It's time to shine our spotlight on Topaz, November's official birthstone. Did you know that two of the most famous gemstones in the world are high-profile members of the topaz family?
The El-Dorado Topaz, which weighs a whopping 31,000 carats (13.67 lbs.) currently holds the crown as the largest faceted gemstone in the world. Originally discovered in 1984 in mineral-rich Minas Gerais, Brazil, the pre-cut El-Dorado crystal tipped the scales at a mind-boggling 81.57 lbs.
The extraordinary loss of more than 80 percent of its weight during processing was attributed to the subpar material that had to be removed in order to yield a finished product with a perfect emerald cut, good clarity and yellowish-brown color.
The El-Dorado Topaz is part of the Special Exhibitions Gem Collection of the Programa Royal Collections Group, based in Madrid, Spain.
The American Golden Topaz, which is housed in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is the world's third-largest faceted gemstone at 22,892.5 carats – that's a pinch more than 10 lbs. Cut by Leon Agee over a period of two years from a 26 lb. stream-rounded cobble, the final product has 172 facets and a brilliant honey-gold color. Like its larger cousin, El-Dorado, this gemstone was discovered in Minas Gerais.
Photo by ZakVTA
The El-Dorado and American Golden topazes are super-sized examples of the popular family of gemstones that can be seen in a wide array of warm colors, including brownish-yellow, orange-yellow and reddish brown.
In addition to Brazil, topaz is mined in Mexico, Sri Lanka, Africa and China. Topaz is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and is the suggested gift for the 19th, 23rd or 50th anniversary.