Feature Gems & Gemology, Fall 1992, Vol. 28, Issue 3

Unstable Radiation-Induced Yellow-Green Color in Grossular Garnet

Although conventional wisdom has been that irradiation will not alter the color of garnets, exposure of some colorless to pale-hued African grossulars to either 60Co or 137Cs gamma rays turns them light yellow-green. The resulting color is unstable and fades within hours to days in sunlight, and within weeks in the dark. The spectra of the radiation-enhanced garnets differ from those of similar-appearing naturally colored grossulars. In the dark, the irradiation-related absorption features undergo two stages of fading: an initial period of relatively rapid fading, followed by a longer period of slow fading. In daylight, a single rate of even faster fading is observed.