This golden-orange Imperial Topaz is a beauty. As lustrous and gemmy as you could ask for, it is BRIGHT and really glows on a shelf. In size, it comes in at a full 5 cm tall. It is nicely terminated, with just a very small amount of edge wear (expected, as they are collected for gem rough and not by or for specimen collectors). Three of the faces are nearly pristine, with only the back face showing a small cleavage at the base. The mass is 29 grams. A very fine Imperial Topaz from the famous mine of Ouro Preto, which is the world's best source for this varietal.
Emplaced aesthetically on bladed white albite matrix is an elongated glassy and gemmy, cognac-colored topaz crystal measuring 8.8 cm in length. The base of the crystal is "rehealed" (terminated!) and the termination exhibits very nice growth hillock patterns. The topaz crystal clearly shows a few internal cracks created during tectonic movement but did not break and is not repaired. Two, smaller, glassy and gemmy topaz crystals are also perched on the matrix. Overall, this is just a really attractive combo piece with a large and very colorful topaz, especially in the price range.
Karengerenge village, Solwezi District, North-Western Province, Zambia
Thumbnail, 2.8 x 1.3 x 1.0 cm
First-rate and rather splendid, this orange-amber (almost Imperial) Topaz from Karengerenge village in Zambia is one of the best I have seen from there. The color is bright and uniform, and the luster excellent. The complex termination adds interest, and the crystal, which is much better in person, is gemmy throughout. A top thumbnail for this location. These came out at the Munich show perhaps 6-7 years ago, and I bought this in a small lot at the time, of which Jim Houran had the first pick. We thought them highly unusual, and time has proved that assumption correct as no more came out after that year.
Yuno, Shigar Valley, Skardu District, Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas), Pakistan
Small Cabinet, 7.7 x 5.5 x 5 cm
A light sherry-colored, gemmy, transparent Topaz is the highlight of this excellent combination piece. The Topaz rises up beautifully from a matrix of large (up to 4.5 cm) books of Muscovite with sharp blades of crystalline Albite var. Cleavelandite. There is even a few crystals of blue-green Fluorite. The Topaz is 3.3 cm tall. It is pristine save for one tiny ding. In person, the Topaz leaps out at you as a 3-dimensional jewel, transparent and brilliant like glass. This is FAR better in person because it is so gemmy, with all the matrix and internal crazing showing through it. Most people consider this region to be the premier locality for colored Topaz crystals of this style. The superb luster of the Topaz, quality of the minerals, and three-dimensionality create great aesthetics for this small cabinet specimen.
Splendent, jet-black, .95 cm crystal of Bixbyite with gemmy Topaz, on a contrasting rhyolite matrix. The mirror-like Bixbyite has attractive, modified corners, and is associated with sherry-colored Topaz crystals. In fact, the Bixbyite is so lustrous you can easily see the Topaz reflected in it. This unusual pairing is one of the more desirable combinations from the Thomas Range. An outstanding and aesthetic small cabinet piece.
A truly distinguished cluster of light-cognac colored, gemmy, and lustrous Topaz crystals aesthetically set in Feldspar. Very 3-dimensional, there are seven gem-quality Topaz crystals overall. The two largest are 4.3 and 3.8 cm, respectively, and both are doubly-terminated! Some minor edge wear that is insignificant compared to the overall quality of the piece. A classic and beautiful example of the species and locality. This sparkles like a jewel in person and is really a cut above most, especially in the price range under $10,000.
Large, very attractive single crystal of Topaz, with associations. The Topaz is almost completely gemmy, with a luster that ranges from silky to superb (face dependent). The Topaz is 4.6 cm tall and has a mass of approx. 60 g. The crystal rests on euhedral Feldspar, and included in the Topaz is a 2 mm Spessartine. Overall, this is an aesthetic, and quite unusual, specimen.
Dassu, Shigar Valley, Skardu District, Baltistan, Northern Areas, Pakistan
Thumbnail, 2.5 x 2.4 x 2.0 cm
PICS DO NOT DO THIS JUSTICE...THIS HAS TO BE THE FINEST Pakistan TOPAZ THUMBNAIL I HAVE EVER SEEN, with utterly limpid 100% clarity and transparency, glassy lustre, and superb complex form. It is just mesmerizing, in person. I would even go so far as to say that gram per gram, this may be the finest topaz in outright quality I have handled....an award-winning piece!
Dassu, Shigar Valley, Skardu District, Baltistan, Northern Areas, Pakistan
Thumbnail, 3.6 x 3.1 x 2.2 cm
Another absolutely outstanding topaz, but with just normal color, not QUITE the intense hue above, and not QUITE the luster. Still, a very high caliber, indeed, and I do feel it quite worthy of any good thumbnail collection. However, one must decide if the one above is worth double the price for the extra 10% quality. For some, its not, and this is really VERY close behind. As it is not strictly a thumbnail, it is paradoxically also thus lower in price since it cannot be used in official competition by Tucson rules, in the thumbnail class.
Topaz Mountain, Thomas Range, Juab County, Utah, USA
Miniature, 4.6 x 4.4 x 1.6 cm
A complete floater with GEMMY, glassy luster and superb form! All tips are pristine, and it has a sparkle in person not conveyed in the pictures. The minute inclusions of metallic hematite throw off specks of light, and contrast, that are interesting and accent the sherry topaz color. An older specimen from this classic locale!
A contrasting rhyolite matrix is the host for an unusual combo specimen. Splendent, jet-black crystals of bixbyite to 1.5 cm across are associated with gemmy, sherry-colored topaz crystals to 1.2 cm in length. This is one of the more desirable combinations from the Thomas Range. Seldom do you see so much bixbyite on one specimen, though, and with topaz as an association to boot!
A somewhat more elegant but less massive specimen featuring, this time, an ilmenite perched ON the smokies instead of vice versa. This specimen ALSO HOSTS, in the middle zone of sparkling brown you see there, ferberite and a small 8 mm topaz as well as probably other species that are micros. It is extremely aesthetic, overall, for what it is...and the crystal is complete around the upper termination and sides around to the back face
Solarwind Claim, Thomas Range, Juab Co., Utah, USA
Thumbnail, 2.8 x 2.0 x 1.3 cm
A KILLER 11mm crystal, just beautifully perched on matrix. This is one of the finest thumbs I have seen of the material from here and is world class in quality for luster and composition. The minute edge bevels, I think indicative of twinning, add a bit of sexy geometry to it! An exceptional piece from miner John Holfert
This slender, elongated topaz crystal is REALLY UNUSUAL! It is a big piece, 6 inches across and the weight of about 4 pounds. However, it is also elegant in a way. The subtle etching atop makes it look like a frozen waterfall. It is completely transparent and more so in person than the pics indicate as they reflect on a few slight internal flaws or inclusions of iron oxide. In person, this is bright and glowing. It is actually complete ALL AROUND, even on the backside, except for a few small spots of damage which are really hard to discern amongst the subtle etching and growth patterns anyhow. This piece, I am told, was found prior to the 1970s and comes from an old collection in Brazil
Dassu, Haramosh Mountains, north of the Skardu Road, Gilgit Division, Pakistan
Miniature, 4.8 x 2.6 x 2.4 cm
A really unusual miniature topaz specimen with "pizzazz," in that it is not just your typical gemmy miniature but has the bizarre growth effect called a screw dislocation running through its center and popping up in the top, right in the middle, where the screw dislocation raises the surface point of that portion of the crystal above the rest. It is incredibly hard to photograph, given the clarity of the crystal overall but internal fractures that reflect light and make it look fuzzier than it is in person. But trust me, this is a GREAT example of the effect and it is more commonly known in BERYLS. A screw dislocation in TOPAZ is much, much more uncommon. The crystal is pretty good on its own merits (gemmy, lustrous, undamaged), and even without the interesting "defect" would be worth $750 anyhow.
A bizarre specimen! The piece consists of an original crystal of topaz that was replaced by danburite (as confirmed by XRD analysis at Cal Tech), followed by a SECOND deposition of topaz, that then over-coated the old topaz crystal now replaced by danburite. Thus the phantom within is actually not topaz any longer despite first glance thoughts. I should say this was mined pre-embargo and has long been in the noted Mogok suite of gem and mineral dealer Bill Larson, who more or less opened up this region for minerals in the last decades. Recently exchanged to me.
Solar Wind Claim, Thomas Range, Juab Co., Utah, USA
Thumbnail, 2.0 x 1.6 x 1.6 cm
This specimen features a very equant, lustrous, sharply formed bixbyite perched upon a natural pedestal of topaz and smaller bixbyites. This is a rather large bixbyite crystal, about as big as you can get and be perched upon something, matrix or association, and yet still be a competitive thumbnail size. Obtained from the collector, John Holfert, approx. 10 years ago
This is a rather large, glassy and gemmy, sherry-colored topaz from Tepetate. The whitish mass at the termination is a cluster of spheroidal hyalite opal, which fluoresces. Many such crystals were found prior to the 1980s, but now they are seldom seen on the market, even in small size. This one is a monster for the locale, among the largest that I know of, and would be considered a MAJOR Mexican topaz crystal. Comes with custom lucite base already made for the specimen. This specimen was on loaned exhibit in the University of Arizona Museum for over a decade until my purchase of this collection in 2008.
Solarwind Claim, Thomas Range (North), Thomas Range, Juab Co., Utah, USA
Thumbnail, 2.6 x 2.1 x 1.4 cm
This specimen is a large thumbnail, showcasing a VERY complexly beveled, sharply terminated, and lustrous bixbyite crystal. The crystal is so jet black and metallic, that photos fail to convey how good it really is in person. The bixbyite measures 1.6 x 1.3 x 1 cm, and is flanked by minor associated champagne-colored topaz crystals, on a bit of rhyolite matrix. Superb thumbnail, with a rather large crystal for the species.
The deposits around Ouro Preto have produced what are some of the most colorful and widely recognized Topaz in the world. The color of these pieces earned them the name "Imperial," and is oft deserved. Topaz is one of those gems that gets darker with larger stones, so little stones don't have the saturation that a larger stone typically has. This gem is a very attractive Imperial Topaz with a characteristic orange color that is associated with this material. The stone has an "Emerald" cut and is virtually eye clean. These gems are becoming harder and harder to obtain since so much of the material never reaches the open market.
Sakangyi, Mogok Township, Mandalay Division, Burma (Myanmar)
Cabinet, 11.5 x 5.0 x 3.8 cm
This Burmese topaz is exceptional for its size and sharp termination. It has excellent beveled edges and a killer termination. This crystal is complete all around, and can display from either side. The haze inside is thought to be, I am told, either degenerate danburite enclosed within, or possibly topaz pseudomorph after danburite, a core over which the topaz grew. While decreasing the transparency, the internal complexity adds some visual interest as well. The piece was found in the early 2000's and has been in the personal Burma collection of "Burma Bill" Larson, the gem and mineral dealer who brought out many Burmese specimens and gems starting in the late 1980s. It is 380 grams. It comes with his collection label. Joe Budd Photos.
This is a limpid, glassy and gemmy champagne-colored topaz from Mogok. It has an unusual, complex termination, and the prism faces clearly exhibit growth striations and etch patterns both. This is literally a "jewel" in how it presents. The mass is 56 grams. It is comparable in form to some recent topaz from Argentina a few years ago, but this has more color saturation. From the Burma collection of "Burma Bill" Larson, who has for decades brought out gems and then minerals as this region opened up to the trade in specimens.
Limpid and totally gemmy, this large face-centered, champagne-colored topaz crystal is much better in person because it is so glassy and clear, it is hard for the camera to focus! It is nearly pristine, save for a tiny ding on the right side of its large face. Contact at the base is common since the miners just pop them off their matrix, but the crystal itself is complete all around. I could gaze at it for hours at a time and not see all the details. It really just is THAT much cleaner and clearer in person. We have seldom had so much difficulty photographing a good gem crystal. The mass is 166 grams. Superb! From the Burma collection of "Burma Bill" Larson, who has for decades brought out gems and then minerals as this region opened up to the trade in specimens.
If anything, this limpid and champagne colored topaz crystal is even gemmier than the previous one, just a bit smaller. It is face centered and clearly exhibits its perfect basal cleavage where it was removed from its matrix at bottom.. It has beautiful form, just classic; and is pristine save for a few tiny chips at the crystal edges mostly located on the left side (for which the price is now lowered even though it still has great impact in person). A classic topaz in form, color and beauty! The mass is 110 grams. From the Burma collection of "Burma Bill" Larson, who has for decades brought out gems and then minerals as this region opened up to the trade in specimens.
ChangLongXiang Tungsten Mine, Ganzhou, ChongYi Co., Jiangxi Prov., China
Small Cabinet, 7.0 x 5.5 x 3.7 cm
An elegant and beautiful combo piece from a rare locale! Two lustrous and translucent, colorless quartz crystals to 7.9 cm in length are literally draped with lustrous and translucent, richly purple-colored fluorite crystals to 1.5 cm across. The larger fluorites clearly exhibit the phantoms and the classic stepped growth and micro-detail of surface patterning, often seen in fluorite from Elmwood in Tennessee. Collected 2005-5-24th, and from a prominent and carefully assembled collection of Jiangxi minerals with precise localities. Surprisingly, in a very rare association, there is a 1.5-cm TOPAZ crystal intergrown with and embedded by fluorites, near the base of the specimen.
Toenail – A “gut feeling” but often overlaps between a large thumbnail and a small miniature
Miniature – Maximum 5.0 cm
Small Cabinet – Maximum 9.4 cm
Cabinet – Maximum 18.0 cm
Large Cabinet – Over 18.0 cm
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