Tremendous Topaz Stones - Largest Faceted Gemstone in the World
Topaz is a beautiful gem type that is one of the most popular jewelry gemstones, especially blue topaz. It also occurs in various other colors and one of the amazing things about topaz is that its crystals can grow to enormous sizes. Deposits of topaz can be found all over the world, but some regions seem to produce larger crystals than others. Notably, the Minas Gerais area of Brazil has brought forth some of the largest and most incredible topaz specimens ever known.
Minas Gerais is the fourth-largest state in Brazil and the second-most populous. Its Portuguese name means "general mines", and this is extremely fitting, since mining has taken place here since the 1700s. However, Minas Gerais was not first known for topaz; it was gold which was mined back in the days of Portuguese colonialism. The local architecture, Barroco Mineiro reflects this period with its Baroque-style golden grandeur. Later, some diamonds were mined in Minas Gerais, and then colored gemstones, which continue to be mined there today, including emerald, aquamarine, tourmaline, chrysoberyl, amethyst, kunzite and topaz.
One of the superlative specimens from Minas Gerais is a giant gemstone that weighs over 20,000 carats and took a year for prizewinning lapidarist, Richard Homer to cut in 1987. The blue topaz gem is named the Adiël Topaz and is displayed in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Another stone that is among the largest faceted blue topaz gems weighs 9,381 carats and is exhibited in the Natural History Museum of London, England. The oval, deep blue topaz is called the Ostro Topaz after the family that owns it, the Ostros. Its British discoverer, Max Ostro, found the stone during his travels around 30 years ago and his son Maurice kindly loaned the Ostro Stone to the London museum on a permanent basis so that members of the public can marvel at it. A gemstone listed on eBay in 2007 was advertised as the world's largest blue topaz weighing 26,100 carats, but this has not yet been officially verified.
The Marbella Topaz is another one of the world's largest faceted blue topaz gems at 8,225 carats. It is also a blue, oval gemstone from Minas Gerais and belongs to the Spanish Programa Royal Collection. This is an extensive collection of various gemstones, including some of the largest topaz stones in the world. In the same collection is the "Lua de Maraba" Topaz; the second-largest faceted topaz in the world at 25,250 carats. It is a grayish stone with an octagonal cut.
An additional big blue topaz weighs 7,033 carats. It is the shape of an American football and is displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., USA. Another astounding offering from Minas Gerais is a pale blue topaz gemstone known as the Brazilian Princess Topaz. The flawless gem weighs 21,327 carats and was loaned to the Smithsonian Institution. Such blue topaz gemstones are gigantic, but even larger faceted topaz stones can be found in other colors, especially yellowish-brown. The Smithsonian proudly displays a golden topaz sphere of 12,555 carats. Yet, this pales in comparison with a stone in the same collection. One of the largest faceted gems in the world is called the American Golden Topaz; a yellowish-brown topaz which weighs in at 22,892.5 carats. Another marvel from Minas Gerais, the cushion-shaped American Golden Topaz took two years to finish its 172 facets.
Last, but certainly not least, is The "El-Dorado Topaz". When discovered in 1984, this yellowish-brown monster weighed around 36 kg. After being faceted into a perfect emerald cut and polished, the El-Dorado Topaz was reduced to 31,000 carats, which is equal to 6.2 kg. Although its weight was significantly reduced, the El-Dorado Topaz remains the largest faceted gemstone in the world. It is in the Spanish Programa Royal Collection in Madrid, Spain where it can be admired by visitors.
As can be imagined, all giant gemstones, including the ones mentioned above begin as even larger crystals, such as one huge topaz crystal found which weighed 271 kg. When gemstones are faceted, often times a great deal of the rough material is lost. However, this is a necessary sacrifice in order to produce symmetrical, super-sized gemstones that will be admired by all who see them. Unlike their smaller counterparts, enormous gemstones are not fashioned into jewelry, but these giants of Minas Gerais stand as artistic wonders of nature.
- First Published: October-03-2016
- Last Updated: August-23-2017
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