Pearls And Radiation.

Q: I've heard that the latest and greatest colors of pearls in today's cool jewelry are created by subjecting pearls to radiation. Anybody know anything more about this? I have some coppery pearls I just love (not a natural color that I know of), but now I'm nervous I'll get cancer of the brainstem or something. How can I get educated about this?

A: Some are. The irridescent colors are, I think, due to irradiation. Other colors come about when there are pollutants in the water the oyster lived in. Irradiating something doesn't make it radioactive, generally speaking, so don't worry - your pearls aren't irradiating you (sort of like exposure to heat to change the color of a gem - the gem itself doesn't stay hot). Science. :) In general, things that are irradiated don't retain residual radiation. You might mention it to your doctor next time you visit him/her. I've never heard of anybody suffering any radiation from this source. I buy pearls in pretty big quantities and heard an interesting story from my pearl dealer, who not long ago, bought a pearl manufacturing business in China. He said that's the only one place that knows how to irradiate (sp?) pearls, and that they won't tell ANYBODY how they do it, and that all the pearl farmers have to send their pearls to this one company for treatment. Very clever, these Orientals. I love it!