Available in a rainbow spectrum of hues from blazing red to rich violet, topaz has rightly become a highly desirable stone. Its strength, brilliance and relative affordability make it an ideal gem to incorporate into any wardrobe.
To keep this sparkling stone looking its best, remember the three Cs you should pay attention to: Color, Cleavage and Cleaning.
Topaz Color: How to Keep It Strong
Vivid color is the topaz’s claim to fame, but most stones do not come out of the earth in the many shades on display at the jeweler’s counter.
Pure topaz is in fact colorless and sometimes mistaken for diamond.
Coloration occurs when mineral impurities are added or the stone undergoes irradiation.
London and Swiss blues are by far the most popular colors of topaz, but they are very seldom found in nature. These hues are achieved through heat treatment of the stone.
Why is all this important to know? Because exposing your topaz jewelry to extreme temperatures can alter its coloration.
Topaz, whether treated or not, naturally fades over time, so it is best stored in moderate temperatures and out of the light as light exposure also dulls color.
If possible, find out where your stone came from. Topaz mined from areas in Russia and other parts of Asia is notorious for fading quickly and requires extra protection.
Topaz and Cleavage: Preventing Your Stone from Chipping
Though topaz is quite a hard stone, its structure makes it susceptible to breakage due to sudden changes in temperature and hard contact.
Topaz has what is called perfect basal cleavage. This means that weaker planes in its crystal structure will crack if the stone is hit from the right direction.
When wearing topaz jewelry, rings and bracelets especially, take care not to knock it against anything. It is best not to wear these pieces on your dominant hand to avoid as much contact with the gem as possible.
The same concept applies to storage. Keep your topaz away from other stones as they are likely to scratch or be scratched.
Dark velvet jewelry pouches are ideal for protection as they keep light and dust out and prevent physical damage. For example, take a look at these jewelry pouches — they are a good choice if you want to protect your topaz pieces and other jewelry items.
Cleaning Topaz: Do It the Right Way
Chemicals are topaz’s worst enemy. Even weak acids found in cosmetics and hair products can harm the jewel’s color, shine and surface.
Always put your topaz jewelry on last after you have styled your hair and applied your makeup, and take it off first before undressing or washing. Never apply lotion or use hand sanitizer while wearing topaz.
When it comes time to clean your topaz, do not use any special jewelry cleaners as they contain chemicals and acids often too harsh for this stone. Merely soak it in a solution of slightly warm water and mild dish soap for 10 to 15 minutes instead.
Rub any remaining dirt off with a soft cloth, then rinse it in warm water and pat the piece dry.
Most grime collects underneath the stone in the space where light is meant to shine through, so be sure to clean the underside of your jewelry as well as the front. If the area is too small to reach with a cloth, a soft toothbrush can be used as well.
Storing your topaz out of the light and away from other stones will keep it bright and glittering for years to come. A jewelry box is a good choice to store securely your topaz items and other pieces separately. Take a look at this jewelry box model, which has a lot of compartments and is quite popular.
All this jewelry needs is the occasional quick cleaning, and it will stay as vibrant and stunning as you are.