For those fortunate to be born in April, the most prized gemstone of all is their birthstone. For this month, diamonds truly are a girl’s (or a boy’s) best friend. Diamond is also the gem that marks the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries. For information on how to buy a diamond, check out our Diamond Buying Guide.
Diamond forms under high temperature and pressure conditions that exist only about 100 miles beneath the earth’s surface. Diamond’s carbon atoms are bonded in essentially the same way in all directions. Another mineral, graphite, also contains only carbon, but its formation process and crystal structure are very different. Graphite is so soft that you can write with it, while diamond is so hard that you can only scratch it with another diamond.
You probably already know of the diamond’s toughness. In fact, it’s the hardest gemstone and is made of just one element: carbon.
Its structure makes it 58 times harder than anything in nature and can only be cut with another diamond. While it’s become nearly synonymous with wedding engagements, it’s also the perfect stone for individuals who want something that’s just as appropriate for everyday wear as it is for special occasions.
Diamonds come in several colors, including yellow, red, pink, blue, and green, and range in intensity from faint to vivid. Generally speaking, the more saturated the color, the higher the value.
In fact, diamonds sparkling with intense color are rare and may be priced higher than a colorless diamond of equal size. Because fancy-color diamonds are very desirable, color is sometimes introduced in a laboratory. These are correctly called color-treated diamonds.
Its unique physical properties means it has the best possible luster of any gemstone when cut and polished well. So if you’re in the market for “sparkle,” the diamond is the gemstone for you.
Diamonds have been admired for centuries, and some historians estimate it was traded as early as 4 BC. One of the reasons it is so admired and valued is because of the process by which a diamond must be formed well below the earth’s crust, then forced upward until it is uncovered.
But before this process was understood, many ancient civilizations believed that diamonds were lighting made real on earth. Perhaps this is the reason that diamonds have often been associated with great healing powers. Many thought the diamond could cure brain disease, alleviate pituitary gland disorders and draw toxins from the blood.
Historically, the diamond first became a popular gemstone in India, when the Moghuls and Imperial Colony easily mined diamonds from deposits along three major rivers. Today, the diamond is most widely known as the stone to give as part of an engagement ring.
Throughout history, however, the diamond has nearly always symbolized eternal and lasting love. So whether you’re getting engaged, or simply want to give yourself a truly meaningful gift, the diamond has both beauty and enduring symbolism.