Is Yellow Topaz Expensive?

Yellow topaz is one of the most popular and widely available varieties of topaz gemstones. Given its abundance and affordability, many people wonder – is yellow topaz expensive?

What is Yellow Topaz?

Topaz is a silicate mineral that comes in a variety of colors, with yellow being one of the most common. The yellow color in topaz is caused by iron impurities in the stone’s chemical structure. Yellow topaz ranges from pale lemon to a deep golden orange hue.

While many people associate topaz with a blue color, natural blue topaz is quite rare. Most blue topaz seen in jewelry has been treated to enhance its color. On the other hand, yellow topaz in its various shades occurs abundantly in nature and requires no treatment to achieve its sunny tones.

How Much Does Yellow Topaz Cost?

Compared to other colored gemstones like sapphire, ruby and emerald, yellow topaz is very affordable. A 1-carat yellow topaz can cost between $10 to $80 depending on the quality and hue. By comparison, a 1-carat ruby of average quality costs around $1,000 while a similar quality 1-carat sapphire costs approximately $500.

The relatively low cost of yellow topaz is due to a few factors:

  • Abundance – Topaz is mined in many locations around the world, including Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Africa and China. Steady supplies keep prices down.
  • Softness – With a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, topaz is softer than many gems. The abundance of harder gems like sapphire and ruby make them more prized.
  • Treatment – Most yellow topaz is not treated or enhanced to improve its color, so it costs less than treated gems.
  • Crystal size – Topaz crystals tend to be quite small. Larger carat stones are harder to find, driving up prices.

In general, lighter yellow topaz costs less because the darker and more saturated the yellow color is, the rarer and more desirable the topaz. Clear topaz with a slight yellow tint will be at the lower end of the price range, while rich golden orange yellow topaz will reach the higher prices per carat.

How to Get the Best Deal on Yellow Topaz

For jewelry purposes, high clarity is not as important for topaz as it is for diamond, so eye clean stones with some minor flaws can provide big savings. Purchasing yellow topaz loose instead of in a preset ring or pendant can also keep costs down. And choosing a smaller carat weight yellow topaz can help lower the price, as jewelry set with large topaz stones over 5 carats will be quite rare and expensive.

Synthetic yellow topaz is also widely available for very affordable prices. Synthetic topaz has the same chemical structure and physical properties as natural topaz, so only a gemologist could tell the difference. Synthetic yellow topaz can be a very budget-friendly option for yellow topaz jewelry.

In summary, compared to precious gems like diamond, emerald and ruby, natural yellow topaz is an very moderately priced gemstone. Its relatively low cost, beautiful sunny tones and large supply make yellow topaz an affordable jewelry choice.