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Rio Doce Mine

14622 Hwy 226 S

Spruce Pine NC 28777


P.O. Box 296

Little Switzerland, NC 28749



Fax: 765-2097


Rio Doce Gem Mine is open everyday from Easter through Halloween.

The operating hours are from 9:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M.


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Blue Topaz


Blue topaz is rare in nature, but easily created from clear material. There is an abundance on the world market, and very large, flawless stones are easily available. It is relatively low in value, about the same as good amethyst. It is available in shades of blue from very light, through sky-blue, and on to almost an inky blue. Overtones of gray are not desirable, and further reduce its value.


lg blue topaz

lg bluetopaz


The name Topaz is thought to be derived from the name Topazion, the old name for the island of Zebergit (St. Thomas Island) in the Red Sea. The Sanskrit word "Tapas" means "fire". It is insoluble in acids. Some varieties are heat sensitive.

It is a high temperature mineral usually found in igneous rocks and high temperature veins. Also in hydrothermal replacement deposits.

Blue topaz grew even hotter after 1974. That was the year a San Angelo physicist and his brother, a science teacher, devised a special way to cut topaz. The computer-designed cut creates the image of a perfect five-rayed star in the center of a gem. This “Lone Star cut” was adopted as Texas’ “Official Gem Cut” in 1977.