Recently I had a client contact me looking for Imperial Topaz earrings. At first I was shocked- because very few people have even heard of imperial topaz even though it is the November birthstone. Once I had overcome the shock of the question my knee-jerk thought was no, we couldn’t have any imperial topaz pairs since they are so rare. Then I realized that we did indeed have some awesome pairs, most of which we have been hoarding since purchasing them from private collections over the last several years. Since I had to photograph them for the client anyway I figured we might as well share them on our blog too.
You may be wondering where the term ‘imperial topaz’ came from. Legend has it that the first Spanish and Portuguese settlers in South America received parcels of imperial topaz that they decided to send back to Europe. They were probably mixed in with tourmaline and emeralds, the likes of which had never been seen before even in the finest jewelry collections. At some point the Queen of Portugal fell in love with the rich sherry and peachy pink colored topaz she saw, and decided to wear them herself. From then on all of the finest topaz was reserved for royalty, hence the term ‘imperial.’
As you can see natural topaz comes in a variety of shades (we aren’t going to talk about the blues and greens here). When the color is yellow or golden orange we refer to them as ‘precious topaz’ and when the color is a peachy pink we refer to them as ‘imperial topaz.’ The closer the stone gets to a pure pink or red, the rarer it is, but any natural topaz is scarce in today’s market. These gems are only found in Brazil (although we have seen a few from Pakistan) and the production peaked in the 1970s. Since that time several mines have been exhausted so the supply of these gems is sporadic at best- frequently we are unable to find them even at the big gem buying shows like Tucson.
The below pairs range from 1.50cttw-4.02cttw and range from $380 to $1905. Several of these gems were cut from gems that were once larger. These gems are so rare that cutters will cut gems that have windows or are unattractive, simply to save the weight. We prefer brilliance even if we get smaller gems and I think the below photos are proof that this is a good call. Feel free to contact us if you want more information on topaz!