Being an April baby, I have a soft spot in my heart for diamonds. I love the clarity, and I love the sparkle and shine. I used to think that diamonds were boring because they had no colour, but coloured diamonds are all over the place these days, too. Besides, what’s not to love about a gemstone that’s that gorgeous and yet so strong? They are the hardest gemstone in the world, rating at a 10 (out of 10) on the Moh’s hardness scale.
Diamonds are made of pure carbon, and are created deep in the earth’s mantle, under great pressure and high temperatures. The diamonds are then carried up to the surface in volcanic eruptions. While people commonly believe that diamonds come from coal, the bulk of the diamonds, and certainly all of the commercial diamonds, come from far deeper in the earth than coal deposits are found.
Diamonds first came into use as gemstones in India, and the first written work describing their use dates back to the 4th century BC. They were traded to Romans, and diamond crystals were primarily used in rings. Rough diamonds were considered talismans against mishaps and it was taboo to cut them. The oldest known cut diamonds date back to the 13th century.
The first recorded diamond engagement ring was commissioned in 1477 by the Archduke Maximillian of Austria for his fiancee, Mary of Burgundy. The diamond didn’t become widely affordable until de Beers opened its South African mines. Aggressive marketing campaigns, which included images of movie stars in jewellery, as well as their famous slogan “Diamonds are Forever”, have set the diamond as the standard for engagement rings and luxurious jewellery.
The most popular cut of diamond is the round brilliant cut, followed by the princess and oval cuts. My personal faourite is the trillion cut, but I also absolutely love jewellery that incorporates rough diamonds.