, and ensure fidelity. To the ancients, it was also a symbol of love and affection and was even thought to ward off sudden death.

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