Diamond - the April Birthstone
What is the April birthstone?
The April birthstone is the diamond, a white or clear symbol of strength and everlasting love. Diamonds have always been one of the most prized gemstones over the millennia of human civilization. They are associated with beauty, strength, courage, and royalty. In Hindu mythology, they were connected with kings and gods. As such, the April birthstone marks out those born in April as persons in control, or as people with authority.
With its enduring beauty, clarity, and shimmer, diamond is a classic that is believed to provide the wearer with emotional balance and clear-headedness. As the hardest of all gemstones, those who don diamonds can experience increased perseverance and inner strength.
Diamond is made from pure carbon, the same material that can be found in the graphite of a pencil or coal.
The April birthstone is formed deep inside the earth - nearly 100 miles (161 km) down - where carbon is exposed to temperatures greater than 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (1,482 Celsius) and pressure greater than 65,000 times that found on the surface. Under the extreme heat and compression, the carbon is transformed over billions of years, into the sparkling, fiercely hard gemstone that has been prized by humans for thousands of years.
The glittering April birthstone is not only beautiful, it is the hardest naturally occurring substance known to man - 58 times harder than anything else in nature!
Among its other characteristics is its ability to split white light into the seven colors of the rainbow, a process known as diffraction. This is what gives diamond the sparkle that makes it such a delightful gem.
Diamonds have been mined and traded in India since the 4th century BC, through to the 1400s, when the gemstone was sold as far afield as Venice and other large European cities. The Indian supplies declined in the 1700s. Brazil then took over as the largest supplier until the 1800s, when South Africa became the largest source of diamonds after the discovery of a large deposit in Kimberly in the 1860s. Other important sources of diamonds include Russia, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Lesotho.
What is the color of the April birthstone?
Diamonds are typically known to be colorless or 'white', but the most common colors are yellow and brown.
Golden and brownish hues are owed to traces of nitrogen impurities present in the gaseous surroundings during the formation of diamond.
Brown and yellow diamonds are often referred to as 'champagne' or 'cognac' diamonds. Other diamond colors include pink, red, orange, blue, green, gray and black; these are referred to as fancy diamonds. Blue diamonds are colored by boron impurities, while other fancy colors are the result of irradiation and in some cases, crystal lattice defects.
The official color grading system for colorless to low-saturation yellow and brown diamonds ranges in scale from 'D' (completely colorless) to 'Z' (light-yellow). For example, diamonds graded D, E and F are at the top of the color grading scale and form the colorless range. The next group is the near colorless range, and consists of the letter grades G, H, I and J. Diamonds graded with letters from K to Z have a faint to light yellow color.
Nonetheless, due to its rarity, the traditional diamond is white, or colorless. Diamonds will inevitably take on a tint of brown or yellow from their gaseous environment which means the pure white dimond is less common compared to brownish and yellowish tones. The rarest diamonds are the fancy colored ones such as green, blue, pink, red, and yellow, they also may be more expensive depending on their intensity. Overall, the more intense the color of the diamond combined with its clarity, the higher the price it could command, given that such gemstones are very rare.
As such, sparkling diamonds with intense colors could be priced higher than white or colorless diamonds of the same size.
Since fancy colored diamonds are rare and in high demand, the color may be introduced in the lab, resulting in what is known as color-treated diamonds.
Clarity is another characteristic of diamond that is taken into consideration with diamonds. These April birthstones are rated on a scale from internally flawless (IF), meaning that it has no inclusions, to heavily included (I3). To get some perspective, slightly included (SI) diamonds, in the middle of the scale, have inclusions that can be seen under 10x magnification, though not with the naked eye.
The history of the April birthstone
Diamond is believed to have been one of the 12 gemstones worn on the breastplate of Aaron. Each of these stones represented one of the tribes of Israel, and were believed to have magical and spiritual energies that could be drawn upon to protect the wearer.
On the Indian subcontinent, diamonds were valued highly as Sanskrit texts - as old as 400 BC - tell of the significance and value of diamonds, particularly for kings and the wealthy. According to Hindu astrology, the April birthstones were associated with Venus. In Roman times, the jewels were associated with Mars, which is probably the reason soldiers wore diamond amulets for protection and strength when going to war.
Indian diamonds found their way to markets in Venice and other places in Europe, where they were purchased by the elite and wealthy in the second millennium AD. However, the April birthstone had been a highly prized jewel in Europe long before then. Pliny, the Roman naturalist, speaking in the first century AD, said that diamond is not only the most valuable of precious stones, but also the most precious of all things. In fact, during the Middle Ages (the 5th to 15th centuries), diamonds were believed to have healing powers and were used to treat anything from mental illness and fatigue, to kidney stones and glaucoma.
Throughout their history, diamonds have been associated with prosperity and wealth, and have been worn by the powerful as a symbol of invincibility.
The April birthstones were also deemed mystical gems, from which queens and kings could draw power. In Sanskrit texts, diamond is associated with lightning, the weapon of Indra, the Vedic king of heaven. It thus bears the name Vajra, the name given to lightning in Hindu mythology.
Diamonds were first used as decorative items since their discovery in India, anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 years ago, when they adorned the necks of kings to symbolize courage and strength. By the mid-1400s, the increasing wealth of Europe meant that even the wealthy, who were not royalty, could afford them. Over time, they also took on the connotation of love and everlasting beauty when, in 1477, Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy. This began a long tradition of the April birthstone's association with engagement rings.
However, diamonds remained out of reach of the common people until the early 1800s. The 19th century was a time of affluence that perfectly coincided with the discovery of the largest diamond mine in Kimberly, South Africa. It was during this time that Hollywood entered its golden age and diamonds became a status symbol that set apart the most glamorous film stars, such as Marilyn Monroe, who wore her diamonds on the silver screen. In modern times, they have become a common accessory for the middle and upper classes who use them mostly as engagement rings.
What is the spiritual meaning of diamonds?
Acknowledged by many as the "King of all Birthstones", diamond honors April as the birthstone for this month, according to both traditional and modern birthstone lists. The diamond is one of the most analyzed gemstones in the world, with miners, gemologists, and consumers studying the stone, looking to enhance and duplicate the qualities of this natural wonder.
It has long been associated with loyalty, love, commitments, relationships, and bonding. This is why it has been used as the ultimate love gift in engagement rings and jewelry worn by everyone from celebrities to royalty and the elite. It is believed to bring happiness, health, wealth and abundance as well as bestow clarity and balance.
The name of this April birthstone, diamond, is derived from the Greek word adamas, which may be translated as "invincible", "unconquerable", or "proper".
Clearly, diamond's invicibility and unparalleled hardness - unmatched by any other natural material found on Earth - was understood by the ancients who named diamond.
Diamond's hardness has also made them a symbol of courage and strength that could help bring victory to those going to war. For their beauty, diamonds are a symbol of eternal love, which has made them the number one gemstone used in engagement rings and other gifts of affection all across the globe. As such, diamonds are a great gift for a person born in April, to show them how courageous and strong they are, or to show how strong and eternal your love is.
Ancient Hindu scriptures referred to the diamond as the "Colorless Stone". Hindus believed that it was a representation of innocence, love, purity, faith, honesty, and loyalty that would bestow fulfilling relationships and peace upon the wearer. It is also said to inspire creativity in individuals who wear diamond jewelry.
The lofty traits of the diamond are a tribute and reflection of the character of the stone. Unmatched in its hardness and brilliance, diamond has very little inclusion, making them transparent and clear - prized virtues sought after in women and men. Therefore, diamond makes a perfect piece of jewelry for a person seeking to showcase beauty, purity, and strength. This was the reason it was worn by warriors and kings who saw it as a symbol of courage, resilience, and endurance.
The April birthstone is also known as "the love stone". According to the ancient Romans, the tips of Cupid's arrows were made of diamond and could penetrate even the most resilient of hearts.
This could possibly be the origin of the association between romantic love and diamonds. It is believed that diamonds enhanced the honesty and longevity of relationships. For the Greeks, the reflection of a diamond symbolizes the eternal love between the giver and receiver.
The healing properties of the April birthstone
The diamond has long been believed to have emotional, physical and psychological healing powers.
The diamond as an energy amplifier:
Diamonds are believed to amplify energy, thus imparting endurance, strength and energy to the wearer, enabling them to power through calamity. Used in combination with crystals such as amethyst, they will amplify the power of crystal energy generated.
The diamond detoxes and purifies:
The April birthstone detoxifies and purifies the body systems, treats chronic conditions and allergies, builds up stamina, and rebalances metabolism. Gemstone healers claim that diamond alleviates or treats vertigo, dizziness, eyesight issues, and glaucoma.
Diamonds connection to the brain and pituitary gland:
Since the Middle Ages, the diamond has been used to cure issues with the pituitary gland and the brain. The gemstone was heated and taken to bed, where it was believed to draw out harmful toxins from the brain and the body. It would thus enhance individual balance, clarity of thought, and purpose.
What is the durability of the April birthstone?
The hardness of diamond:
The concept of durability is comprised of three factors: hardness (resistance to scratching), toughness (resistance to chipping, cracking and breakage), and stability (resistance to chemical or environmental shock).
On the Mohs hardness scale (an index from 1- the softest- to 10 - the hardest), diamond is at 10, where it sits alone as the hardest natural substance on earth and can only be scratched by another diamond.
The toughness of diamond:
All gemstones are considered brittle to some degree; this means that they can be easily cleaved. Diamond has perfect cleavage, which means that it is easily cut; however, this is only the case along cleavage planes, where the atoms are farther apart and more loosely bonded together. Any force directed perpendicularly to those planes, will not succeed in chipping, cracking or breaking the diamond so easily. Overall, the toughness of diamond is rated as good, a grade that is in the middle of the toughness scale.
The stability of diamond:
High temperatures do not tend to affect the color and clarity of diamonds, although it is important to avoid thermal shock (rapid changes in temperature). Such conditions can cause fractures in any crystalline structure, include diamond's. Also, will burn at about 1562°F (850°C). House fires and jewelers' torches can reach that temperature. Moreover, April birthstones are unaffected by chemicals; this property, combined with its resistance to high temperatures, give diamonds a very high stability.
Diamond is considered a highly durable gemstone and can be safely faceted in any shape and set into any type of jewelry. The most common purpose for diamonds is the engagement setting - one that is meant for everday use and can incur a great deal of shock. It is also typical to find diamonds used in tennis bracelets, another high wearability piece of jewelry.
April birthstone earrings and necklaces should also be considered when searching for that special gift. Although they are highly durable, it is prudent to be safe when wearing diamond jewelry and avoid mechanical and environmental shock, as with all gemstones.
Cleaning and caring for diamonds
Since diamonds comes in a variety of colors, they will go with pretty much any outfit or occasion. Its hardness also means that you do not have to worry about them getting damaged when you are out and about; however, diamonds can be brittle and will chip, fracture or break with enough force.
Diamond is rated 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it is the hardest of all gemstones and resistant to scratches from any material, apart from another diamond. Nonetheless, you still have to take good care of your diamond jewelry, especially if it has been treated to remove inclusions or repair fractures. For April birthstones, the best way to take care of them is to clean them with a commercial cleaning solution or mild detergent, warm water, a soft brush and a lint-free cloth.
Follow the tips below to maintain your diamond jewelry:
- While diamonds are rarely fractured or chipped, their settings are vulnerable to wear and tear, which can cause the diamond to fall out, where it could break or become lost. As such, you should avoid wearing your diamonds when doing outdoor activities, heavy housework, exercising, or gardening.
- Remove your diamond jewelry when you are swimming in chlorinated pools, or using household cleaners, as these can damage white gold alloys (a common diamond setting), causing your diamonds to fall out.
- To keep your diamonds as sparkly as new, clean them frequently with dish detergent, warm water, and a soft toothbrush - avoid commercial abrasives! Always wipe your diamonds dry with a soft towel; leaving them to air-dry will leave spots. You can also clean them with a commercial jewelry cleaner as long as you follow the instructions.
- Do not use steam cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners to clean diamonds. Although their stability can withstand heat, avoiding high temperatures is always recommended for transparent gemstones. Moreover, high temperatures and ultrasonic vibrations can cause settings to become loose, causing the diamond, or other gemstone, to fall out.
- Every few months, have a jeweler check out your April birthstone jewelry and clean them up to ensure both the diamonds and their settings are in good condition.
When storing loose diamonds, or pieces of diamond jewelry, it is important to keep them separated from other gemstones and materials that are of different hardness and toughness. Although diamond is the hardest gemstone, and is not in any real danger of incurring scratches, it can most certainly scratch softer gemstones.
The safest method is to place loose diamonds, or individual pieces of diamond jewelry, in a dedicated section of a fabric-lined jewelry box, stored in a cool and dry location. If you have many diamonds and are concerned about space, try using acid-free paper envelopes (often called diamond papers) and store them in a parcel paper organizer box.
If you would like to showcase your April birthstone jewelry or loose diamonds, you could use glass jars with foam or fabric bases. This would allow you and others to appreciate your April birthstone jewelry, while keeping it safe from damage.
The methods of storage discussed above are appropriate and recommended for all gemstones and gemstone jewelry.
How much do diamonds cost?
Due to their rarity, durability and powerful allure, diamonds tend to be more expensive than other gemstones. But you do get what you pay for - among other things, the peace of mind that comes with such a highly wearable gemstone.
Diamond is one of the traditional gemstones for an engagement ring. Diamond's durability make it an ideal stone for such a typically high setting that exposes the gem to mechanical shock. The most popular shape for an engagement diamond is round, known as diamond cut. For just $250 - $300, you can give a 0.2 carat diamond in a descent color and clarity to your bride-to-be.
The price of diamonds go up dramatically at the 1 carat threshold and typically go for anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 per carat. In perspective, the 1ct weight range will cost about 160% more per ct than the 0.2ct range.
Diamond earrings always make a bold statement by both the giver and the wearer. For a captivating April birthstone gift of jewelry, have a look at a pair of 2.3 carat, princess cut, VS-SI deep brown diamonds, sized 7.3 x 7.3 mm each, for $9,500.
If you are looking for lots of diamonds to create a bracelet or necklace, a 23-piece set of 0.03 carat, diamond cut, VS warm white diamonds, sized 2.1 mm each, can be purchased for just about $100. Or check out a 26-piece set of 0.02 carat, tapered baguette cut for just over $400.
Are there any secondary April birthstones?
Most birthstone calendars list the diamond as the only birthstone for the month of April. However, this could be because diamond has one of the best PR teams in the gemstone business. The De Beers Jewellers and Tiffany are some of the biggest supporters of diamonds and due to their market shares the most influential ones as well.
Ancient traditions listed two gemstones that were traditionally used in certain cultures as April birthstones - sapphire and opal - before they were displaced by the diamond. In modern times, other substitutes to the diamond - quartz and white topaz - have also been included as secondary April birthstones. These were included as they have a lot of similarities to diamond, with their eye-catching sparkle and transparent colors.
Sapphire as a secondary April birthstone
In old Arabic, Roman, Hebrew, Russian and Italian calendars, sapphire was the original April birthstone. It is a precious stone that comes in several colors, though its most recognizable and popular variety is the brilliant blue. However, you can also get sapphire in pink, black, yellow, orange and even white colors. The sapphire is believed to promote serenity and inner peace, as well as help to release mental tension and undesirable thoughts. It is also believed to aid the release of frustration and depression, and promote self-expression. Sapphire has long been associated with spiritual growth and truth.
Opal as a secondary April birthstone
The Tibetan calendar, sometimes known as the "mystical birthstone calendar", listed opal as the April birthstone. Opal is popular for its flash of color, which is a visual effect that results from the tightly packed balls of silica refracting white light. Technically, it has no crystal structure; hence, it is a mineraloid rather than a mineral. For the Romans, the opal stood for purity and hope, while the Greeks thought it could enhance the powers of foresight for the wearer.
In the contemporary metaphysical scene, it is prized for its reflective properties and fine vibration. It is believed to amplify and absorb the wearer's characteristics, feelings and thoughts and bring them to the surface.
White topaz as a secondary April birthstone
There is no historical claim that white topaz has to the title of April birthstone; however, it has a striking similarity to diamond and has been used as a diamond substitute. Many jewelry companies promote white topaz as an alternative to diamond as engagement ring gemstone, as topaz is considerably less expensive than diamond. When topaz is cut, it reveals a multifaceted, brilliant sparkle that is not that far off from that of diamond.
In the modern metaphysical scene, white topaz is thought to develop better awareness of action and thought. It is also believed to help release stagnant and trapped energy, which helps to get the wearer moving again.
Quartz crystal as a secondary April birthstone
Crystal is another stone that can be used as an April birthstone, given the similarity of its appearance and color to diamond. In fact, clear quartz is recognized as an April birthstone in Britain. Quartz comes in different varieties of colors due to impurities, which can create gemstones such as the purple amethyst crystals, or the yellow citrine gemstones. Nonetheless, the best quartz April birthstone is the classic clear quartz that can be worn as either sparkly faceted gemstone, or rough crystal points.
In the metaphysical scene, Quartz is believed to transmit, focus, store, balance and amplify energy. It will also foster creativity, inspiration, and clarity, enhancing the retention of knowledge and concentration. Modern healers use the powerful vibrations of the quartz in rituals and crystal healing.
The diamond is the king of the birthstones and has been the favorite of royalty, celebrities, wealthy merchants and elites for thousands of years. The sparkly elegance and sophistication of diamond, coupled with the fact that it can last for generations, make it one of the most precious birthstones you could ever buy.
Given its incredible durability, and the fact that it comes in a range of colors, means that you can find diamonds to wear to any occasion or go with any outfit. Moreover, the April birthstone is also associated with several virtues such as courage, strength, and eternal love.
While it is an April birthstone, anyone would look stunning in a pair of diamond earrings or a necklace. While they cost significantly more than many other gemstones on the market, their beauty and elegance will get you noticed anywhere, making them well worth the money. Check out Gemselect's guide to buying diamonds and other loose gemstones and find your April birthstones today!
- First Published: August-06-2019
- Last Updated: August-06-2019
- © 2005-2019 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.