The flamingo topaz is a type of topaz gemstone that is a brilliant pink. This gem was named after the flamingo bird, because it has a similar hue. A coating process that changes the base colour of the gem creates the flamingo topaz. Without this scientific process, the flamingo topaz would not exist.
Flamingo topaz is named for its brilliant pink colour. Flamingo topaz does not occur in nature--the gem is formed by a process of physical vapour deposition, which can produce several different colour effects, including pink. When the vapour coats the gem, a bright, slightly iridescent pink colour results. The gemstone is then cut for use in jewellery.
Topaz is formed from a mixture of alluvial deposits and rock. This mineral mixture actually makes topaz a form of crystal, rather than a true gemstone. Topaz is very hard and dense, and is sometimes mistaken for diamonds because of its hardness and ability to be completely colourless under the right conditions. Topaz is classified as a hydrous aluminium fluorosilicate and is found in mountain ranges with granite and quartz present in the rock.
Flamingo topaz gems are used for a wide variety of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewellery pieces. Their bright pink colour gives a less formal appearance to the jewellery, so they are rarely used in expensive pieces; they are popular in higher-end fashion jewellery. Flamingo topaz also makes its way into jewelled inlays, such as for jewellery boxes, and hair accessories.
Topaz has been around for thousands of years. Topaz and peridot are sometimes confused because they have a similar appearance. Because of this confusion, it is difficult to identify the first-known appearance of topaz. However, there is mention of topaz in the Bible, so topaz has been in use for at least 4,000 years. Flamingo topaz, however, is a much more modern invention. The ability to coat topaz was not invented until 1998. Soon after the first coatings, the flamingo topaz was invented.
Flamingo topaz is an inexpensive gemstone. For example, a 9mm topaz only cost about £5 in 2010. The reason for this low cost is the fact that topaz is a common gem and the coating process is simple. Flamingo topaz gems that are already set are more expensive, because of the labour of setting the gem into the jewellery, as well as the cost of the setting itself.