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.
With a hardness of 8 (out of 10) on the Mohs scale, topaz is softer than diamond, sapphire, and ruby, and harder than quartz.
Although it is not one of the softest gemstones, topaz can be broken if hit hard. This is why it should be mounted in a protective setting. For example, a bezel setting would be a good choice for a topaz gemstone.
Topaz should not be exposed to high temperature, as the stone might get damaged and break. Sudden temperature changes, from hot to cold or vice versa, are also to be avoided for the same reason.
Although the color of topaz does not fade easily, exposing the stone for an extended period to high heat or direct sunlight may alter the gem’s hue over time.
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.Black Friday Deal: Click here to get up to 50% OFF engagement ring settings from James Allen.
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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.
How to Clean a Topaz Ring
Rings with topaz gems can be cleaned with water and soap:
- First, add some soap to a bowl of warm (not hot) water.
- Put the ring in the bowl and let it soak for 20-30 minutes.
- Take the ring out and clean the gemstone by gently rubbing it with a soft cloth or by scrubbing it with a soft toothbrush.
- Clean the ring by scrubbing it gently with the toothbrush. Be especially thorough when cleaning the gemstone setting, as a lot of dirt accumulates in the crevices there. Bezel settings are especially tricky. If your setting has prongs, be careful not to bend them accidentally.
- Dip the topaz ring in clean water and then rinse the ring thoroughly to remove any remaining soap.
- Dry the ring and the gemstone(s) with a soft cloth, and leave the ring to air dry completely before storing it or wearing it again.
Important: Never clean a topaz ring in an ultrasonic cleaner! Also avoid steam cleaning! These cleaning methods may damage topaz.
Reminder: Some colored variations of topaz are actually white topaz covered with a coating. Such stones should be cleaned with care because hard rubbing or scrubbing could wear away the colored layer.
Note: If you would like to use commercial cleaner on the metal parts of your ring, first make sure that the cleaning liquid is not going to damage your topaz. In general, keep topaz away from harsh chemicals.
Storing a Topaz Ring
Do not store topaz together with other gemstones, as it could scratch softer gems or get scratched by harder stones.
Ideally, wrap your topaz ring in a soft cloth or put it in an individual bag.
Make sure your topaz ring is dry before putting it away.
Be Careful When Wearing a Topaz Ring
Do not wear your topaz ring while doing housework, especially when cleaning. Exposure to chemicals (e.g., chlorine) contained in many cleaning products may damage topaz.
Do not wear topaz in the shower, in the tub, or in swimming pools. Not only can chlorine and other chemicals in the water affect this gemstone’s color, but shampoo and other bath products can accumulate in your ring.
Put on your topaz ring after you’ve already applied makeup, hair products, and perfume, as they can accumulate on the surface of your gemstones and make them dirty faster.