The uses of topaz are as a gemstone and for collecting. When using the mineral as a gemstone, jewelers cut it to add facets. Collectors prefer topaz that is still in the matrix.
Topaz generally forms in areas where there is heat and water, such as hydrothermal veins. On rare instances, miners find topaz crystals in igneous rock. The most common forms of topaz are colorless and even when cut have a low value. However, the minerals surrounding some crystals affect their color.
Additionally, jewelers sometimes artificially alter the color of the stone to increase its value. Most natural-colored topaz is found in colors ranging from brown to yellow, but pink or blue stones are rare.
Irradiating clear topaz and heating the stone produces blue topaz approximately the same color as an aquamarine stone. The price of blue topaz is lower as of 2014 due to the large number of these stones manufacturers produce. Pink and red topaz are generally the most expensive colors of the stone, although heating some brown topaz stones produces a pink gem.
Manufacturers also produce synthetic topaz that they cut and sell as a gemstone. Reputable jewelers label stones that are artificially colored or synthetic, but consumers should be aware that such stones exist when shopping for topaz.