Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

is white/colorless zircon irradiated?

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Shamefully, I have no knowledge about this stone since I never considered using it. I assume that any zircon could have at least minimal radioactivity. However, it would work well for top stones for my new project (a pair of earrings). They are inexpensive. But how safe is it to wear them in my ears?
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Most colourless zircon has been heat treated. Most often it is by heating the brownish-red zircon in an oxygen-poor atmosphere which turns it either blue or colourless.

Nuking yellow zircon turns it bright green. Nuking colourless can turn them blue. Treatments are not always stable - but reheating can restore them sometimes.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
You can get natural ones.

I'm rather fond of zircon.

Plus, so many gemstones are nuked these days: quartz, aquamarine, tourmaline, topaz, diamonds... I think garnets aren't (yet) and not sure about spinels either...

ETA: Just checked my list... the following are sometimes treated by irradiation:

Beryls - Aquamarine can be nuked to turn it green, heated to turn it blue. Morganite can be nuked to turn it orange or increase the pink tone, heated to turn it pink or pinker. It can turn aqua very dark blue - that fades quickly if exposed to light. Goshenite (colourless beryl) can be nuked to turn it yellow... and yellow beryl can be heated to turn it colourless...

Quartz - Colourless can be nuked to turn it into smoky quartz, rose quartz or greenish yellow. Yellow or green quartz can be nuked to turn it into violet blue.

Topaz - colourless to blue (needs heat as well as irradiation)

Diamond - loads of different ones.

Chrysoberyl is also sometimes irradiated, ditto for corundum, spodumene (kunzite) and tourmaline...
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
most stones are "cooled" after radiation treatments to bring secondary release of emissions down to safe levels. Considering the process is very tightly regulated by most countries and international law, secondary exposure is almost unheard of. I have run into a few 'hot' stones over the years but none in the last 15 years, especially since 9/11, the USA Customs is a lot more sensitive about radiation levels for anything and everything.

I had a first hand encounter with this several years ago when I was bringing in some mineral specimens with Autunite crystals in them. I was detained for six hours before they could locate a USGS geologist to confirm that they were harmless and not going to be used to build a WMD.... but the rad detectors were screaming like crazy.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
MontageCreations|1306281849|2929522 said:
most stones are "cooled" after radiation treatments to bring secondary release of emissions down to safe levels. Considering the process is very tightly regulated by most countries and international law, secondary exposure is almost unheard of. I have run into a few 'hot' stones over the years but none in the last 15 years, especially since 9/11, the USA Customs is a lot more sensitive about radiation levels for anything and everything.

I had a first hand encounter with this several years ago when I was bringing in some mineral specimens with Autunite crystals in them. I was detained for six hours before they could locate a USGS geologist to confirm that they were harmless and not going to be used to build a WMD.... but the rad detectors were screaming like crazy.
Superb! Did the geologist laugh?

Just realised that I hadn't thought about you not wanting zircons in case they had been iradiated and were therefore dangerous. Nope, not dangerous as MC says.
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,710
crasru|1306268096|2929309 said:
Shamefully, I have no knowledge about this stone since I never considered using it. I assume that any zircon could have at least minimal radioactivity. However, it would work well for top stones for my new project (a pair of earrings). They are inexpensive. But how safe is it to wear them in my ears?
White zircon can be naturally colorless. Most any zircon I have worked with from East Africa, if you heat it too much will turn colorless. Nothing fancy is needed, actually most will go colorless just by holding them over the flame of an alcohol lamp if you let them get hot enough. The whole trick in heating zircon is getting finding the right temperature for the optimum color.
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
Pandora said:
Superb! Did the geologist laugh?

Just realised that I hadn't thought about you not wanting zircons in case they had been iradiated and were therefore dangerous. Nope, not dangerous as MC says.
As a mater if fact he did have a chuckle with me, but was mad at the customs agents for interrupting his dinner! :lol:
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Chiguys's Cushion Cut Engagement Ring
    Chiguys's Cushion Cut Engagement Ring
    Archduchess Eleonore von Habsburg and Jérôme d’Ambrosio Royal Wedding
    Archduchess Eleonore von Habsburg and Jérôme d’Ambrosio Royal Wedding
    August Birthstone 2020: Peridot
    August Birthstone 2020: Peridot

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top