April Birthstone: Diamond
Color: A diamond can be found in any color in addition to colorless. Colored diamonds are created when impurities, such as nitrogen (yellow and brown) and boron (blue), bonded with the carbon when the diamond was formed. In order of rarity, the most common color of a diamond is yellow, followed by brown, colorless, blue, green, pink, orange, purple, with red being the rarest.
Origins: India, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Botswana, Australia, Northern Canada.
History: This gemstone takes its name from the Greek word adámas meaning unbreakable or invincible. Diamonds have been known to man and used as decorative items since ancient times; some of the earliest references can be traced to India in Sanskrit texts. Some historians estimate that India was trading in diamonds as early as the fourth century BC.
- The hardest gemstone of all diamond it is made of only one element—carbon. Most diamonds were formed more than a billion years ago deep inside the earth.
- The world’s largest rough white diamond ever found was the Cullinan which was cut into 9 major stones and 96 smaller ones. Uncut it was 3,106 carats and weighed 1.33 lbs! The “Star of Africa I” at 530.20 carats and its sister Star of Africa II at 317.40 carats are the largest of the stones cut from the Cullinan and are on display at the Tower of London.
- The largest faceted diamond is the Golden Jubilee at 545.67 carats cut as a rose cushion from a 755-carat piece of rough – it is a beautiful golden brown color.
- The Hope Diamond is an antique cushion cut 45.52-carat grayish-blue diamond cut from a 115 carat rough and resides here in the US at the Smithsonian Institute.
- The Aurora Diamond Collection also known as the Pyramid of Hope, currently displayed in the Natural History Museum of London, shows a spectacular array (296 stones/267.45 carats) of naturally colored diamonds, which occur in every color of the rainbow.
- The Blue Moon of Josephine a 12.08-carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond sold at auction at $48 million and the buyer purchased it for his 7-year-old daughter! You can see it here on the GIA site. The Oppenheimer Blue, a stunning 14.62-carat blue diamond sold for $57.5 million at Christie’s in May of 2016. Last year a 15.38-carat “Unique Pink” diamond sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva for $31.6 million. The breathtaking “Aurora Green” a Fancy Vivid green diamond sold at Christie’s in May 2016 for $16.8 million.
- In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny stated: “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones but of all things in this world.”An ancient Greek story about Eros, the god of love, tells how the god would shoot his diamond tipped arrows through a mortal’s heart and they would fall in love.
- Diamonds were thought to make the wearer fearless and invincible by ancient people.
- During the Dark Ages, it was believed that a diamond held in the hand while making the sign of the cross would heal wounds and cure illnesses.
- French Emperor Napoleon gave his wife, Josephine, a 234 diamond necklace when his son was born.
- In October 1979 geologist found the Argyle pipe near Lake Argyle, Western Australia and since then has become the world’s largest volume producer of diamonds, and alone is responsible for over a third of the world’s diamonds every year. At 12.76 carats the Argyle Pink Jubilee is one of the largest pink diamonds ever found in Australia.
Care: Because of its strong structural properties, steam and ultrasonic cleaners can be used. Some jewelers provide their customers with ammonia-based cleaning kits. While it is the hardest substance known to man, many people expect a diamond to be unbreakable. This is not true. A diamond’s crystal structure has “hard” and “soft” directions. A blow of sufficient force, in a very exact direction, can crack, chip, split or even shatter a diamond.