We continue our monthly birthstone feature with April’s gem, the diamond. Known for representing everlasting love – especially in engagement rings – diamonds also signify courage. Wearing diamonds is alleged to bring benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance. Sometimes called the “King of all Birthstones,” diamonds make an ideal choice for an April birthday gift.
History of Diamonds
Taking their name from a variation of the Greek word adamas, meaning “invincible,” diamonds have been considered precious since ancient times. First discovered in India’s rivers and streams, diamonds found their way into ancient Greece and Rome through roaming armies and trade caravans. The Roman naturalist Pliny declared: “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”
In medieval times, diamonds became a preferred gem of European royalty and nobility. In 1477, Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the first known diamond engagement ring for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. This sparked a trend for diamond rings among European aristocracy and nobility.
India’s diamond supply began to decline in the early 1700s. Brazil became the top diamond supplier for the next 150 years, until large diamond deposits were discovered in Africa in the late 1800s. This discovery coincided with increasing affluence among the upper and middle classes in Europe and the Americas, creating a growing demand for luxury goods such as diamonds. After World War II, the diamond became the preferred gemstone for engagement rings.
Although diamonds have been discovered on almost every continent, they remain incredibly rare and valuable. Most diamond mines contain only one part diamond for every million parts of other rock. Diamonds can only form under specific temperature and pressure conditions. The vast majority of the diamonds we have today were formed more than a billion years ago, deep within the earth’s mantle. These almost perfectly formed crystals then survived violent rapid volcanic eruptions that brought them close to the Earth’s surface, where they could be found or mined.
Diamonds are the hardest material on earth, coming in at 58 times harder than any other natural material. In fact, the only thing that can scratch the surface of a diamond is another diamond. Another thing that sets diamonds apart is that they are the only gems to be made entirely from a single element, carbon. All other gemstones feature a mixture of elements in their makeup.
Why We Love Diamonds
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” Marilyn Monroe famously croons in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. And no wonder! No other gem sparkles quite like a diamond, thanks to its high refractive index and the way light dances from facet to facet as the gem moves in the light.
Diamonds have long been symbols of love and romance, and their rarity makes them all the more special. Formed by nature and perfected by man, each diamond is unique. The manufacturing and cutting process involves a true labor of love, as highly skilled diamond cutters vie to create the largest and most beautiful gem from each rough diamond pulled from the earth.
Because diamonds are relatively tough and long-lasting, their sparkle is suitable for daily wear. With regular cleaning, most diamonds will look as good as new for years to come. Just bring your diamond jewelry to a reputable jeweler periodically for cleaning and inspection to make sure the setting is secure.
Diamonds have long been used in adornments for royalty. The largest colorless cut diamonds in the world – the Cullinan I and Cullinan II – can be found in Britain’s Crown Jewels. Cullinan I is mounted in the head of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, while Cullinan II is mounted in the Imperial State Crown.
The 45.52-carat Hope Diamond is perhaps the most famous gemstone in the world. The diamond’s beautiful deep blue-gray hue is attributed to trace amounts of boron atoms in its makeup. Originating in India, it was variously known as the “Tavernier Blue” and “French Blue.” Once owned by the King of France, it disappeared during the French Revolution. Eventually, it came into possession of a London banking family named Hope in 1839. After going through several more owners, the Hope Diamond was donated to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in 1953. It was last reported to be insured for $250 million.
Colored diamonds are a growing trend in the jewelry industry. Known as fancy diamonds, these colorful gems in hues of yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, green, brown, gray and black are the rarest of them all, representing only about one in 10,000 diamonds. Although all natural fancy colored diamonds are extremely rare, none is more so than the red diamond. Only a relative handful of true red diamonds have ever been discovered, and they tend to weigh less than a carat. The largest known red diamond, the Moussaieff Diamond, weighs 5.11 carats.
One of the most unique diamonds has to be “Lucy,” a star located about 50 light-years from earth in the Constellation Centaurus. This burned out corpse of a star named BPM 37093 is actually a 10-billion-trillion-trillion-carat diamond! After it was discovered in 2004, astronomers nicknamed the space diamond after the Beatles song, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”
Suitable for Any Occasion
We’re sure that you can come up with millions of occasions to spoil that special someone in your life with a beautiful piece of diamond jewelry. From diamond engagement, wedding and right-hand rings to classic diamond stud earrings, pendants, bracelets and more, diamonds lend their eternal fire to a wide variety of jewelry styles, tastes and budgets.
Whether your loved one has a birthday this month or not, you can never go wrong with custom diamond jewelry. Bob, Theresa or one of our associates will be happy to assist you in creating the perfect piece of diamond jewelry to suit your loved one’s taste and style. Stop by our shop today to create custom jewelry at affordable prices.