The Fascinating History Of Diamonds
THE BASICS ---
Diamonds are well known as the celebratory gemstone for engagements, weddings and anniversaries, but anyone with an April birthday has another reason to enjoy diamonds – these gems are their official birthstone. Diamonds may be the most familiar, well known and well-studied type of gem, but how much do you really know about this April birthstone?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW---
• About Diamonds
Diamonds are a solid form of elemental carbon, with a unique diamond cubic crystal structure that imparts great strength and hardness to the stone. This crystal structure was first discovered in these gems, hence sharing the name "diamond" both for the structure as well as the gemstone. Not only does the arrangement of the carbon atoms in the crystal lattice give the structure great resistance to compression forces, but the covalent bonds holding the atoms into formation also increase its strength. In fact, diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance in the world.
• About Formation
While the crystalline structure of carbon is naturally colorless, diamonds actually come in a range of different hues due to inclusions and impurities in their formation, as well as exposure to radiation that can change the stone's coloration. Highly desirable colors for diamonds include brilliant shades of yellow, red, pink, blue, green, black and brown, and stronger, more deeply saturated hues are the rarest and most valuable. Artificial treatments can also be used to create deep colors, but artificially treated stones are not as valuable as those that occur naturally.
• How Old Are Diamonds
All natural diamonds are believed to be 1-3.5 billion years old, and were formed deep beneath the earth's surface under conditions of great heat and pressure. Eventually, the stones were carried to the surface through magma movements and volcanic eruptions, and today diamonds can be mined in many places around the world. While the very first diamonds were discovered in India, mines today can be found in Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, Brazil and the United States. Africa also has a wide range of high quality diamond mines, and the gems are produced in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Angola, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
• Gemstone Diamonds
Despite the widespread locations of diamond mines, it must be noted that only about 20 percent of mined diamonds are considered gem-quality and could be used for jewelry, so these stones are still quite rare. The majority of diamonds have industrial uses, including adaptations for cutting, polishing and engraving tools as well as semiconductor use.
• Conflict FreeBecause of civil unrest in many diamond-producing nations, anyone interested in diamonds, particularly of gem quality, must take great care to ensure their stones are conflict-free and ethically sourced. Using only vintage and antique stones is a great way to do this, as those stones were originally mined long before modern conflicts created a trade for unethical blood diamonds.
• Diamond Symbolism
Diamonds are the ultimate symbol of love and romance, but not just any type of love. Because of the stone's strength and purity, it more appropriately symbolizes a deep, everlasting soul mate commitment, and is also associated with other romantic, true love qualities such as honesty, purity and innocence. These gems also frequently represent strength, courage and victory, as well as peace and endurance – all traits that can be desirable in a marriage or long-term commitment.
• Mystical Symbolism
Diamonds are believed to have different mystical properties, such as helping enhance clarity and eyesight. Folklore attributes different medicinal qualities to diamonds as well, such as curing heart problems, lessening depression, reducing fatigue and strengthening the immune system. Not only are diamonds associated with engagements and weddings, but they are also the official gemstone of the sixtieth wedding anniversary, also called the "diamond jubilee" anniversary.
• Diamond Rings and Jewelry
Diamonds have been used in adornments for thousands of years, though cut diamonds in jewelry are much more recent (only since about 1000 AD). In India, the first diamonds were part of religious icons, but the stones have also been used for warriors and soldiers hoping to gain the protection of the gem's strength. In the Middle Ages, diamonds were considered a masculine gem because of their association with invincibility and bravery, and it was considered inappropriate for women to wear any diamond jewelry.d.• Jewelry For Royalty
As cutting methods improved over the ages, jewelry-quality diamonds became more widespread, particularly in crown jewels and accessories for royalty. The first diamond engagement ring, in fact, was given from Archduke Maximilian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. Because diamonds remained rare and expensive, however, it wasn't until the mid-1900s – when greater deposits were discovered, cutting techniques became more refined and economies improved – that diamond engagement rings became more widespread.
Today, diamonds are popular in all types of jewelry, including pendants, cocktail rings, brooches, earrings, bracelets and more. With a wide range of diamond shapes to choose from, these stones can be found both as focal points in many different jewelry periods, from Edwardian rings to contemporary designs, as well as used as accent stones for gemstone rings.
Other April Birthstones
While diamonds are dazzling gems to celebrate April birthdays or any other special occasion this month, they aren't right for everyone. While diamond is the only official April birthstone, there are alternative unofficial stones that have other connections to the month and can be just as gorgeous. White sapphire, opal, white topaz and quartz are all additional options for April, or you can opt for stones associated with Zodiac signs. Those with an Aries birthday can connect to bloodstone, jasper or topaz, while Taurus birthdays are associated with sapphire, coral, turquoise, emerald and garnet. Using any of these symbolic stones and accenting them with diamonds would be a lovely way to combine all the symbolism of the month with all the beauty of its associated gems.
Find The Perfect Engagement Ring:
Antique diamond cuts are prized not only for their beauty but also for their exquisite attention to detailing and faceting. If you’re looking for a ring with a sense of glamour, sophistication and vintage charm, explore our collection of engagement rings today!