GemClear LP, an independent laboratory licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to test gemstones for radiation, said it has issued its first Exempt Distribution Certificate for mounted blue topaz to a Fifth Avenue jeweler.
GemClear has facilities in the U.S. and is planning to open operations in Bangkok and Hong Kong. The company said it is ready to receive existing unlicensed inventories—loose and mounted—for testing and clearing for legal distribution.
NRC regulations, revised in 2007, require all gemstones irradiated with neutrons or linear acceleration to be tested by a licensed facility to verify their safety for distribution in the U.S. The most common irradiated gem is blue topaz, though others, such as red and pink tourmalines, kunzite, morganite and many small treated fancy diamonds, may also be irradiated to enhance their color.
The NRC regulations are designed to protect the American consumer and jewelry workers from potentially dangerous amounts of residual radioactivity. No such levels have been detected in the U.S. market.
The Department of Homeland Security recently announced all airfreight entering the U.S. will be tested for radioactivity. GemClear said it has a Possession License, so it can receive gemstone packages that have been stopped by U.S. Customs. GemClear can then test them, hold them until they are legal, and release them for exempt distribution.