Friday, March 31, 2017

Diamond - The "Forever" Stone

Birthstones Series - April Diamond

Diamond is the official birthstone for the month of April as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912.  It is also considered to be the birthstone for Aries and accepted as the 10th and 60th wedding anniversary presents.

The diamond signifies love, eternity, strength and everlasting affection so it comes as
Mary of Burgundy, Maximillian of Austria
and the first diamond engagement ring on record  
no surprise that
this stone is gracing the engagement rings of women everywhere.  It is believed that the tradition of the diamond engagement ring originated from a Roman custom in which wives wore rings attached to small keys, indicating their husband’s ownership.  It wasn’t until 1477, that Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring on record for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. This sparked a trend for diamond rings among European aristocracy and nobility.   

Composed of carbon, the diamond is not only the hardest precious gemstone, but also the hardest known natural substance on earth, ranking at number 10 on the Mohs scale. Its structure makes it 58 times harder than anything in nature and can only be cut with another diamond. That fact, combined with its brilliant fire and exceptional luster, has made the diamond one of the most prized gemstones in the world.  In 1870 South Africa became the highest producer of diamonds, although Australia is currently the main source, as well as Botswana, Brazil, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zaire, and the US.

Most diamonds form under extreme pressure and at very high temperatures, typically at depths of over 100 miles inside Earth's mantle. On average, diamond formation occurs over periods of 1 to 3.3 billion years, until they are surfaced through deep volcanic eruptions of a rare type of magma called kimberlite.

The name diamond was taken from the Greek word “adamas” meaning invincible, a sheer testament to its remarkable and superior hardness. The superlative physical qualities of diamond are credited to the strong covalent tetrahedral bonding between its transparent crystals. Each individual carbon atom is connected to four other carbon atoms, all of which are very closely packed. This formation yields a remarkably strong three-dimensional cubic structure. Diamond's cubic crystal pattern is also completely symmetrical, which allows it to refract light in all directions at the same velocity.

Colored Diamonds
Diamonds are traditionally colorless or white. This is the most desired state of the stone and also the rarest.  Because of the way Diamonds form from gases underground, it is rare for them not to be cloudy or have a tint of yellow or brown.  Colorless diamonds are the cleanest and sparkle the most, which is what most people prefer.  However, there are other tints such black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow.  The color is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen, while the blue ones contain boron.

Although it is a gem of winter, the color of ice, Diamond is a crystal of Light; its high frequency energy is dispersed into flashing prisms of brilliant “fire” that reminds us of the sun. It is a spiritual stone, a symbol of perfection and illumination, activating the Crown and Etheric Chakras. It enhances inner vision and stimulates creativity, imagination, and ingenuity, opening the mind to the “new” and “possible.”

Diamonds are graded by what the market calls the Four C's: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. The quality of the cut, the color, the lack of impurities, and the size/weight, are the standards that dictate the value for each stone.

The ancient Hindus believed that diamonds were created by lightning bolts that struck the Earth. Greek legends entail that diamonds are the tears of the Gods, star splinters and crystallized lightening.

The world's most precious gem is said to represent faith, loyalty, honesty, purity, love and innocence, and bestow on the wearer peace and fulfilling relationships. It is believed to inspire creativity in individuals and bring its owner protection, wealth and happiness.

As Frances Gerety wrote for an advertising campaign for De Beers in 1947, "A Diamond is Forever"!

Happy Birthday to all of those born in April!

Sources:  Gem Select, Crystal Vaults and American Gem Society. Thank you!  


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