When purchasing a gemstone, it is important to know how to distinguish a high-quality stone from a lesser-quality stone. Before choosing a topaz ring, consider “The Four Cs of Gemstones” to help you find the perfect gem:
Color: Though topaz comes in many different colors, red is one of the most sought after. Red topaz makes up only 0.5% of the facet-grade material produced. Highly prized, extremely rare crystals called imperial topaz, is recognized to many dealers as a stone with a reddish color that displays at the ends of fashioned gems, as in pear- and oval-shaped stones. Less expensive colors in topaz include pink, gold/yellow and brown, while higher-priced colors include “precious” (a sherry wine color) and blue. Naturally blue gems are very rare and much more expensive.
Clarity: Topaz gemstones – mostly those that are fashioned – are usually eye-clean and inclusion-free, specifically in blue, yellow and colorless stones.
Cut: Due to the fact that topaz crystals are typically formed in long column-like shapes, they are frequently cut into long oval or pear shapes. It is also produced in all other standard gem shapes, including round, emerald cut, cushion cut, triangle cut, marquise cut, as well as some designer-created fantasy shapes. Other common cuts include: brilliant cuts with triangular and kite-shaped facets, step cuts with concentric rows of parallel facets, and mixed cuts with brilliant-cut crowns and step-cut pavilions. It is a gemstone that is scarcely cut into cabochons.
Carat: Topaz is fairly inexpensive in smaller sizes, but as gems form above 10 x 8 mm., prices rise to match. Typically, its price ranges from $10 to $50 per carat.