A friend of mine was going through some old stuff in his attic and found something labelled “atomic glass.” Since it looked like a yellow gem, he gave it to me. (By the way, it’s preformed to a nice, big emerald cut). Any ideas what it could be? It’s heavy and seems to be leaded glass. What precautions should I take in cutting it? Any worries with fine mists, dusts, or anything like that? Another friend told me it might be a piece of glass from a nuclear testing site! Any guidance would be appreciated.

Test Your Uranium Glass Before Cutting

From your description, it sounds like you have a piece of uranium glass. I’m almost certain it’s not glass from a nuclear test site. (From what I know about the glass that was formed during nuclear detonations, you wouldn’t be able to find a gem-quality piece large enough to facet). When present in glass, uranium imparts a yellow color and makes it very heavy.

It would be a VERY BAD idea to cut uranium glass without knowing more about your piece. Most uranium glass is fairly innocuous, but some of it is quite radioactive. In fact,…