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Fashion: Jewelry: Ring
Sparkling Po Engagement Ring*   (+6)  [vote for, against]
Jewelry with real sparkle.

Add sparkle to your sapphire ring by sandwiching a thin disk of Polonium-210 between the stone and the gold setting. This radioactive isotope decays to produce an alpha particle. When the alpha particle passes through the gem, it will produce an effect called scintillation - as each particle collides with the material of the gem, it produces a tiny flash of light. These flashes of light are strong enough to be seen individually by the unaided eye. In a dim light, your ring will seem to sparkle from within, like a sky full of shooting stars.

Of course, no matter how pretty it looks, no-one's going to wear it if it irradiates their finger. That's why I specified polonium-210. It has several properties that make it ideal for this use:
1) The only radioactivity it produces is alpha particles. These can be stopped by a thin sheet of paper. The chances of them penetrating a gold ring are about the same as the chances of you falling off a chair and ending up in Australia. (If you are already in Australia, please substitute appropriate far-side-of-the-world place)
2) The decay product of Po-210 is lead, which is not radioactive at all, so there's no danger of less benign daughter isotopes producing nasty hard-to-stop beta- or gamma-rays.

Finally, ok, I know there is a similar idea posted. [Link] But the aesthetic effect of this is completely different: instead of a constant uniform glow, you get an animated sparkle. I think this would be ideal for engagement rings: the half life of polonium would mean that the sparkle would fade away after a year or so, providing a nice visual analogy to marriage.

*Used to be Scintillating Gemstones. Renamed in honour of [Po]
-- spacemoggy, Jun 14 2004

Similar idea http://www.halfbake...a/Tritium_20Jewelry
Just to prove that I searched before posting. [spacemoggy, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

And another similar idea http://www.halfbake...t_20wedding_20rings
Almost missed this one. [spacemoggy, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

[Ling, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

please god we do this again next year, it has been so wonderful....
[po, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Monogamy & the Meadow Vole
Fascinating new biotech breakthrough, tuning "the adjustable nozzle atop a social-glue dispenser in the mammalian brain". [dpsyplc, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Sounds beautiful.
-- 5th Earth, Jun 14 2004

Oh, brilliant! Any way to get a picture posted as to what the effect would look like?
-- lcllam2, Jun 15 2004

So why not drill a hole into the sapphire with a laser, and place the Polonium inside?
Also Tritium could be sealed inside - I have a keyring and a watch that uses this technology. See link.
-- Ling, Jun 15 2004

Definite (+)
I read that last line as - a nice visual apology to marriage.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 15 2004

I love the chair example. +
Otherwise, perfectly insane, as polonium is 250 billion times as toxic as hydrogen cyanide.
-- ldischler, Jun 15 2004

you gonna squash me between a rock and a hard place?

idi, I resent that!
-- po, Jun 15 2004

I was originally planning to name this idea the 'Sparkling Po Engagement Ring', but was worried that *someone* might hit me with a trademark enfringement law-suit.
-- spacemoggy, Jun 16 2004

do what you like, moggy.

tonight on britain goes wild - there was a beautiful moment when a moggy decided to become a star!
-- po, Jun 16 2004

Renamed. And what are you doing in the closet anyway? Now is not the time to be arranging your shoe collection!
-- spacemoggy, Jun 16 2004

[po], got engaged? And didn't tell me?
-- k_sra, Jun 17 2004

Let me be the one to give this the 2.5 croissants it deserves. + Yaaaay!
-- sartep, Jun 18 2004

Congratulations, po, on your getting an engagement ring.
-- neelandan, Jun 18 2004

Second. Even if it's just a sparkling po engagement ring_tone -- for now.‡

‡All rights reserved 2004. Produced and supported in context of, a licensed infomarriage registrar.
-- dpsyplc, Jun 18 2004

It would be fairly simple to design a ring which would have a cavity which could be refilled with a fresh batch of PO-210 every 180 days. It could be semi-annual occasion for "rekindling the spark"... I can see the TV ads already...
-- ayt, Jun 18 2004

Actually, you can get (at enormous additional expense--but Po's worth it, isn't she?) isotopes that decay somewhat slower, but still fast enough to give that fancy ring some sparkle.
Polonium-209, for example, with a half-life of more than 100 years. Cost is actually within reason--$3000 per microcurie.
-- ldischler, Jun 18 2004

The jewelry stores will love that. "Remember the rule of thumb, 3 months salary for the ring, 2 for the radioactive material. You don't want your love to end up with a dull rock." (followed of course by "But I do, hence the ring.")
-- Worldgineer, Jun 18 2004

Diamonds are forever, but the sparkle has a half-life.
-- ldischler, Jun 18 2004

The hideous expense is part of the charm of the ring. With most things, cheaper is better, but with an engagement ring for some reason it's judged on the amount of lucre you have to fork out for it. I thought the convention was one month's salary, but 3 months, [Worldgineer]! I think you need to stand up to those jewelry store people.
-- spacemoggy, Jun 19 2004

I don't think the price of the ring can matter nearly as much as the way in which it's "delivered".
-- Pericles, Jun 19 2004

Oh, Thank god the silly tart has got herself hitched at last.
Only kidding - Congrats - Baby.
-- The Kat, Jun 19 2004

Wow - so much without notice, [po]! *blushes* - kick asshat. Right?
-- Letsbuildafort, Jun 20 2004

Po = Polonium. nought to do with me at all except a coincidence.

can we resume discussing the idea?
-- po, Jun 20 2004

Wow. Someone got your number right, then!
-- Letsbuildafort, Jun 20 2004

[moggy] Odd, I thought it was 2 or 3 months. Didn't matter to me really, at the time I was jobless and put my love's ring on a credit card. Though radioactive sparkles would likely have required a second credit card.
-- Worldgineer, Jun 21 2004

I have a sneaking suspicion this 'convention' was established by the diamond industry, so I don't attach too much weight to it. If you were jobless at the time, presumably your monthly salary was $0 and so any amount you spent on an engagement ring would be an infinite multiple of your salary. Although that argument probably wouldn't get you far unless you were marrying a mathematician.
-- spacemoggy, Jun 21 2004

Yeah, I married a lawyer - I don't get away with much.

She, like many I'd imagine, actually would have been happy with whatever I bought her. That was a slick fictional salesman I was quoting.
-- Worldgineer, Jun 21 2004

random, halfbakery