Welcome to Gemstones 101, a new series at Takayas Custom Jewelry where we shed a little light on the amazing gemstones we love to feature in our jewelry projects. Over the next twelve months, we’ll be placing a particular focus on the twelve special jewels we get to call our birthstones. Our first entry focuses on that most famous of gemstones that represents those of you born in the month of April – the illustrious diamond!
Comprised of pure carbon forged under unfathomable heat and tremendous pressure deep within the earth’s mantle, many diamonds are as old as life itself. Only within the past tens to hundreds of million years were diamonds first brought to the surface, blown into the sky through volcanic eruptions and then cooled to form deposits in igneous rocks. Lucky for us – with shocking strength and a fiery brilliance paralleled by few things on earth, diamonds have served both as faithful tools and as a subject for our wildest imaginings for thousands of years!
From antiquity, diamonds were valued for their apparent supernatural powers. Beauty was an afterthought; believed to wield off evil influences, protect against illness and enchantments, and attract good fortune, you would be more likely to find a diamond tied to someone’s arm as they entered the battlefield than decorating a person’s finger. At least until around the middle ages, that is! Medieval Italians considered the diamond a “stone of reconciliation” that encouraged harmony in marriage, and from this belief sprang its use in wedding jewelry and a growing aesthetic appreciation that we still enjoy today.
Across many cultures, the diamond is an emblem of purity, strength, and everlasting love. On top of the rich symbolism associated with diamonds, they also possess a hardness beyond that of any other natural material on earth, making them a popular choice for use in jewelry! Because every diamond is totally unique, however, it pays to know the specific internal details that make up an individual stone. Around the world, people evaluate diamonds through a system of four characteristics established by the Gemological Institute of America, often referred to as the “Four Cs”: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
In terms of color, diamonds occur in a wide variety of hues, from sparkling, flawless white to the deep dusky blue of the ocean floor. Chemical differences in a diamond’s crystal structure can affect its color as well as its clarity, or the amount of small imperfections a diamond contains. Although many conflate the cut of a diamond with its shape, the term actually refers to the quality of workmanship that went into fashioning the stone to reflect the most light possible – and the carat weight of a diamond reflects its mass rather than the specific dimensions of its size.
No matter what you’re looking for in your birthstone jewelry, if you’re an April baby, there’s a beautiful diamond out there for you. From tiny white melee diamonds to lab-grown pink diamonds cut into glittering hearts, the possibilities are endless for creating a piece of diamond-encrusted jewelry that celebrates who you are. Your friends born in other months just might envy you – you get the pick of one of the most storied gemstones there is, after all!