It is true that even the most naturally obtained gemstones have to be exposed to some kind of radiation to make them look super cool. This process is called Irradiation and it is done by bombarding a stream of gamma rays at the crystal structure of the gemstone. It indeed makes the gems radioactive. Let us find out if the irradiated gemstones are anyway harmful to the consumers.
Which stones are irradiated?
Topaz is the most commonly irradiated gemstone. Blue topaz gemstone is one of the rarest gems, and is often manufactured synthetically. Nearly 28 million carats (which is roughly 6000 kilograms) of topaz are irradiated each year, globally. USA leads the source, followed by Germany, Poland and Thailand.
Other gemstones usually found in their irradiated states are yellow, blue, green and pink diamond gemstone. Quartz and amethyst beads are also exposed to radiation at some point of time in their life cycle. Goshenite, golden beryl and Heliodor are popular beryls available exclusively in irradiated states. Black pearls extracted after 1970, are either dyed or are irradiated to look stunning.
So with so many precious gemstones exposed to radiation, it is obvious that consumers need to know to what extent they are susceptible to any hazard.
Is there any way gemstones are regulated in the market?
Yes. All irradiated gemstones have to be necessarily given a certificate from the regulating agencies in the respective countries. All gem producing and gem treatment nations have strict regulations to monitor the radioactivity levels in the irradiated gemstones, whether natural or artificial.
Here are some precious and semi-precious gemstones that have been ranked among radioactive items.
Despite their radioactive state, they are deemed safe for use on a daily basis.
Who testifies for irradiated gemstones in the market?
Irradiation is a very commercial process for manufacturing gemstones. The finished items have to be approved by Federal Trade Commission. Other prominent professional organizations are American Gem Trade Association, The World Jewellery Confederation and International Coloured Gemstone Association.
How to tell ifthe gemstone is irradiated?
A gemstone seller can’t sell irradiated items without necessary certification. One of the most recognised certification comes from United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Physically, it is very difficult for even the experts to tell whether the gem has been irradiated naturally, or in a reactor or in an accelerator. The certificate, followed by a testing with survey meter is the only way any lay person can adjudge the gemstones as irradiated or not.
Are they safe for daily wear?
Yes. The irradiated gemstones belong to the family of birthstones, and the customer is required to wear it daily for effective healing and metaphysical benefits. Irradiated gemstones don’t radiate back. The effect of irradiation is exhibited through the change in colour due to the distortion in the crystal structure. The change in colour is permanent and so is the non-radioactive state of the gemstones.
Hence, irradiated gemstones are absolutely hazard-free.