Diamond is the April birthstone. Known as one of the hardest substances on earth, diamonds are thought to be billions of years old (http://encarta.msn.com). The word diamond derives from an ancient Greek word, “adamas”, meaning invincible.
Arguably the most prized of all crystals, diamonds come in a range of colors: clear, pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and black.
Color depends on the kind of impurities present. Blue ones have traces of boron, and yellow diamonds have minute amounts of nitrogen.
April Birthstone: Origin of Birthstones
How certain stones came to be connected to specific months is cloudy. Some speculate the birthstone originates from Biblical times when a priest’s breastplate was adorned with twelve different colored gems. Over time, the number twelve became connected to months of the year and to the zodiac.
People began wearing a different gem each month as a sort of talisman, believing each stone held certain powers. Gradually, specific gems became attached to specific months and zodiac signs. People then wore the gem associated with their birth month all year long.
Fast-forward hundreds of years to 1912 in Kansas City, Missouri. The American National Association of Jewelers created a birthstone list, assigning different stones to each month. The birthstone list was controversial because people thought it was developed purely for commercial purposes. Even so, it is accepted worldwide today as the definitive list of birthstones.
April Birthstone: History and Beliefs about Diamonds
According to Encarta, there are Sanskrit texts that make reference to diamonds before 400 BC. This suggests that ancient peoples from India assigned value to these crystals.
Evidence of diamond cutting was found in Venice dating back to the 1330s. Once eastern trade routes opened, Europeans began trading diamonds in the early 15th century.
Ancient Hindus believed lightning bolts created diamonds. The Greeks had several theories about the origin of these gemstones. They believed they were tears of the gods, splinters of stars, or crystallized lightning.
April Birthstone: Healing Powers of Diamonds
During the middle ages, diamonds were thought to heal illness, especially problems relating to brain disease and the pituitary gland. The best way to cure disease was to take the crystal into bed with you to warm it up first. This way, it could draw out toxins.
Diamonds can enhance a person’s level of clarity, balance, and abundance. They also amplify a person’s energy, whether positive or negative, as well as the healing properties of other crystals. For example, if worn with amethyst, diamonds will increase that crystal’s soothing and calming properties.
April Birthstone: Characteristics and Geography of Diamonds
Diamonds are crystallized carbon. They form deep within the earth where pressure is 65,000 times that of the earth’s surface and temperatures exceed 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. They have been found inside meteorites and near meteorite craters on the earth’s surface (http://encarta.msn.com).
Currently, South Africa remains the top diamond producer. Other countries where these crystals are found include Venezuela, Australia, Guyana, Brazil, and Russia. Smaller diamond deposits occur in Borneo, Thailand, and China. A few isolated stones have been found throughout the United States, with higher amounts along the Colorado-Wyoming border.
April Birthstone: Care and Cleaning of Diamonds
While diamonds are durable, a sudden sharp blow can chip them. Do not wear diamonds while doing any kind of rough work. Keep them away from bleach and other household chemicals, and do not wear in a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
There are different methods for cleaning your diamonds. Use a mild liquid detergent bath and clean with a soft brush, rinsing with warm water when done. Purchase a commercial jewelry cleaner made for diamonds and follow instructions. Try an ultrasonic cleaner that uses high frequency vibrations to clean jewelry. This method is not recommended, however, for diamonds that may already have cracks or inclusions.
Diamond, April’s birthstone, is the most highly prized crystal today. An overwhelmingly popular choice for wedding rings, diamonds are a symbol of enduring love. Some are so brilliant that they do indeed seem like slivers of stars from the sky.
Sources:http://encarta.msn.com; www.bellaonline.com; www.peacefulmind.com; www.birthstones.org.uk; www.thediamondbuyingguide.com; www.about-birthstones.com; http://starryskies.com; www.buzzle.com; http://www.wizardofjewelry.com/diamond_care.as