Working With Hyalite, A Mineral That Has Trace Amounts of Uranium.

Hyalite opal is an unusual gem that is beautiful in its own way. Many contain trace amounts of uranium which enable the gem to glow under a UV light. I have a small piece in my own collection that I scored at a gem show in Atlanta back in 2019. 

 

@johnnaaaaaaaaa

It would be cool if @rosie or @lilnasx would duet this tell me they like my glow in the dark art 😍🤩😇

♬ G.A.B - Gill (길) / BoA (宝儿)

 

Recently, I had a customer request a faceted gem wrapped into a ring. The stone wound up being way too small and I made the wrap focus on securing the gem so it wouldn’t fall. The result is best visible under a UV light as you can see in the image above.

 

In the video below, I show if the gem before and after the wrap. I study it under a jeweler’s loupe and used the Nitecore UV long wave light to show how it glows. However, this particular stone glowed faintly in the daylight–which is not that common. I didn’t have a Geiger counter so was unable to test and see if it emitted any counts per minute (CPM). 

 

 

CPM means counts per minute and measures radioactivity. It’s the number of atoms in a given quality of radioactive material that are detected to have decayed in one minute.

According to this website, they’ve tested a few radioactive minerals including Hyalite—they got theirs from the same mine my piece came from (Chalk Mountain Mine, Spruce Pine, NC) and the results showed that their Hyalite emitted a radioactivity level of 300 cpm.

One thing I will say that I learned from this experience is that I won’t be working with the super tiny gems. I have fat fingers and it was a miracle that I was able to wrap this one.

The gem in the photo below is the one I wrapped and this photo is magnified 30 times.

 

The photos below are the final ring. The first one is without the UV light. It was also taken outside in daylight. You can see the stone’s natural greenish tint. Hyalite is clear to white in normal daylight but this one has small glow to it and I think that's due to the intensity of the stone---some Hyalites may have more uranium content in them than others. 

The second photo is the same ring under the UV light. I took these photos outside, however in the shade so you could see the difference the UV light has on the gem. 

One Hyalite that I originally purchased for this piece barely glowed--so I kept it and brought the them you see in the photos. Although uranium is pretty deadly, the amounts in these opals are very low and from what I can tell (researching online) is that it’s pretty safe to wear as jewelry. I’ve had my own first piece hyalite for over a year and I’m perfectly fine. 

 

 

Hyalite Jewelry For Sale

I do have a few pieces of hyalite jewelry for sale such as these pendants here below. Click here to buy.  The pendants are safe to wear. The gloves were just to protect my hands from the UV light.