"Imperial" topaz refers
to topaz with a yellow-orange, orange,
or "sherry" (reddish orange)
color. Topaz has been known since
the times of ancient Egypt and Rome.
In 1883, it was discovered that heating
amethyst would alter it to a beautiful
yellow citrine, and these citrines
were called "golden topaz," despite
the fact that they were not actually
topaz. Large quantities of this material
were sold under that misnomer, causing
confusion in the market for a period
of time. To differentiate genuine
topaz from heat-treated citrine,
the name "Imperial" was
applied, in honor of Emperor Don
Pedro of Brazil.
A strongly reddish orange is the
preferred color for Imperial topaz.
Meanwhile, yellowish material is
considered inferior, and some people
so not call this "Imperial." Material
with a color that is more red than
orange, resembling sherry wine, is
very uncommon and not often encountered.
Therefore, beautiful stones of this
color are extremely expensive.
is gemstone that occurs as large
crystals. Since many Imperial topaz
crystals are quite long, the finished
gems also tend to be somewhat long.
Imperial topaz prices are about ten
times that of citrine, so cutters
will attempt to minimize weight loss
as much as possible. As a result,
each one will have a nonstandard
shape, and jewelry tends to be handmade
instead of mass-produced. This is
a time-consuming process, but it
can also be considered part of the
mystique of such high-priced treasures.
Upon comparison, the difference between
citrine and Imperial topaz becomes
obvious. Especially when viewed under
incandescent light, the orange color
of an Imperial topaz will take on
a pinkish hue. Material with very
low tone levels such as 1 or 2, or
with a beauty grade of B, will not
appear much different from citrine.
Yet in jewelry quality or better,
and especially in gem quality, the
beauty of Imperial topaz is truly
an incomparable gift from nature.
The color of Imperial topaz is natural,
not heated or otherwise treated.