December's Birthstone: The Blue Topaz
Blue Topaz is the birthstone of December (blue topaz), it is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and the suggested anniversary gemstone for the 4th, 19th or 23rd year of marriage.
The name topaz comes from the Sanskrit and means fire.
Topaz occurs in a wide range of colors including red, orange, peach, pink, gold, yellow, brown and clear and is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Russia. Naturally pale to medium blue topaz is enhanced by irradiation to produce a more intense blue color.
Red and pink topaz gems were used in the jewelry of the 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarinas and is why topaz is sometimes called "Imperial Topaz".
The most famous topaz is actually a colorless topaz that was originally thought to be a diamond. It is a 1680 carat stone known as the "Braganza Diamond" set in the Portuguese Crown Jewels. Another beautiful topaz is in the Green Vault in Dresden which has one of the world's most important gem collections.
Although topaz is a very hard gemstone, it can be split with a single blow and should be protected from hard knocks.