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The April Birthstone: Diamond

Brilliant and beautiful, April's birthstone is like a little dose of magic.
Diamond emerging from coal
Can Stock Photo / Joe Belanger
The idea of a different gemstone representing each month of the year dates back to Biblical times. The Jewish historian Josephus made a record of Aaron from the Book of Exodus wearing a breastplate decorated by twelve stones all the way back in the first century. We will be exploring the properties and traditions of each stone monthly on Facet. In April, the American Gem Society (AGS) recognizes diamond as the stone of honor. Ah, those lucky April babies! 
From grit to glamour

Diamonds are, as everyone knows, little bits of pure carbon that, having been compressed for millennia, emerge from the earth magically transformed into glittering jewels. Used in high-end jewelry, those that are highly transparent and refractive create the most brilliant sparkle and are therefore quite sought after. But diamonds aren’t all transparent, or even clear, and besides being the most frequently used stone in engagement rings, they have industrial uses as well.

Coming in at a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, diamond is the hardest naturally occurring mineral known to mankind, which explains why it is also useful for drilling and engraving. However, the crystalline structure allows for perfect and easy cleavage, so although they are hard, they are also quite breakable. So don't go around hitting diamonds with a hammer – they WILL shatter!

While the traditional engagement-ring diamond is perfectly clear, the stone does naturally occur in colors, including yellow, brown, black, gray, purple, pink, red, orange, and blue. This rainbow of hues is a result of impurities and defects but these days, jewelers have capitalized on a growing acceptance of colored stone in fine jewelry, so many different colors are just as sought-after as the standard clear ones. The infamous blue Hope Diamond gets its color from boron. Green diamond — a result of natural irradiation — is extremely rare but occasionally found. The famous Dresden Green Diamond is one such example.

Diamond mining is a very controversial practice and you will sometimes hear the term “conflict diamonds” or “blood diamonds” because the money made on diamonds coming from some mines has been known to fund human rights violations and civil wars. Most diamonds are mined in Africa, Russia, India, Brazil, China, Siberia, Canada, and the United States. Canadian diamonds have become favorable for many because they are less associated with conflict and abuses.

Diamond alternatives

If you have an April birthday but choose not to wear diamonds, you do have a few other options. Not only are there beautiful diamond substitutes (cubic zirconia, white topaz, quartz, and manmade crystal), some birthstone calendars suggest additional alternatives, including sapphire and opal. Another option is the Herkimer diamond, which isn’t diamond at all but a double-terminated quartz from Herkimer County, NY. These can be found drilled as beads and they are totally delightful!

Chic wire wrapped ring hero
Chic wire-wrapped ring by Monica Han
April Diamond birthstone necklace
"Diamond" necklace by Becky Nunn
Projects you can make!

Alas, here on Facet, we don’t have any projects that use diamond. But a number of lovely clear-stone designs will give you plenty of bling for a fraction of the price. 

This chic wire-wrapped ring by Monica Han is simple and affordable and delivers lots of sparkle.

 

Becky Nunn's "Diamond" birthstone necklace features prong-set crystals alongside gold and pearls and is simply divine. 

Crystal stone bracelet
Karen Joelson's crystal stone bracelet
hero
Sparkling cup chain earrings by Anna Draeger

This sparkling bracelet by Karen Joelson includes brilliantly clear crystal stones in peyote bezels for a glamorous look.

 

 

 

 

Anna Draeger used metal mesh findings and delicate cup chain to create these dramatic earrings.

For a more casual but still sparkly look, try Jane Danley Cruz's leather and cup chain bracelet

leather_and_cupchain_bracelet
Leather and cup chain bracelet by Jane Danley Cruz
Curious about other stones that represent other months?
  • March is the month for aquamarine and bloodstone 
  • February is represented by that most royal of stones: amethyst
  • The stone for January is garnet 
  • December is such an awesome month that it’s represented by three gemstone: turquoise, tanzanite, and blue zircon
  • Topaz and citrine: the golden gems of November
  • The kaleidoscopic stone for October is the opal 
  • Sapphires for September: they ward off evil!
  • Peridots and sardonyx represent August: Check it out here.
  • FIND MORE: stone , stone setting

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