April's Birthstone : Diamond
April! What a wonderful month! The weather is getting warmer, flowers are beginning to bloom and if you are lucky enough to have been born during this glorious month then you have the king of the gemstones, the diamond, as your birthstone.
The word diamond comes from the Greek and means “invincible" which is fitting since diamonds are one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals on Earth. They have high refraction, unusual brilliance, intense fire and while traditionally known as a classic colorless stone, diamonds naturally occur in a variety of colors.
Today, clear fancy-colored and opaque earthy-colored diamonds have reached a new popularity.Available in hues of pink, red, yellow, blue, green, browns and greys -- all ranging in different levels of intensity, the more saturated the color, the higher the value. Because intensely colored diamonds are very rare many of the stones sold today have been chemically treated and technically should be marketed as “color-treated diamonds.” When considering the purchase of a shaded diamond it’s important to ask if any color enhancements have been added. Although, round Brilliant cut diamonds are the most popular, antique cut diamonds are also gaining popularity again, such as Rose cut, Old Mine cut and European cut.
In ancient times, diamonds were believed to hold magical powers against poisoning, devils and phantoms and were worn during battle as a symbol of strength and courage. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian of Austria was the first in recorded history to give a diamond as a promise of marriage when he presented a diamond ring to his intended, Mary of Burgundy. Jump ahead five hundred years and in 1947, De Beers (a South African company that is the world's largest producer and distributor of diamonds) launched its now classic advertising slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.” Thus solidifying the tradition of proposing with a diamond engagement ring in many cultures all around the world.
Diamonds are made up of simple carbon atoms which have been under the perfect conditions to create crystal formations. These perfect conditions involve immense pressure and extreme heat.
- For Earth-mined diamonds, these "perfect conditions" occurred deep inside the Earth between 1 billion and 3.3 billion years ago. Deep source volcanic activity brings them closer to the surface where they are then mined.
- Scientists have been able to create these "perfect conditions" in laboratories for over 50 years for industrial uses. However the technology has greatly improved over the last decade and now many lab grown diamonds are jewelry quality gemstones. Unlike Earth-mined diamonds, these Lab-grown diamonds take weeks to produce instead of billions of years.
Today the beauty of this sparkling gemstone looks fabulous no matter the piece or the price range! From a small simple stud earring to an antique brooch to a cocktail ring with a stone the size of a marble, diamonds truly are anyone's best friend!
- Diamonds always a perfect birthstone for the lucky April baby
Diamonds are of course the traditional gift of betrothal, but it is also the customary 60th and 75th wedding anniversary gift.
Origins: Although diamonds were first mined mainly in India, most of the mined diamonds discovered today are from Australia, Africa, Canada and Russia.
Diamond Care: With a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, diamonds are very durable and ideal for everyday wear. Caring for the gem is easy. Use warm water, mild dish soap and a toothbrush to scrub behind the gemstone where dirt can collect. Ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaning are usually safe options. With that said, don't neglect your diamond jewelry : Read about caring for your Engagement Ring.
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