Diamond: April Birthstone

About Diamond - It’s History and Mines? 

World’s love of diamonds started as early as 4th century BC in India, where diamonds were found in the riverbeds. This rare gem was extremely precious and only the nobles could afford it. Gradually, Indian diamonds found their way to Western Europe and by the 1400s, diamonds were a favourite of Europe’s elite. Around 1700’s when India’s diamond supplies began to deplete Brazil emerged as the new source. It remained the dominant diamond supplier for the next 150 years.

The story of the modern diamond market began in 1866 with the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa. And with the establishment of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited 22 years later, in 1888 by Cecil Rhodes. By 1900, De Beers, controlled an estimated 90 percent of the world’s production and trade of diamonds.

Gradually former Soviet Union, Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Australia and Canada joined the list of countries producing large quantities of diamonds. As of today, Botswana accounts of 40% of world’s diamond supply. Followed by Siberia in Russia and northern mines in Canada. These 3 countries are the largest diamond producer by value.

The birthstone for April  – diamond  - is also given as a present on the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries. And, as we all know, the diamond engagement ring is now a symbol of love and commitment.

Journey of a Diamond 

Diamonds were formed more than a billion years ago deep inside the Earth's crust (about 100 miles). Under intense heat and pressure the carbon atoms crystallize to form diamonds. Later as the magma inside the earth erupt through volcanoes, these precious gems are  brought to the surface.

After mining the diamonds rough must pass through the hands of skilled craftsmen, who cut and polish it to enhance its value and make it among the world's precious things. Diamonds that originate in rough form from the mine undergo four major functions - cleavage, cutting, polishing, and setting. 

Diamonds Value & Things to consider while buying 

The 4C’s of Diamond

Cut – Cut is the diamonds most important characteristics. It’s all about the symmetry of its mirror like facets. A diamond that is cut to the right proportions, meaning not too deep or too shallow will have more brilliance. Basically, the better the cut, the more sparkle.

Color – comes next. We have to look for what’s not there. Diamonds color grade is based on its lack of color. The less color, the higher the grade. The GIA color scale is the industry standard for diamond grading. It ranges from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown).

Clarity – Most diamonds have tiny imperfections – called inclusions. These influence a diamonds clarity grade. Flawless diamonds are rare, and most inclusions are invisible to the naked eye. It ranges from Flawless (Less than 1% diamonds are Flawless) to I3. There are a total of 6 categories with 11 clarity grades viz. FL, IF, VVS, VS, S and I grade. You may read more here - https://www.gia.edu/diamond-quality-factor.

Carat – is the weight of the diamond. Not its size. A one carat diamond can appear larger than a poorly cut diamond of equal weight. 

Caring for your Diamonds 

Diamonds require no special care. It is the hardest stone (10 on Mohs scale) and is therefore appropriate for daily use in rings and other jewelry. A soft brush with mild soap is the best option for cleaning Diamond. It can be usually cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner, unless there are major inclusions in your diamond. It is a good practice to periodically have your jewelry cleaned and its setting examined by a professional jeweler to maintain its integrity over time. 

7 Fun Facts about Diamonds

  1. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth. They have a melting point of 3547℃.
  2. Diamonds form about 100 miles below the earth’s surface. Volcanic eruptions bring them to the surface.
  3. The diamond is more than a billion years old.
  4. Diamonds were first discovered in India, and then subsequently in Brazil. At present Botswana followed by Russia and Canada are the largest producers of diamond.
  5. A planet named Lucy is believed to be made of mostly carbon is estimated to be one-third pure diamonds. It’s named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Scientist have discovered a star that is essentially a diamond of ten billion trillion trillion carats.
  6. Diamonds is element carbon arranged in a crystalline structure. Under earth’s immense heat and pressure the 5 carbon atoms bond in a tetrahedral shape.
  7. Diamonds come in every color. The popular white diamonds are usually pale yellow to colorless. Diamonds are also brown, blue, green, orange, red, pink and black.