There are lots of confusing terms used to describe these two
Madeira citrine, smoky topaz, Brazilian topaz, imperial
topaz and precious topaz to name just a few. Once we have decided
that its truly topaz and not quartz the issue of "precious" versus
"imperial" then becomes the issue. The best thing to do is to
consign all these antiquated terms to the dustbin where they belong.
Topaz is topaz it occurs in a continuum of hues from sunny yellow
to brownish red passing through peach (yellowish orange-brown)
orange-pink and pinkish red along the way. The redder, the rarer
and the more expensive (noting that pink is a light toned red), is a
good rule of thumb.
What is imperial and what is precious? Damned if I know. Some
folks use "imperial" to describe pinkish-orange-brown or light peach
through ripe peach and finally "rotten peach". Well perhaps the
last should be avoided in discussions with civilians. One Brazilian
dealer told me that "imperial" translates as yellow in Brazilian
Portuguese. As I said above, these terms are archaic hailing from a
time when green tourmaline was still called "Brazilian emerald".
Want more May I humbly suggest reading chapter 25 in
my new book. www.secretsofthegemtrade.com