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How Does Topaz Form?

Topaz requires specific and unusual conditions to form. Learn how topaz develops and how it gets its colors, from yellow and blue to rare and valuable pink.

2 Minute Read

What is Topaz?

Topaz is a crystalline mineral in the silicate group. It has a chemical formula of Al2SiO4(F,OH)2, and that “F,” fluorine, makes it an uncommon mineral.

With a hardness of 8 and a variety of colors, topaz is a great choice for jewelry in any style and can even make for a unique center stone in an engagement ring. Consult our buying guide for more information on topaz as a jewelry stone.

How Does Topaz Form?

Topaz is one of the last minerals to form in an igneous rock as it cools. That’s because it requires some volatile elements. The fluorine and hydroxyl group (OH) in its formula come from volcanic degassing.

In other words, since volatile elements aren’t a part of the first crystals to form from magma, they end up as gas, which becomes more concentrated. Since the gas is in equilibrium with fluids in the rock, the fluids become enriched in fluorine. Eventually, conditions become favorable for topaz formation.

Topaz form typically in igneous rocks like pegmatites, granites, and rhyolites. However, you can find these gems in alluvial sediments, too, after they’ve weathered out of the host…

Addison Rice

A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.

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