An Explanation of Anomalous Optical Properties of Topaz

Mizuhiko Akizuki1, Martin S. Hampar and Jack Zussman
Department of Geology, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL
1On leave from Institute of Mineralogy, Petrology and Economic Geology, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 980, Japan.

Summary: A study has been made of topaz crystals showing a sectoral texture related to the growth of the crystal, and showing anomalous optical properties within the sectors. The growth surfaces responsible for the development of most of the sectors have been identified. The fluorine/hydroxyl sites in topaz are symmetrically equivalent in the solid crystal, but at a growth surface this equivalence may be lost, resulting in a reduction in the crystal symmetry and the ordering of fluorine and hydroxyl, the ordering scheme being retained once the crystal has formed. The reduction in symmetry expected to be produced by this ordering is in general agreement with the actual reduction in symmetry indicated by the optical properties. Heating of the topaz to about 950 °C results in the almost complete disappearance of the optical anomalies due to disordering, which may be related to the loss of hydroxyl from the crystal. Anomalous pyro- and piezoelectric phenomena may also be the result of ordering. Published optical and X-ray determinative curves for fluorine in topaz may give erroneous results for ordered topaz.

Mineralogical Magazine; June 1979 v. 43; no. 326; p. 237-241; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1979.043.326.05
© 1979, The Mineralogical Society
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