Gemstones & Pearls:Gemology
Detecting That Unhealthy Glow
'Who ya gonna call?' AGTA will market an affordable device to sniff
out gemstone radiation
A portable and inexpensive device to measure gemstone radiation will
be available soon through the American Gem Trade Association.
AGTA commissioned member Owen Bordelon to develop the device, called
GEMAlert, to fill a gap between what had been available on the low end of
the market and the very sophisticated and expensive equipment on the other
This means the nasty irradiated cat's-eye chrysoberyls that threw the
Far East into conniptions a few months ago could finally meet their equal.
Ditto for other gems that may contain invisible but harmful radiation
including treated topaz, diamond and red tourmaline and naturally
radioactive gems such as green zircon.
Bordelon says GEMAlert can scrutinize parcels of gems quickly, is 1,000
times more sensitive than typical survey-type counters (such as Geiger counters)
and can measure all forms of ionizing radiation (including ground and ambient
radiation). This last point means users will be able to calculate the ground-level
radiation and subtract it from the total for an accurate reading on gemstone
radiation (most conventional detectors measure only specific rays, such
as gamma rays).
GEMAlert will come with computer software running on DOS, Windows 3.1
or Windows 95. The software is designed to compute and display measurements
in average micro-Roentgen per hour on a scrolling bar graph. You can select
measurement periods from 10 seconds to several hours.
Included will be an explanation of how gemstone radiation levels compare
with other forms of radiation and what levels are considered acceptable.
AGTA plans to sell the instruments for about $800 each. For informa tion
about GEMAlert, call Bordelon at (504) 368-GEMS or AGTA at (214) 742-4367.
A prototype GEMAlert was on display at the Gemstone Enhancement Information
Booth at the AGTA GemFair in February. AGTA has established a budget for
the development of more instruments designed to help gem dealers and jewelry
by Robert Weldon, G.G. Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.