Minerals and More:
BeYond the Elements

                                                   Minerals and More News                                  
    By Karen Edmund
The Ides of November… As a young child my family took a trip to Sault St Marie.  How exciting it was when we went thru the locks with the freighter the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald right beside us!  It had our name on it.  What could be any more cool for a 7 year old! Today additional locks have been built, and the tour boats are not allowed to enter a lock with the freighters.  So, I always think of November and the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior…
Onto a more joyful note. The Madison Gem and Mineral show is coming up in three weeks.  It will be at the Alliant Energy Center here in Madison on November 17th  and 18th.  We will be vending there as well as many other wonderful folks.  Stop by and say ‘Hi’.  It’s a great show to attend, with something for everyone.

Featured - Topaz
Topaz is a well-known mineral.  Yellow Topaz is the birthstone for November and Blue Topaz is the birthstone for December.  It occurs naturally in many colors which include colorless, orange, reddish-brown, light to dark blue, and light green.   Rare colors include pink, yellow, red, reddish-orange (known as Imperial Topaz), pink, and violet. The colors come from iron and chromium.  It is often free of inclusions, and is highly prized for its glass like look and clarity.
Topaz is often created or enhanced through irradiation and heat treating.  It was interesting to find out that Topaz from Siberia may fade if it is exposed to light for a long period of time.  Most Topaz is found in Brazil especially around the Minas Gerais mining locality.
When irradiated (exposed to radiation) and then heat treated, the different shades of blue are named.  Deep blue is known as “London Blue”, medium as “Swiss Blue”, and light as “Sky Blue”.  Vaporizing titanium dioxide and then applying a thin coating to colorless Topaz stones creates Mystic Topaz.  Azotic Topaz is when a white Topaz is color enhanced by coating it in a secret process which gives it rainbow colors.  There is also a process called diffusion treatment which exposes Topaz to chemicals and heat which changes the surface color.  It is most often used to produce Green Topaz.  Only the surface is changed through the processes creating Mystic Topaz, Azotic Topaz, and Green Topaz, so the pieces must be cut prior to treatment and should be cleaned gently as one would clean a pearl.
Finding Topaz crystals in their matrix is rather rare since they often separate from that medium and are found as loose crystals.  Topaz, an aluminum silicate that contains fluorine and hydroxyl, is colorless when it is pure.  The colors are caused by impurities.  The weak fluorescence of Topaz helps distinguish it from some of the other minerals with similar colors.  Topaz also exhibits pleochroism which means that there may appear to be several colors in a single crystal depending on the angle from which it is viewed.  Having a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, it is a relatively hard gem which makes it appropriate for setting into jewelry.
Topaz is found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, the United States (California, Texas, and Utah), and Zimbabwe.

Metaphysical Properties:  The different colors of topaz have different meanings.  White or colorless aligns with spirituality, psychic gifts, and mental clarity due to linking into the crown and etheric chakras.  White heals the soul, is a good crystal for transitions, and shows how thoughts and deeds may affect a person karmically.  Imperial Topaz works with manifestation of one’s will and desires.  It may recharge one spiritually and physically.  Imperial Topaz also helps one to have charisma and confidence.  Blue topaz which is the most common version works to enhance a person’s mind and their communication.  It is good for artists, writers, and public speakers.  Blue Topaz magnifies psychic abilities.  A crystal which promotes success due to the negative and positive currents which run through it makes this mineral different than other crystals.  This also makes it a useful tool in healing ceremonies.  Yellow Topaz recharges and aligns the body’s meridians and sheds light on your spiritual path.  As a stone of love and good fortune, it releases tension.

Calendar of Events


November 11th Sunday - Class by Brenda N.  - Chakra Balancing Class -  Before the holidays swing into
      high gear, learn to balance your 7 chakras with music and crystals.  Having balanced chakras will help you 
      stay steady and calm even during hectic times!  Class will be from 10:45 am until noon and costs $10/person cash.

November 17th - 18th - Saturday & Sunday - Madison Gem, Mineral, & Jewelry Show - We will be 
     vending at this event so stop by and say hi!!  Saturday November 17th 9:30 am - 5 pm, Sunday November 18th
     10 am - 5 pm.  Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, WI. 

November 22nd Thursday - Closed - Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 23rd Friday - Store Open Normal Hours

December 16th Sunday - Class by Brenda N.  - Topic to be announced

December 24th Monday - Closing Early - Store closes at 5 pm. for Christmas Eve

December 25th Tuesday - Closed - Merry Christmas!!

January 1st Tuesday - Closed - Happy New Year!!

January 20th Sunday - Class by Brenda N.  - Topic to be announced

Remember you may also check the Calendar of Events on our website.