Irradiated Gems and Pearls-do they tick?

I was at a show this last weekend where a slightly tipsy woman read
the riot act to a fellow jeweler for having irradiated topaz. (As it
turned out his was not…but that’s beside the point.) She claimed
it was dangerous to have in the studio, to sell, to work with etc. He
handled it very well and she soon moved off.

I have been asked about my irradiated fresh water pearls. I have
been lead to understand they are “okay” and not “ticking” as this
woman claimed. What is the real deal on irradiated gems and pearls?
they tick as Ms. Tipsy claimed, or are they safe as I have been told?



Hi, Karla,

What is the real deal on irradiated gems and pearls? 

It is the difference between “irradiated” and “radioactive”. You,
yourself, have been irradiated if you’ve ever had an x-ray… or
gone out in the sun, for that matter.



Short answer NO, long answer, If they “Tick” the
gamma emitter got inside somehow and they are contaminated. Some
foods now are sterilized with gamma emitters, things which would not
normally survive without refrigeration now have a shelf life at room
temperature by killing the bacteria which would cause them to spoil.

What got me to looking at this were fishing hanging in stores in
Japan without refrigeration, some had been there for months in a
plastic bag and were still safe to eat.


Is this the lady who claims to receive messages from outer space
through the amalgam fillings in her teeth? Irradiation does not
necessarily mean radioactivity. Heat treatment can also be
classified as irradiation.