UpFront

Dangerous Rubies Enter the U.S. Look out for radioactive rubies. They appear normal, but you shouldn’t touch them. The little beauties are dangerous to your health. The rubies reportedly come from the same nuclear reactor in Indonesia that produced the radioactive cat’s-eye chrysoberyls we wrote about in January. A number of rubies were examined by Mahardi Paramita, the director of the Gemological Institute of Indonesia in Jakarta, who notified the International Colored Stones Association in New York. An alert went out in May. At that time, only five or six orangy-red rubies had been detected with high levels of radiation. According to Paramita, they have “a brownish tint, looking very much like African stones.” No one knows how many treated stones have entered the United States since the alert, and there’s no way to distinguish them from others without testing fo
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