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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 to 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.
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,” says jewelry designer Suzanne Kalan. “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 colorful, custom-cut gemstones and diamonds, and her jewelry has been worn by celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, and Lady Gaga.
Think this gemstone might be for you? Find out what to look for when shopping for a topaz engagement ring.
Pros and Cons of Topaz Engagement Rings
Topaz is more affordable than a diamond. “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.
On the downside, "topazes are fragile stones and can scratch easily,” Kalan notes. And 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.”
What to Look for in a Topaz Ring
- What are the different shades of topaz? Topaz offers a wide color range, including glistening tones of green, yellow, blue, orange, red, purple, and pink as well as colorless topaz (known as "white topaz").
- What shape works best with a topaz gemstone? “The stone usually comes either elongated or columnar, and it is often cut as long oval or pear shapes to improve yield,” says Kalan.
- What setting works best with a topaz gemstone? “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.”
How to Care for Your Topaz Ring
Clean 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,” says Kalan. "Additionally, you shouldn’t shower or go into any warm bodies of water with treated topaz stones.”
When storing your topaz engagement ring, make sure not to place it next to any of your other jewelry. Even though topaz is a strong gemstone, it is also prone to scratches if knocked against another hard surface. Also, topaz—treated or untreated—starts to fade in color over time. To prevent premature fading, store your ring in moderate temperatures.
Now, scroll through the beautiful topaz engagement rings below.