The word ‘topaz’ is thought to originate either from the Sanskrit word ‘tapas’ meaning ‘fire’, or from the Ancient Greek name of the Isle of St John in the Red Sea, where the stone was thought to be originally mined. Treasured since the classical era, topaz was traditionally mined in Russia and Saxony, its colour palette ranging from ‘imperial’ golden yellows to ‘sherry-coloured’ pinkish browns , as well as pink and colourless varieties. As new sources of topaz were discovered in Brazil and further afield, new colours were added to this range, including naturally occurring pale greens and blues. In the modern era, colourless topaz is commonly artificially irradiated to make it a bright blue, but the elegant shades of antique stones, without treatment, have a beauty and value all of their own. Topaz jewellery reached its peak in the 18th and early 19th centuries, when entire parures adorned queens and noblewomen. The foil-backed topaz rivière necklaces of the era are still highly sought after today - most prominently worn by the likes of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. While high on the Moh’s scale of hardness, topaz, much like emerald and zircon, can also be quite a brittle stone, so when used in rings it is best set protectively and worn on special occasions. Finally, its delicate tones can fade in strong light over time, so while perfectly suitable for outside wear, when stored, topaz should be kept away from bright lights.