I’m Newly Obsessed With Imperial Topaz

Before (and even quite awhile after) I first entered the jewelry industry, my favorite gemstone was unequivocally blue topaz. My knowledge of gemstones didn’t extend far beyond my birthstone (emerald), my mom’s birthstone (amethyst), and, for some reason, the blue topaz, so I wasn’t working with much.

Now, I’m not knocking it—I’m still entranced by that delicious shade of blue, clear and bright like the sky on a perfect day. It’s just that being a part of this industry has opened my world to such a host of other gemstones (and designers’ work with those gemstones) that there’s too many good options to keep that old favorite steady at No. 1. To be honest, I’m not quite sure I even know what my No. 1 is.

Jennifer Dawes imperial topaz ring
Emerald-cut ring in 14k yellow gold with 1 ct. imperial topaz, $1,250; Jennifer Dawes Design
Melanie Casey imperial topaz earrings
One-of-a-kind drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with imperial topaz, pink sapphire, and diamonds, $1,100; Melanie Casey

Though this one might come close. When I was doing a story on November’s birthstones last week, I immediately developed an obsession with imperial topaz. I’ve been aware of the variation for some time, but—I don’t know—it’s like it was on in the background or something, a faint buzz.

Jennifer Hillyer imperial topaz ring
Custom heirloom ring in platinum with 3.6 ct. imperial topaz and 0.06 ct. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Jennifer Hillyer
Graziela imperial topaz ezrrings
Drop earrings in 18k rose gold with imperial topaz, paraiba tourmaline, and diamonds, $15,475; Graziela

Now its presence is all-out blaringly loud, and I can’t get enough of it. I’m obsessed with securing one for my collection, so enamored with its gorgeous, juicy, orangey pinkish red. It’s like a sunset, but also like a warm autumn hug. I just want to fall into it. I’m in love.

Erica Courtney imperial topaz Crossover ring
Crossover ring in 18k yellow gold with 11.19 ct. imperial topaz, 3.3 cts. t.w. Australian crystal opals, 0.6 ct. t.w. pink sapphires, and 0.78 ct. t.w. diamonds, $68,000; Erica Courtney
Emily P Wheeler imperial topaz earrings
Oversized stud earrings in 18k yellow and white gold with hand-carved Tiger’s iron, 10.8 cts. t.w. imperial topaz, and 1.35 cts. t.w. diamonds, $28,000; Emily P. Wheeler

According to GIA, there’s no official standard for imperial topaz. Its value is derived from its color: a certain saturated shade of orange to pink to red to purple. Where my sky blue is most often the result of color treatment, imperial topaz’s color is natural, and of the highest value. Because of course I always zero in on the most expensive options.

Do you ever become newly enamored with a seasonal color? Like sometimes a new trend comes along and you’re not aware of it, until all of a sudden—boom—everything you own is some grayish shade of purple (I’m not speaking from experience or anything). Well, anyway, I’m not sure if it’s the influence of slick marketing or a barrage of items for sale, but suddenly I want everything in my life to be the color of imperial topaz. Bring it all to me.

Top: Loose 25.23 ct. pear-shape imperial topaz, winner of the 2020 AGTA Spectrum Awards, price on request; Omi Gems

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JCK Contributing Editor

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