Advice for Topaz Engagement Ring

by Keith
(Dubai, UAE)

Hello, I was hoping to get some advice on getting a custom made topaz engagement ring. My girlfriend does not want the traditional diamond ring, she is really interested in her birthstone which I believe is yellow/orange topaz (November)?

I am based in the Middle East and have been speaking to a jeweller here who has showed me a couple of stones - yellow beryl and citrine. Both look very nice, but I have no idea how good a quality they are.

The design of the ring I am looking at contains an oval shaped yellow stone with a small 0.2 carat diamond on either side, the band is 18 carat white gold.

I have 2 questions - are the types of stones I mentioned good quality (or are they even topaz stones)? and also, what do you think of the proposed design?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Keith


Hi Keith,

The birthstone of November is topaz, and topaz is naturally found in light yellow colors. Most topaz though is permanently treated to bring out the rich bright to golden yellows, pinks and blues that are popularly used in topaz engagement rings.




To answer your first question regarding the stones, citrine and yellow beryl are not topaz. All three of these different types of gemstones have distinct properties and crystalline structures, and they have different values.

Yellow citrine is sometimes erroneously called "citrine topaz" or "yellow topaz" - but it is not topaz, and unfortunately these terms are in some cases purposely used to mislead shoppers.

Citrine is a beautiful gemstone in its own right, but it is a type of quartz and it is valued much lower than real topaz. Golden beryl is in the beryl mineral family which also includes aquamarine, emerald and morganite - but golden beryl too is valued much lower than real topaz.

To give you an idea of the differences in values between these gemstones, here is an average price for quality cut and eye clean gemstones of approximately one carat (this is just for the stones, not for a ring):

Citrine: $10.00
Golden Beryl: $15.00
Topaz: $60.00

These prices can increase if the gemstones are given a custom cut, or if they have a naturally deep golden or yellow color - but you can see how much more highly valued topaz is than citrine and golden beryl.

All three of these stones are hard enough to stand up to an engagement ring that is worn daily - but there are slight differences in their physical properties:

  • Topaz has a hardness rating of 8.0 and a refractive index of 1.607-1.627.

  • Golden Beryl has a hardness rating of 7.5 and a refractive index of 1.563 - 1.583.

  • Citrine has a hardness rating of 7.0 and a refractive index of 1.533 - 1.544.

What these values mean is that topaz is slightly harder, and has a slight edge when it comes to sparkle and fire, when compared to golden beryl and citrine.

Keep in mind though, that all three of these gemstones are usually found naturally in light washed out yellow tones. Deep golden and bright yellow citrine is more abundant than deep golden beryl or natural bright yellow/golden topaz.

The bright sunshine like yellow topaz is only achieved through treating natural topaz with heat and irradiation (safe and permanent treatments that will not affect the quality of the gemstone).

In regards to your second question - the design sounds absolutely lovely. Diamonds and topaz compliment one another very well - and topaz looks stunning with white gold, platinum or palladium. However, the diamonds will sparkle their best when combined with brightly colored topaz - washed out light yellow topaz can dim the overall effect of the diamonds.

The oval shape too is perfect for engagement rings - it is a durable shape that maximizes the integrity of the gemstones and it has no sharp edges or corners that can snag on hair or clothing.

Concerning quality:

You want to look for gemstones that have a uniform color with no blemishes on the surface of the gemstone. The gemstone should be absent of any inner inclusions as well - and it is a good idea to ask the jeweller if you can examine the stone yourself using the jeweller's loupe. With the loupe, you can really get a close look at the stone and thoroughly check the stone for any blemishes or inclusions.

Stones with a quality cut will maximize the brilliance and fire of the gemstone too - if you look at different examples of the same type of gemstones you may notice that some sparkle and shine a bit more than others, and this is most likely due to the quality of the cut.

I hope this answers all of your questions - but do write back again if you have any more, and take care with your purchase. At the very least you should receive a certificate of authenticity on the gemstone, and the inside of the ring should be stamped with an 18 carat hallmark stamp accompanied by the maker's mark.

Congratulations on your engagement, and I wish you and your fiancee all the best!

Suzanne Gardner
Everything Wedding Rings

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Re:
by: Anonymous

Suzanne,

Thank you so much for your very detailed response and clarification of the different gemstones, it is a big help. I have a couple of further questions if you don't mind:

Are there different types of yellow topaz stone available that a dealer may try to sell me or should I be simply insisting on 'yellow topaz stone' and look elsewhere if they don't have it? I really want to make sure I get the right type of stone.

Secondly, you mentioned in your response that a brightly coloured topaz stone tends to compliment the diamonds better than a washed out yellow coloured stone. Are you referring to a bright yellow colour here or a different colour altogether?

Thanks again

Keith

Hi Keith,

I'm glad the info I wrote was helpful to you! To answer your questions:

There is only one type of topaz - the color variation will depend on how the topaz has been treated or minerals the stone was exposed to as it formed.

When you purchase yellow topaz, you can choose from untreated natural yellow topaz (which often has a light washed out color or light root-beer color tones) or treated natural yellow topaz which has a bright canary yellow color.

Insist on topaz when you are shopping, and watch out for someone trying to sell you citrine or quartz.

The bright yellow topaz colors look stunning with diamonds, and that was the color I was referring to. The bright pink and blue topaz gemstones look fantastic with diamonds too - but yellow topaz is the birthstone for November.

Hope this helps and good luck with your search!

Suzanne Gardner

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