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Though the first thing that may come to mind when you think of topaz is an affordable blue bauble, there’s so much more behind this underrated gemstone. Above all else, topaz is versatile. In fact, it's quickly becoming a popular alternative to the traditional diamond engagement ring among modern brides-to-be.
What Is Topaz?
Topaz is a gemstone that appears in a wide range of colors including green, yellow, orange, and, most commonly, blue. Its color is caused by impurities or defects in its crystal structure rather than its chemical composition, according to the Gemology Institute of America.
The History of Topaz Gemstones
It’s challenging to note precisely when topaz was discovered as it was often mistaken for other gemstones in part due to its expansive color range (more on that ahead). The name itself comes from Topazios, the old Greek moniker for an island in the Red Sea. The island never produced topaz but it did produce peridot, which was confused with topaz. “For us, topaz engagement rings have been a fun alternative to the standard diamond solitaire,” jewelry designer Suzanne Kalan tells Brides. “Topaz is a symbol of love and affection hence a popular gem for an engagement ring.”
Meet the Expert
Suzanne Kalan is a California-based fine jewelry designer with over 28 years of experience in the industry. She works with custom-cut colorful gemstones and diamonds to create her signature collection of covetable jewelry that’s been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, and Lady Gaga.
What to Look for in a Topaz Ring
As previously mentioned, topaz offers a large color range, including glistening tones of green, yellow, blue, orange, red, purple, and pink as well as colorless topaz (known as ‘white topaz’). Among the more popular topaz color options is London Blue and Imperial Topaz. The two represent opposing sides of topaz. The former (London Blue) is treated topaz, which involves “a long process to create the beautiful blue color,” Kalan explains. Imperial, on the other hand, is the rarest form of topaz. It originated in 19th-century Russia and boasts a fiery golden yellow and pinkish-orange hue. All of these color variations impact the price of topaz and offer varying aesthetics.
Beyond color, “topaz can be cut in so many different shapes and sizes,” Kalan says. “The stone usually comes either elongated or columnar and is often cut as long oval or pear shapes to improve yield.” Because of this, there are a few key settings to consider. “Protective ring settings like a bezel should keep the stone safe from knocks and a skilled jeweler can position prongs so they don’t place stress on the cleavage plane,” Kalan explains. “Stones with less elongated shapes often appear in halo settings.”
There are pros and cons to a topaz engagement ring. On the downside, “topaz’s are fragile stones and can scratch easily,” Kalan notes. As well, if your topaz has been heat or color-treated, it “can fade in color in high heat or if it comes in contact with chemicals.” However, there are also several benefits to a topaz gemstone. For starters, it’s more affordable. “Not everyone wants or can afford a large diamond. A topaz helps create the larger look for a fraction of the price,” Kalan says. She also adds that topaz can take a high polish, which is ideal for a sparkling ring stone.
How to Care for Your Topaz Ring
Kalan suggests cleaning your topaz with warm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush. "Keep your topaz away from any chemicals like lotions, hair products, or household cleaning supplies,” she says. "Additionally, you shouldn’t shower or go into any warm bodies of water with treated topaz stones.”
And now, scroll through the beautiful topaz engagement rings below.
Suzanne Kalan Yellow Gold Bella Ring
Two blues are better than one, as is proven in this stunning Swiss Blue and English Blue topaz ring featuring a band of white diamonds.
SHOP NOW: Suzanne Kalan, $770
Jennie Kwon Topaz Long Spear Ring
The Imperial Topaz center stone on this unique engagement ring is set between two small diamonds and a 14k yellow gold band.
SHOP NOW: Jennie Kwon, $815
Suzanne Kalan Rose Gold Poppy Ring
If you're looking for a unique wedding band consider this 14k rose gold ring featuring topaz and diamonds.
SHOP NOW: Suzanne Kalan, $418
1stdibs Blue Topaz and Diamond Ring
Two oval diamonds and a saturated blue topaz give this platinum ring an air of old-world romance.
SHOP NOW: 1stdibs, $2,350
1stdibs Handmade Platinum Diamond and Yellow Topaz Ring
This striking yellow topaz ring, created in the 1950s, dazzles with a halo of small diamonds.
SHOP NOW: 1stdibs, $2,250
Mociun Lotus Garnet Luna Ring
A one-of-a-kind asymmetrical ring featuring lotus garnet, white and champagne diamonds, and precious topaz.
SHOP NOW: Mociun, $3,000
Yi Collection Topaz and Peridot Chain Ring
If you’re looking for a sweet, simple engagement ring consider this chain version featuring blue topaz and green peridot gemstones.
SHOP NOW: Yi Collection, $540
Katey Walker Tiny Heart Gold and Topaz Ring
This heart-shaped topaz ring is a charming option for the understated bride-to-be.
SHOP NOW: Moda Operandi, $695
Jamie Wolf Yellow Gold Blossom Ring with White Topaz
The ornate blossom setting on this white topaz ring adds a delicate finish.
SHOP NOW: Jamie Wolf, $1,400
Jacquie Aiche Trillion Blue Topaz Baguette Diamond Lash Ring
A striking option for the bohemian-inspired bride.
SHOP NOW: Jacquie Aiche, $4,000
Mateo Point of Focus Diamond Topaz and Gold Ring
The lines on this diamond and emerald-cut blue topaz ring feel artistically inspired.
SHOP NOW: Matches Fashion, $985
Natalie Marie Pear Trio Ring
The beauty of topaz is that it plays nicely with other gemstones, like morganite as seen on this delicate three-stone engagement ring.
SHOP NOW: Natalie Marie Jewelry, $316
Alison Lou T Diamond Ring
The kind of ring that feels like an instant heirloom.
SHOP NOW: Alison Lou, $1,045
OC Jewelers Diamond and London Blue Topaz Engagement Ring
This London Blue topaz center stone feels regal and elegant as do the 56 round brilliant cut genuine diamonds that line the band.
SHOP NOW: OC Jewelers, $2,759
Loren Stewart Blue London Signet Ring
Leave tradition behind and go for a signet ring featuring a flash of blue topaz—it’s the epitome of unique.
SHOP NOW: Loren Stewart, $264