The American Association of Jewelers created in 1912 the official calendar of Birthstones and it probably decided to link to the cloudy and grey month of November, the wonderful variety of the colors of topaz, in order to give a little happiness to the ones born in this month. The origin of the name of this stone may derive from the Sanskrit tapas, meaning fire or heat or from the Greek topazios, a name used in ancient times for the Island of Zabargad in the Red Sea, the historical source of this gem.
Topaz is an allochromatic mineral, that means it doesn’t get its color from the elements of its crystal structure, but from traces of elements or lattice distortions in it. It may be in an impressive array of colors ranging from blue and green, to yellow, red, purple and brown, but it’s often treated to bring out the different shades of color. The most desirable color is still the reddish one, these topazes are so rare that they are popularly known by the name of Imperial Topazes.
Today, the land of the topaz is undoubtedly Brazil, where large clear crystals weighing up to two tons were found, but also in Mozambique and Nigeria very important examples of this stone were mined.
Probably the most famous topaz is a huge gem set into the Portuguese Crown, the Braganza, believed for a long time to be a diamond. This specimen was discovered in Minas Gerais in Brazil in the 18th century and was immediately sent to Portugal, which at the time ruled over the territories of Brazil, thus becoming part of the treasure of the royal family of Braganza, from which it took its name.