Diamond is both the traditional and modern birthstone for April, so lets take a closer look at it.
Firstly Diamond is the hardest of all gemstones, being made of pure carbon. Its atoms are arranged in a crystal structure known as diamond cubic. This structure makes it 58 times harder than any other natural material. Diamonds can only but cut by another diamond, although other substances can wear it down. It measures 10 on Mohs scale of hardness and is the defining mineral for the scale.
Diamonds come in various colours typically yellow to brown, and grey to colourless and then less often pink, green, red, black, blue, violet, orange and purple. stones more saturated with colour are considered higher in value. Most diamonds used in jewellery making have been cut and polished to give as much sparkle as possible.
It is thought that Natural diamonds have an age of anywhere between 1 billion to 3.5 billion years. Most have been formed at depths of approximately 95 and 155 miles or even more, in the Earth's mantle. They were then transported to the Earths surface by volcanic eruptions.
Many ancient civilisations believed that diamonds were lightning made real on Earth. This may explain why they are associated with great healing powers, and were once thought to cure brain disease, alleviate pituitary gland disorders and draw out toxins from the blood.
Constantly though, throughout history the diamond has symbolised eternal and lasting love, which explains its popularity in Engagement rings.
Diamonds have been traded for more than 2,000 years , it is believed that they may have been used for trade as early as 9 BC.
It is thought that Diamonds were first found in India in alluvial deposits along the Krishna River delta in the Krishna district Southern and Guntur.
Nowadays almost half of diamonds come from Central and Southern Africa, significant sources have also been discovered in Canada, India, Australia, Brazil and Russia.
As a bead jewellery designer maker I never thought I would be able to use diamonds in my own work as I only ever thought of diamonds as pretty cut and highly polished sparkly stones set into rings and other settings for necklaces, earrings and bracelets. I certainly didn't think of them as beads, but hey! what do I know?
Yes they do come as beads, with a hole all the way through just like any other regular bead and yes I do currently have jewellery made with these beads available from my shop!
The pieces are made with rough diamond crystal nuggets, I have threaded them onto wire and knitted them into earrings and pendants. I have also added a small sapphire beads and small emerald bead to the two pendants, because sapphires and emeralds also come as beads! I will be taking a closer look at these two gemstones in May and September as they are also birthstones. For the time being though please take a look at my pieces of diamond jewellery - birthstone for April