by John Brana September 05, 2009 2 Comments
It can be as blue as the sky, a slightly greenish blue, or a highly saturated "electric" blue. Whatever its shade, Blue Topaz has a place in beautiful jewelry and intriguing legends.
Like most topazes, which are quartz crystals, Blue Topaz starts out as a nearly clear or lightly shade crystal. The gem is then irradiated to bring out its blue color and heated to make the change permanent. The color depends on which type of radiation is used.
Bombarding topazes with neutrons in a nuclear accelerator changes the color to the deep green-blue or gray-blue known as London Blue Topaz. Irradiating topazes with electrons in a linear accelerator will produce Sky Blue Topaz. To create the highly saturated colors known as Swiss Blue or Electric Blue, topazes are bathed with a combination of both types of radiation. The gems must "rest" for at least a year if treated with neutrons before their radiation levels cool enough to allow them to be worn by people.
Most blue topaz has a modest value, so there's little incentive for gemologists to create synthetic versions of the gem. Instead, they use various vapor or diffusion coatings (mainly titanium) to create the "mystic" Blue Topaz, a version that sparkles with red, sea green and teal colors. Unfortunately, this treatment isn't permanent, and the coating is extremely fragile, so the stones must be handled very gently.
Despite its unusual production methods, Blue Topaz serves as a wonderful gemstone because it has a high refractive index and polishes up beautifully. With a score of 8 on Moh's Scale of gemstone hardness, Blue Topaz finds its way into many attractive pieces of jewelry.
In mystical and New Age healing beliefs, Blue Topaz carries the same healing properties as all forms of topaz: regulates heart action, promotes glandular health, stops bleeding and reduces fever and inflammations such as arthritis. However, the color of Blue Topaz has gained repute as a stone particularly help for meditation, discernment and forgiveness. Its calm blue quality is said to help its wearers release their anger, especially from old hurts, fostering forgiveness and reconciliation that leads to a calmer, fuller life.
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