Joie de Vivre jewelry
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Who can challenge the corundums and diamonds in toughness and beauty? Topaz has a Moh's hardness of 8 and zircon is one of the few stones with brilliancy like diamond. Both gemstones are members of the nesosilicates group, which include peridot and garnet. Silica tetrahedra tend to be isolated within other elements. Zircon is zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4) and topaz is aluminum silicate fluoride hydroxide (Al2SiO4(FOH)2). Zircon exhibits double refraction (different light bending properties depending on axis; items seen through a prism will appear double), and it is one of the tests to help distinguish it from diamond, which has a uniformly high index of refraction. It is also softer than diamond, with Moh's hardness of 7.5. Topaz has a moderate refractive index, sufficient to bend light through a prism, and colorless topaz can also be mistaken for diamond when brilliant cut. Blue topaz resembles aquamarine, but sherry topaz or imperial topaz is unrivaled in warm golden color.

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Blue Delight
Fish Out of Water
Four Feet
Modern Fairytale
Topaz is thought to first originate from the legendary island of Topazios, off the coast of Egypt now known as Zebirget. Topaz occurs in a variety of colors, with natural sherry topaz and pink topaz being the most valuable. Most pink topaz on the market is yellow topaz that has been heat treated. Deep blue topaz - often called London topaz - has been irradiated. Both effects are permanent and deemed harmless. (There was a question about lingering radiation, but this has not been supported by testing.) Russia, Brazil and Nigeria are major sources of topaz, but it is found across the globe. Topaz is formed by fluorite bearing vapors given off in the last stages of crystallization in various igneous rocks, including rhyolite and pegmatite dikes.

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Zircon No. 5 Countess Olenska
Zircon takes its name from the Arabic zargun, meaning "gold color". It's been mined for over 2000 years in the alluvial gem deposits in Sri Lanka and used as a gemstone in Greece and Italy. It's found in a variety of colors: colorless, red, golden yellow, green and blue. Heat-treating brown zircon into blue-zircon has been practiced for centuries; stones were placed in clay pots with fine sand and heated in the coals of a campfire. Blue zircon reheated becomes golden yellow and may be the source of the ancient name.

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