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colored crystalline gem, late 13c., from Old French topace (11c.), from Latin topazus, from Greek topazos, topazion, of obscure origin. Pliny says it was named for a remote island in the Red or Arabian Sea, where it was mined, but this might be folk etymology from Greek topazein "to divine, to try to locate;" linguists conjecture a connection with Sanskrit tapas "heat, fire." In the Middle Ages used for almost any yellow stone. To the Greeks and Romans, possibly yellow olivine or yellow sapphire. In modern science, fluo-silicate of aluminum.
Heb. pitdah (Ezek. 28:13; Rev. 21:20), a golden yellow or "green" stone brought from Cush or Ethiopia (Job 28:19). It was the second stone in the first row in the breastplate of the high priest, and had the name of Simeon inscribed on it (Ex. 28:17). It is probably the chrysolite of the moderns.