Notes on "Atomic Faceting".

Monazite and other thorium and uranium minerals sometimes exist as facet grade material. Whether or not they should be cut is up to the facetor..I cannot imagine anyone wanting to wear them for long. But often, uranium minerals exist in brilliant colors, and the high refractive indices can give interesting optical performance.

There are some important things to keep in mind if you elect to cut these materials:
Studies on the lung cancer rate among uranium miners prompted much concern about radon as an indoor environmental hazard. Massachusetts residents have been reported to receive 475 MilliReM/ Year due to the inhalation of fine particles which coalesce around the charged particles resulting from the decay of Radon 222 and Radon 220 (Thoron, from the decay of natural 232Th). Recently, the studies have been attacked because most of the miners were smokers, making the whole point arguable, but the DEQE is still enforcing certain standards. A reminder that Polonium isotopes, daughters of Uranium and Thorium, are present in superphosphate fertilizers used for tobacco growing, (and everything else), and have been implicated in tobacco-related cancers. Nuff Said.

In gemcutting, fine dusts and mists are generated.

If you are going to work with these materials safely, you need:

1: A Bureau of Mines (MSHA/NIOSH) approved respirator rated for use with radionuclides.

2: A surface contamination monitor (Alpha).

3: A knowledge of Good Laboratory Practices and decontamination of the equipment.

4: A way of disposing of the resulting mixed waste.

Under current NRC Regulations (Which may be changed) you may posses up to 100 MicroCuries of a naturally occurring isotope of low specific activity. (For U and Th, these are astounding quantities..something like 80 Pounds!)
Or, you can ignore all this, and do what you want, at your risk. And if you get caught shipping this stuff UPS Air, it's *Game Over*. Normally, I make a few special rough goodies available to my online rock buddies, but not this time. (Lawyer Stuff).

Let's Talk.

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