Radioactive Green Diamond
The rarity of naturally colored green diamonds has created the demand for artificially irradiated green diamonds. One 2.42 ct green diamond recently examined by the author showed signs of radiation treatment by the use of radioactive salts (figure 1).
Microscopic analysis revealed telltale green mottled and shallow radiation stains over large areas of the stone, causing its green bodycolor (figure 2). These radiation stains were produced by exposing a cut and polished diamond to radioactive salts for an extended period. The inert to ultraviolet light radiation stains were easily visible against the diamond’s blue fluorescence seen in the DiamondView (figure 3).
Treatment using radioactive salts (such as radium) is not often used anymore, as this method may produce dangerously radioactive diamonds. Today, most artificially irradiated diamonds are treated with a low-energy electron beam (Spring 2013 Lab Notes, pp. 46–47). When tested with a Geiger counter, this stone was revealed to be weakly radioactive.