April's birthstone is the sparkling diamond. Just like spring, diamonds stand out for their ability to look full of color. Colorless or clear diamonds have the most value, but diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. White diamonds are the most valuable; when polished these diamonds become nearly colorless.
Diamonds were known in ancient Rome and Greece. The name diamond comes from the ancient Latin term for hardest metal. Although diamonds are carbon, not metal, they are the hardest substance found on earth. The ancient Romans believed that Cupid's arrow tips are diamond, beginning the association between diamonds and love. In India, the word for diamond was varja or lightning. In India, there was a belief that diamonds formed when lightning struck a rock. Other beliefs surrounding diamonds include that carrying a diamond means that one cannot be defeated in battle. In the Middle Ages, the belief existed that diamonds could actually draw poisons from the body. People slept with diamonds in hopes of being cured of illness while they slept.
The first recorded diamond engagement ring was given in 1477 to Mary of Burgundy by the Archduke of Austria. Diamonds have long been associated with the nobility and often graced jewelry and ceremonial swords. In the 1500s, when diamond cutting techniques were discovered by jewelers, diamonds took on a new value as they became clearer and able to reflect light in the same way still seen in today's sparkling diamonds. A number of diamonds became quite famous throughout history and earned their own name.
The largest known white diamond is the Star Africa or Cullinan I, found in 1905 in the Premier Mine near Pretoria, South Africa. Nine other larger diamonds came from the uncut diamond. The largest one, weighing 530.4 carats, is the Star Africa and is found on the scepter of the crown jewels of the British empire. Cullinan II is also part of the crown jewels of Britain, set in a crown worn by several queens of England. All nine pieces from the Cullinan Diamond eventually united again in the crown jewels of the United Kingdom.
The Star Africa is the second largest diamond since the 1985 discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, which weighed 545.67 carats after processing. This diamond, however, is not a white diamond, but a brown diamond with yellow highlights. This diamond became a gift for the King of Thailand for his Golden Jubilee, and its name comes from this event. Today, it is among the crown jewels of Thailand.
The most famous colored diamond is the Hope Diamond, now found at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. This blue diamond weighs in at 45.52 carats and was part of the Blue of France diamond. One time owned by the French monarchy, then Napoleon, this beautiful blue diamond became associated with bad luck and disappeared during the French Revolution. The Hope Diamond is a smaller diamond cut from the original stone. It was finally given to the museum for safekeeping.
Today, Africa is the main source of diamonds, and large numbers of carats are still obtained each year. Not all diamonds are gem quality; these diamonds become part of industrial drills and sanding wheels due to their hardness. The largest miner of diamonds is De Beers Company, headquartered in South Africa and London. Most raw diamonds make their way through Antwerp, Belgium, whose Diamond District is the center of the international diamond industry.
Today, diamonds are one of the most popular birthstones. If April is your birth month, and you are looking for the perfect birthstone, contact us about creating the perfect piece of jewelry for you. Since we hand make all of our jewelry, your birthstone will be a quality piece of jewelry with a truly unique design that you will be proud to wear.Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo