Along with citrine, yellow topaz is a birthstones for November, while blue is the birthstone for December. But the stone occurs in more than these two colors. It also occurs in red, peach, orange, gold, pink, yellow, clear (the color of pure topaz) and brown. Some pink is obtained by heat-treating brownish yellow stones from Brazil. Certain shades of blue are also made by irradiating. It is a very hard stone, and jewelry made from it is very durable and should be stored separately from other jewelry to avoid scratches. Topaz is found in many parts of the world, including Siberia, Russia, Sri Lanka, China, Africa, Pakistan, Mexico, South America and areas of The United States.
The jewelry for the Russian Czarinas in the 18th and 19th centuries continued red and pink. That is why the gem is sometimes called Imperial Topaz. The most famous stone is a colorless one that was originally thought to be a diamond. It is a stone set in the crown jewels of Portugal, and weighs 1680 carats.
There are two theories as to how it got its name. One theory says that the name came from the island of Topazos which is in the Red Sea. The Romans got a stone from this island that was not really topaz, but peridot or chrysolite. The other theory says that the stone got its name from the Sanskrit word tapas, which means fire.