Nesosilicate (insular SiO4 groups)
Specific gravity: 3.5 to 3.6
Colour: Colourless, white, yellow, blue, green, red, pink, violet, brown
Solubility: Insoluble in hydrochloric and nitric acid; slightly soluble in sulphuric acid
Plutonic igneous environments
Topaz is typically found in acid igneous rocks such as granite,
and rhyolite, and their
contact zones (Lauf p191). It is formed by fluorine-bearing vapours given off during the last stages of the
siliceous igneous rocks, found in cavities in rhyolite lava,
and pegmatites, where it is
a common and characteristic constituent, associated with beryl.
Topaz is found in some localities as placers, and also in contact metamorphic environments, where it is formed by high-grade metamorphism of aluminous, quartz-rich and fluorine-bearing sediments, and associated with tourmaline, cassiterite, apatite and fluorite; also beryl, quartz, mica and feldspar (HOM). Topaz is a common accessory in tin lodes in all parts of the world (Lauf p191).
Hydrothermal topaz is often associated with intensely altered granitic rock in the contact zone between tin-tungsten-molybdenum granites and rhyolites. In the presence of low pH (acid) fluids, feldspar and mica alter to form topaz. Associated minerals are fluorite, muscovite, quartz, chlorite and biotite (AofA).
Topaz can alter to muscovite and quartz, to orthoclase or to clay minerals, and it may replace feldspar or amphibole (Lauf p194).
At the Brumado Mine, Bahia, Brazil, topaz occurs in low-temperature hydrothermal veins (Lauf p194) with quartz (Lauf p197).
At San Shek Wan, Lantau Island, Islands District, New Territories, Hong Kong, China, it is necessary to visit the site at low tide, when the outcrop on the beach is exposed. The outcrop is a sequence of metamorphosed sandstone, metamorphosed siltstone and granite, and a small skarn body was also identified with abundant magnetite and quartz veins. Little red crystals of garnet were found in the magnetite, and there were also some yellow columnar crystals of topaz within the quartz veins (Geological Society of Hong Kong newsletter 16.1.2, Mineralogy Society of Hong Kong field trip).
At Devil's Peak, Sai Kung District, New Territories, Hong Kong, China, the mineralisation occurred in quartz veins in the contact zone between a granite intrusion and acid volcanic rocks. The mine is now closed, and inaccessible for collecting. Topaz occurred as crystals up to 2 cm in length in quartz veins with beryl, fluorite, muscovite and wolframite (Hong Kong Minerals (1991). Peng, C J. Hong Kong Urban Council)
The Ma On Shan Mine, Ma On Shan, Sha Tin District, New Territories, Hong Kong, China, is an abandoned iron mine, with both underground and open cast workings. The iron ores contain magnetite as the ore mineral and occur predominantly as masses of all sizes enclosed in a large skarn body formed by contact metasomatism of dolomitic limestone at the margins of a granite intrusion. In parts of the underground workings magnetite is also found in marble in contact with the granite. The skarn rocks consist mainly of tremolite, actinolite, diopside and garnet. Topaz is found in quartz-mica veins in the granite (Hong Kong Minerals (1991). Peng, C J. Hong Kong Urban Council)
The Needle Hill Mine, Needle Hill, Sha Tin District, New Territories, Hong Kong, China, is a tungsten mine, abandoned in 1967. The principal ore is wolframite, and the principal gangue mineral is quartz. Molybdenum also occurs. The mineralisation consists of a series of parallel fissure veins that cut through granite. Wolframite and quartz are the main minerals, but galena, sphalerite, pyrite, molybdenite and fluorite have also been found here (Geological Society of Hong Kong Newsletter 9.3.29-40). The quartz-wolframite veins are of high-temperature hydrothermal formation, and grade into wolframite-bearing pegmatites. Topaz is reported to occur in greisenised granite bordering the wolframite-bearing quartz veins and pegmatites (Hong Kong Minerals (1991). Peng, C J. Hong Kong Urban Council)
The Lin Fa Shan deposit, Tsuen Wan District, New Territories, Hong Kong, China, is located in a remote area of the Tai Mo Shan Country Park, on a steep west facing slope of Lin Fa Shan, just above the abandoned village of Sheung Tong. The surrounding hillsides are covered with shallow excavations, representing past searches for wolframite, the natural ore of tungsten. The abandoned workings are extremely dangerous with unsupported tunnels, open shafts and no maintenance since their closures in 1957; the workings should not be entered (http://industrialhistoryhk.org/lin-shan). Topaz is sometimes found associated with muscovite (Hong Kong Minerals (1991). Peng, C J. Hong Kong Urban Council).
At the Yaogangxian Mine, Yaogangxian W-Sn ore field, Yizhang county, Chenzhou, Hunan, China, topaz is associated with fluorite and quartz in a greisen-skarn deposit (R&M 80.1.56).
At the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge; Krušné hory), Bohemia, Czech Republic, topaz occurs in granite (Lauf p194).
At Schneckenstein, Tannenbergsthal, Muldenhammer, Vogtlandkreis, Saxony, Germany, a topaz pseudomorph after orthoclase with Carlsbad twinning has been found (KL p221).
At Erongo, Namibia, topaz is associated with quartz, orthoclase, fluorite and schorl, and sometimes inclusions of schorl are found in the topaz.
At Klein Spitzkoppe, Namibia, topaz is associated with microcline and beryl variety aquamarine, or with biotite, quartz, fluorite, tourmaline and rutile.
The fine colourless crystals of topaz, often over 10 cm in length, are found in pegmatites in alkali granite. Yellowish and, rarely, pale blue crystals are also found (Minrec 36.4.328-333).
In the Joss plateau, Nigeria, topaz occurs in tin-bearing granite (Lauf p194).
At the Mardan District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan, topaz occurs with quartz in calcite veins in calcareous rocks (Lauf p192).
At the Adun-Cholon Range, Nerchinsky District, Zabaykalsky Krai, Russia, topaz crystals as big as 4kg have been found.
At the Verkhne-Talskoye occurrence, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, topaz has been found in gold-bearing river placers (GAHK 2019 p15).
At Khoroshiv Raion (Volodarsk-Volynskii), Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine, an initial crystallisation occurred at 360oC to 540oC, followed by a secondary crystallisation at 180oC to 350oC. Very few pockets here contain both beryl and topaz. Beryl crystallises first, at a higher temperature, and as the temperature falls the solution becomes more acid. By the time the topaz starts to form the acidity is high enough to start to dissolve the beryl.
Inclusions of fluorite in the topaz are quite common, also inclusions of quartz, feldspar, albite, columbite and elpasolite K2NaAlF6 have been reported. Muscovite variety sericite pseudomorphs after topaz have been found here.
The largest topaz crystal from this locality found so far was a massive 117kg (MinRec 40.6.498-502).
In Cornwall, England, UK, topaz is a common associate of cassiterite and wolframite both in granite and in sedimentary rocks (Lauf p191).
At Devils Head, Pikes Peak, Colorado, USA, topaz occurs in pegmatite cavities associated with quartz, microcline, albite, fluorite and cassiterite (Lauf p193).
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