April Birthstone: Diamond
Color: Colorless (D-Z Color Scale); Rainbow Shades (Fancy Colored Diamonds)
Mohs Hardness: 10! (Diamonds are the hardest material on the planet!)
"It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world”
- Dolly Parton
They are loved, collected, and greatly desired. Touted as a “girl’s best friend” and synonymous with the word “Forever”, diamonds have infiltrated society and become traditional symbols of power, wealth, and promise.
Diamond value and lore extend far beyond the sparkle of the stone. Some diamonds
represent covetable provenance and others possess curses that will befall the owner. Despite the curses (or maybe because of the curses ;-)! ), diamonds have a long legacy linked with love.
The first diamond engagement ring on record was given in 1477. The ring was placed on the fourth finger of the recipient, known today as the "Ring Finger". It was believed during this period that the fourth finger linked directly to the heart by way of the vena amoris, Latin for “the vein of love”. By encircling this finger with a ring, the symbol of eternity, the diamond ring symbolized a love that would last forever.
This gift set a trend and began a tradition of using diamond rings to show love among the European aristocracy. What better way to say, “I love you” than with a gem that is as interesting, scintillating, and mesmerizing as the person of your dreams?
But what is it about diamonds that make them so highly regarded?
I think the beauty of diamonds, April's infamous birthstone, starts with the story of their creation…
“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”
― Henry Kissinger
Every diamond was created millions of years ago under extreme conditions of pressure and heat. 90 to 120 miles below the earth’s surface, under the heaviest part of the earth’s crust located in the center of ancient continental plates, the weight of the land creates downward pressure. This pressure and combined heat from being so deep inside the planet create the perfect conditions for carbon rich pockets to crystalize into diamonds.
Without the exacting heat and temperature conditions in this location, carbon will not form diamonds. The carbon will either stay in its gaseous form, or it will remain soft, like the carbon we see in pencils.
Once diamonds are formed, they are transported to the surface of the earth in volcanic explosions. In order for the carbon to retain its form as a diamond as it travels to the earth’s surface, it must come to the surface quickly while embedded inside a rock that maintains pressure on the diamond during the journey.
At the surface, diamonds are then mined in a variety of ways. Open pit mines, alluvial mining in riverbeds, and even offshore dredging of the ocean floor can all result in the discovery of diamonds as they are transported from the site of the original volcanic explosion to various landscapes through erosion.
The journey of a diamond is rare, romantic, and symbolic of the meaningful moments that result in giving or receiving the gem. Traveling great distances from the center of the earth to the finger takes immeasurable amounts of care and consideration at every step of the journey. Not only through finding the diamonds in the ore and landscape, but also through sorting the diamonds according to the quality of the uncut stone, fashioning the diamond to maximize its best qualities, designing the jewelry that will highlight its features, and, ultimately, creating an experience when a customer selects the right diamond to commemorate a personal milestone.
Why Do We Want Diamonds?
While there are many gemstones that are desirable, diamonds have a few important
characteristics that contribute to why they are so coveted and continue to demand the attention of humans. They are Hard, Rare, and Beautiful.
Diamonds are the hardest natural material. Hardness refers to a substance’s ability to resist scratching and abrasion. A gemstone’s hardness will determine how the gemstone is cut and how it should be worn. The harder the material, the better that material can retain a high polish and luster. In fact, the luster of a diamond is so unique, it is called “adamantine”, which means “diamond-like”—no other material can maintain the polish and luster of a diamond.
A material can only be cut by something of its own or greater hardness. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on Earth, which means only another diamond can scratch or cut a diamond.
Wit must be foiled by wit, cut diamond with a diamond.
- William Congreve
You may see them in every shopping mall in the country and on many fingers, but diamonds are, in fact, a very rare material.
Finding a diamond is an incredible feat. 100 to 250 tons of ore are mined for a one-carat diamond. Millions of carats of diamond are mined every year, but of those, only 30% are of high enough quality to be used in jewelry. The remaining 70% of diamonds are used for many industrial purposes that require the hardness and durability of a diamond.
Rarity and value go hand in hand. Higher quality, larger diamonds are more rare than lower quality, smaller diamonds. Therefore, the combination of factors that determine the quality of the diamond will also determine the value of the diamond.
"Rare is the union of Beauty and Purity”
A diamond’s beauty can only be fully realized with the help of a human who fashions the rough into a faceted gem that will take advantage of the way light plays with the diamond, creating brilliance, fire, and sparkle.
It takes a skilled diamond cutter to look into rough diamond and realize how to best shape the diamond to maximize the rough’s size and shape, minimize the appearance and presence of inclusions, and create something gorgeous and valuable. With the angle of each facet, light reflects and refracts against the surface of the diamond, drawing the eye and dazzling the senses unlike any other material.
"All is beautiful and unceasing, all is music and reason, and all, like diamond, is carbon first, then light."
- Jose Marti
Diamonds and Original Eve Designs:
At Original Eve, all diamonds are purchased from trusted sources that abide by Kimberley Process requirements. Original Eve uses only untreated, conflict-free diamonds, preferring antique cut post-consumer certified diamonds (certified recycled), as well as rough diamonds that come from trusted mine-to-market sources.
While I love diamonds, their history, their beauty, and the meanings that have become intrinsic to their value, I realize that any diamond purchase is about so much more than the diamond. You are never just buying a diamond. You are buying a ring (or a necklace or a pair of earrings). And you are not just buying a ring (or a necklace or a pair of earrings)... You are buying an object of celebration.
Whether you are celebrating a key milestone in your life or the life of someone you love, the diamond included in this object captures your history and joy, as well as a long geological and social history of romance, beauty, and wonder.