I’m finally off on holiday this week so as this blog post goes up I will be off in my campervan to sunny (or at least I hope it will be sunny) Yorkshire to go mountain biking in Dalby Forrest. The thought of holidays and all the unusual amounts of sunshine we have been having in the UK has got me thinking about golden stones. Heliodor is such an evocative name for a gem, so much so I used it for one of my Dungeons and Dragons characters, (In case you didn’t know D&D is a role-playing game and so much fun.) The other stone that springs to mind is golden topaz. Despite their similarity in colour, they are very different stones with very different characters.
Helios was the Greek god of the sun. We hold gemstones in a kind of magical reverence so it seems appropriate that this golden stone should be named after him. A heliodor is a variety of beryl, which is colourless in its scarce pure state.
The colours are caused by minerals in a particular location the golden colour of a heliodor is caused by iron III. Other beryls are emerald and aquamarine. Heliodor or golden beryl and aquamarines are hardier than emeralds as they contain far fewer inclusions (random stray little bits), cracks and flaws.
Less well-known varieties of beryl are morganite (slightly pink) goshenite (colourless and from Massachusetts) and red beryl also known as red emerald. I’ve not used a heliodor yet in my jewellery, but I favour gems in their natural form as they go so well with the organic shapes in my work. Heliodor has a hexagonal crystal like aquamarine, and I think it would look fabulous in amongst the dark twists of a ring.
When you think of topaz what colour do you think of first? I’ll bet you thought blue, am I right? Natural blue topaz is quite rare; most blue topaz has either been heat-treated or irradiated to deepen its colour. Anything described as London topaz (dark blue), Swiss topaz or sky topaz (pale blue) will be most likely to have been treated.
Topaz is more common in it’s yellow or golden form, and I think it is a much under-appreciated gem especially if it is uncut. Golden topaz is like a little-solidified crystal of honey and will often have unusual rainbow patterns in places where the natural stone has fractured when mined.
I have a couple of golden topaz rings coming up in my Friday Jewellery Sale after I am back from holiday, here’s an early look at one of them, one of those rings that just came out perfectly. See you in a weeks time!