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Sell With a Story: Imperial Topaz

Discover what makes Imperial Topaz such a coveted stone

Topaz crystals are impressive. Some of the largest specimens can weigh hundreds of pounds. The largest faceted stone in the world just happens to be a Topaz: The El-Dorado Topaz weighs in at 31,000 carats (13.6 pounds) and is currently housed in Spain.

Imperial topaz represents less than ½ of one percent of all top-grade topaz. Why, you ask? Because of the red or pinkish orange color found within. Imperial Topaz can be identified by the red cast all over the stone yielding the pinkish orange color or in a dynamic way at just the tips where you have an ombre blend of golden yellow to fiery red. For a particularly fine specimen, the golden color is in the center of the stone and blends to red at the tips. To see one is to understand the intensity and rarity of a stone. Yellow or Golden Topaz as well as Precious Topaz and Pink Topaz are beautiful in their own right but lack the telltale vibrancy of red, which makes them less valuable.

Imperial Topaz is frequently compared to the colors of a setting sun. Imperial Topaz, an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, is a good option for everyday wear. The color range that you get from Imperial Topaz lends itself to unique and personalized pieces of jewelry. The more red or vibrant pink they are, the more valuable and rarer they are. Adding to the popularity, the mostly eye-clean crystals can be found in almost every shape known, as well as unusual and fantasy cuts. Having large crystals leaves room for the imagination of what could be cut. And within the stone industry, there is no lack of imagination! A famous Imperial Topaz cut by Kreis in Germany and aptly named The Imperial Flame looks a bit like an elegant bottle of the highest quality champagne.

Value in such a fascinating stone is not only relative to its color, size, and rarity. In the case of Topaz, it’s also relative to its cutter. You read that right, its cutter. Topaz is not easy to cut — just the opposite. It can be a real challenge. Having a lapidary that can wrangle the rough material into a gorgeous, marketable gemstone is an art that few around the world have mastered. Having a reputable source for your stones can mean the difference in a stone that will last a lifetime and a stone that will chip and break easily.

Most Imperial Topaz available today comes from Minas Gerais, Brazil. This has been the source for the last two centuries. Prior to our sources today, the Ural Mountains in Russia produced some of the highest quality and most saturated specimens. Ownership of the highest quality material was limited to Royals.

Known to attract wealth and money and to bring good fortune to those in possession, Imperial Topaz is one of the most popular stones around the world. During the Renaissance, people felt that Imperial Topaz could dispel anger. With such vibrant and bold colors capturing attention and becoming the topic of conversation, I would not doubt it!

Happy Selling. Sam

Shop Imperial Topaz within the Stuller Notable Gems collection.

Or, if you’re looking for something more unique, our Special Order Gemstones team can help you find anything you need.


Sam Larson

Former Director of Gemstones