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The Change of Pearl Colors by the Irradiation with γ-ray or Neutron ray

Abstract

Pearls produced either in pearl oyster or in fresh-water mussel change their colors into black by the irradiation with either γ-ray or neutron rays. In this coloration, blackish pigment are found chiefly in the inserted nuclei of the pearls produced in fresh-water and of marine mollusks and also in the pearl layer of pearls produced in fresh-water mussel, but scarcely be found in those of the pearl layer of the pearls produced in Japanese pearl oyster. The insertion nucleus is made of pearl layer in shell of fresh-water clam.<BR> Both the pearl layer in shell or in pearl of fresh-water clam easily change its color from original to black by the irradiation. In order to clarify the mechanism of the coloration, the colored pearls were observed using the chemical and physical methods.<BR> In physical observation, in the colored pearls examined submicroscopically using electron microscope and x-ray diffractometer and heateffects, no physical differences can be found before and after the irradiation (Figure 1, 2, and Table II).<BR> In chemical observation, the shell of fresh-water clams contain comparatively larger amounts of Mn than those of marine ones (Table III).<BR> Those results shown in Table III suggest that the greater part of Mn in the shell of fresh-water clam really exists and its oxides caused by the irradiation are possibly due to the blackish color.

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