Yes, topaz can scratch glass.
In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about topaz and why it is that topaz can scratch glass.
Can Topaz Scratch Glass? (EXPLAINED)
Topaz is the hardest naturally occurring gemstone mineral.
It has a rating of 8 on Moh’s scale of hardness.
This makes Topaz harder than quartz, as well as glass.
Glass ranks between a 5 to 7 on the Moh’s scale, depending upon the formulation of the material.
This is the primary reason why Topaz can scratch glass, itself, and anything under 8 on the hardness scale.
Topaz, aside from being used for jewelry, is also used to create abrasive materials like scouring pads and knife sharpeners.
See also: Can Topaz Go In Water?
It forms within the crevices of acidic rocks like rhyolite, gneisses, and schist igneous rocks and is mined during the last stages of crystallization.
It forms as a product of the process that happens within rocks when they give off vapors called Pneumatolysis.
Topaz is typically found in the form of large, clear crystals and is nearly ubiquitous in availability within South, Central America, Asia, Europe, and the United States.
The largest Topaz mine is located in Brazil, extending from Mariana in east Sao Juliao for about 44 kilometers.
Topaz is most commonly mined for jewelry.
And since it is found almost everywhere in the world, the gemstone remains fairly inexpensive, with the most valuable forms being Imperial Topaz, or any that range into the deep pink, purple, and red range.
These colors can begin at prices of $1000/ct for fine quality gemstones.
Topaz is in the largest and simplest mineral class of silicates, called nesosilicates.
These are the most abundant rock-forming minerals within the earth’s crust.
They are a mixture of silicone, metals, and oxygen.
When able to grow in an unrestricted crevice, topaz forms with an orthorhombic crystal pattern, giving it its paradoxical characteristics of high hardness yet a propensity for brittleness due to it’s perfect cleavage.
The natural color is fairly limited, but once it undergoes treatment, the value can vary according to the colors it expresses itself in.
Topaz naturally occurs in an almost translucent color but can also be found in different colors based on a variety of environmental factors at play when it forms.
The common colors it is seen in are gold, orange, pink, red and purple colors.
The latter colors are considered more valuable than pink and red, which indicates exposure to impurities.
The color of the topaz can be changed via heat manipulation and some have admired the appearance of Topaz in deep blue, which can be achieved via treatments like the irradiation process, where colorless Topaz is treated with gamma radiation, turning it into a more vibrant blue than found naturally occurring in nature.
However, it is highly recommended that outside of professional treatment methods, Topaz is best kept away from direct sun as UV radiation can cause its coloration to become dull and trend toward a colorless fade.
Also, the more treatments Topaz endures, the more prone to breakage it becomes.
However, despite its susceptibility to breakage and color degradation, Topaz is still the most common alternative to diamonds.
Characteristics of Topaz
Color variation can also show the specific gravity of Topaz.
Specific gravity, also referred to as “relative density”, is determined by the crystal structure and chemical composition.
It is usually measured with liquids like toluene, bromoform, and water, and a stone will be observed as to whether it will suspend, sink, or float in the substance.
The density of minerals that determines their reaction within the liquid, which can indicate how affected the stone has been by impurities, crack formations, or trapped air.
This method can be used as an assessment of a stone’s quality.
The color variations of Topaz can also indicate its gravity range, which typically remains between 3.50 – 3.57.
Gravity is based on the concentrations of hydroxyl and fluorine within the stone.
The presence of hydroxyl lowers the gravity and fluorine raises it.
Its connections to color can be observed by noting that the lighter colors reflect the lower range and darker colors the higher range.
Despite it’s high rating of hardness, Topaz has a tendency to be prone to breakage due to it’s basal cleavage, so it is recommended that one handles the stone delicately.
Depending on your use of Topaz, it may be important to look into it’s durability under various forms of chemical, physical, and general daily wear.
Although Topaz is known for it’s hardness, understanding under what circumstances it may become brittle is important to find out if this gemstone is right for you.
Topaz ranks between diamond and quartz on Moh’s scale of hardness.
This is important to keep in mind when you are storing the gemstone near others that differ in hardness – be careful not to store Topaz near a diamond because it may be scratched due to the storage method.
Topaz lacks toughness and can be prone to fracture, so it must be handled with the utmost care when cleaning, mounting, or wearing.
It is important that it also be kept in an environment where the temperature is somewhat stable and there aren’t many sudden temperature changes as this can also induce fracture within the gemstone.
Often, topaz will be kept in protective mountings to keep the stone safe from breakage.
When cleaning, although topaz isn’t necessarily immediately damaged by the use of chemicals, it is best to keep away from all acids and harsh chemicals.
Overall, Topaz is a very versatile item to add to your jewelry collection as long as it is not knocked around against hard surfaces too often.