Topaz is a silicate mineral made of aluminium and fluorine with the chemical formula of Al2SiO4(F,OH)2. It is one of the most popular coloured stones and is found in places like Brazil, Sri Lanka, Australia, etc. The stone derives its name from the Greek word Τοπάζιος (Topázios), referring to an island that was hard to find and possessed yellow stones—similar to topaz.
Have you ever wondered if topaz can go in the water? In this article, we are going to discuss just that. We will begin by looking at the properties of topaz. Then we will talk about its interaction with water, salt, sunlight, etc. Finally, we will learn how to take care of topaz.
Can Topaz Get Wet?
Yes, topaz can get wet. It has a value of 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is well above the value required for minerals to be safe underwater. However, like all stones, it should not be immersed for too long as water can damage its structure and appearance.
Mohs Hardness Scale is a measure of the relative resistance of a mineral to scratching. Besides that, it also indicates a stone’s relationship with water. Usually, a value over 5.0 means that the stone is safe to go in water.
Softer stones like selenite (value of 2.0 on the Mohs Scale) should never be put into water. But even harder stones should not be immersed for long. Water seeps into the crevices of the stone, expanding the cracks. These fissures can slowly damage the structure of the stone.
Water can also tarnish the appearance of the stone. It strips off the polish, making the surface look much duller.
Properties of Topaz
These are the properties of topaz:
- Colour: Topaz comes in a large range of colours but is mostly colourless in its natural state. Yellow, brown, and colourless variants are common, commanding less value. Reds and pinks are highly regarded, and they get their colour from trace amounts of chromium. Topaz with blue colour is the rarest and is quite expensive. Most topaz is treated (heat, irradiation, or coating) to alter the colour and make it more appealing.
- Composition & Structure: Topaz is a silicate mineral that occurs as orthorhombic crystals, often with striations running parallel to the long axis. In terms of diaphaneity, the stone ranges from translucent to transparent, and it has a vitreous lustre. Despite its hardness, the atomic bonding of topaz’s molecules along one of the axial planes is weak, and therefore it can break along such a plane when struck with force.
- Hardness: Topaz is quite popular for being the defining mineral of value “8” on the Mohs Hardness Scale. This makes it the hardest silicate mineral, and only a few other common minerals like diamond & corundum are harder than topaz. Because of its hardness, topaz is great for jewellery. However, the topaz has low tenacity; its hardness shouldn’t make us ignore its fragility—the stone can chip or cleave easily upon impact.
- Formation: The fluorine in topaz’s composition is a limiting factor in its composition. Most topaz crystals form in silicic igneous rocks. They usually crystallize in granitic pegmatites or vapour cavities in rhyolite lava flows. Topaz crystals grow during the late stages of magma cooling when degassing releases the fluorine needed for its formation. In the United States, Topaz is found mainly in Utah, where it is the state gemstone.
- Optical Properties: Topaz has a relatively low refractive index, so stones with large facets do not sparkle as much as stones cut from other minerals (having higher refractive indices). However, good quality colourless topaz sparkles more than similar quartz. In its typical brilliant cut, topaz can show a shiny table facet surrounded by crown facets or a ring of sparkling crown facets with a well-like table.
Besides its physical properties, topaz has several spiritual properties too. Historically, it was believed to protect people while travelling and to ward off the evil eye. The stone was also thought to increase body heat and used to cure a cold; the name itself may be derived from the Sanskrit word तपस् “tapas”, meaning heat or fire.
In our times, topaz is the birthstone of November, and it is said to soothe its wearer. It promotes compassion and communication, allowing people to connect. Check out this video by Spirit Magika to learn about blue topaz’s spiritual properties.
Can Topaz go in Sunlight?
No, topaz should not go in sunlight. Leaving crystals out in the sun is a common way of recharging them, but it is not safe for all crystals. Despite its hardness, topaz is not safe in sunlight. If you leave it out for extended periods, the stone will lose its colour.
You should always find out the properties of the stone before trying any method of recharging (immersing them in water or leaving them in sunlight, etc.). Topaz is quite a hard stone, which might make one assume that it is safe for all the popular recharging methods.
However, topaz is not safe in sunlight. When exposed to the sun for long, the colour of the stone can fade. This is especially true for imperial topaz—the beautiful stone with reddish orange colour—so it’s better to use other methods of rechargint topaz.
Can Topaz go in Salt Water?
No, topaz should not be put into salt water. Topaz has a value of 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, meaning that it is safe to go in water, but it should still not be immersed for long. When we bring salt into the mix, it makes the corrosive effect of water worse.
Salt, when dissolved in water, enters the crevices of the stone. The particles can stay there even after the water evaporates, widening the cracks of the stone. These fissures can expand over time and make the stone brittle. Salt water can also strip off the polish of the crystal, making it look duller.
Salt can also react adversely with the chemicals of the stone, especially those containing iron. Salt water hastens the rusting process by making the metal lose its ions more easily.
Can Topaz go in Moon Water?
Yes, topaz can go in moon water. With a value of 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, topaz is quite a hard mineral and it can be safely put into water. Recharging stones in moon water (water charged with energy of the moon) is a popular practise, it is perfectly safe for topaz.
In order to get moon water, you need to fill a bowl with water and leave it at a place getting direct moonlight. It’s best to leave the bowl overnight during a full moon; people advise against doing this during eclipses.
You can immerse the stone in this moon water for a while, and it will be recharged with the energies of the moon.
Can You Shower With a Blue Topaz?
Although topaz can survive underwater, it not recommended to wear it while showering or bathing. This is because, despite having a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, topaz has low tenacity. It breaks easily upon impact.
Due to the weak atomic bonding of its molecules, topaz has low tenacity. In other words, it is fragile and will break easily upon impact. When you are showering or bathing, the topaz jewellery piece will become more prone to impact.
It can slip onto the floor or rub against a wall. This can easily damage a fragile stone like topaz, causing it to cleave or chip. Hence, it is better to remove it while showering or bathing.
How do You Cleanse Topaz?
Follow these steps to clean topaz:
- Mix a soft detergent/soap with lukewarm water.
- Immerse topaz in water and clean it with a soft brush.
- Rinse the stone under running water, ensuring that you get rid of all the soap.
- Let it air dry. Twist the stone a few times to remove water from crevices.
You should not use ultrasonic or steam systems to clean topaz. The vibrations and heat can cause the stone to split as it has perfect cleavage.
Some jewellery pieces can put stress on the (weak) cleavage plane of topaz, so you should only buy from expert jewellery makers who can set the stone properly to avoid stress. Protective settings can also be used to make the gem more resistant.
As discussed earlier, despite its hardness, topaz has low tenacity. So avoid, wearing it during physical activities like exercising or swimming because impacts can cause the stone to break easily.
In this article, we have looked at the interaction of topaz with water. With a value of 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, topaz is quite a hard mineral, and it can safely go in the water. However, like all stones it should not be immersed for long. We talked about the properties of topaz, its interaction with various elements, and finally learned how to take care of the stone.