The diamond is the birthstone for April. The diamond, although not the rarest, is nevertheless one of the most sought-after jewels due to its outstanding hardness and color purity.
For millennia, the cool, dazzling fire of diamonds has kept us enthralled, generating rich, passionate mythologies of romance, intrigue, power, avarice, and enchantment. When ancient Hindus discovered diamonds washed out of the earth during thunderstorms, they thought they were formed by lightning bolts. The diamond is a sign of eternal love in our time and place, and it often adorns engagement rings.
Diamonds are graphite’s wealthy relatives. Both are pure carbon crystalline forms. The vast disparities in their characteristics are caused by the manner in which the carbon atoms are linked together. Carbon atoms in graphite are organized in sheets that readily glide past each other, making graphite perfect as a lubricant and, of course, pencil lead. Diamond crystals, on the other hand, are a tight-fisted network of carbon atoms firmly bound in four directions, making it the world’s hardest naturally occurring material.
Diamonds are thought to have crystallized far under the Earth’s surface in order to establish such a tight and securely bound network of carbon atoms. The conditions for the production of diamonds exist at these depths; at 90 to 120 miles, pressures are more than 65,000 times that of the atmosphere at the Earth’s surface, and temperatures reach 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (1,500 degrees Celsius). Synthetic diamonds have been created using pressures and temperatures replicated in labs.
Diamonds may be transparent, translucent, or opaque, and can range from white to sooty black, with many hues in between. As jewelry, mostly clear diamonds, colorless or colored, are utilized. Others are commonly utilized in industry. The hue of a diamond is determined by the impurities that are contained inside it. Yellow diamonds, for example, reveal trace amounts of nitrogen, while boron provides a blue tint. Other diamond inclusions have significant scientific importance. Such samples are time capsules that provide vital information on the circumstances deep in the Earth’s upper mantle where diamonds originated, as well as hints about the diamond’s genesis and age.
The origins of the April birthstone
Diamonds are discovered in alluvial deposits, which are gravel deposited by streams, rivers, glaciers, and ocean currents. They may also be found in sedimentary rock, where gravel deposits and organic matter have been crushed into rock. Diamonds have been discovered in certain kimberlite samples, a form of volcanic rock discovered near Kimberley, South Africa. Diamonds discovered in kimberlite are estimated to be incredibly ancient, maybe dating back three billion years. Diamond specks have even been discovered within meteorites, which are pieces of stony space debris that crash down on Earth.
Diamonds are made of crystals. Crystals are nature’s greatest form of symmetry. Their form reflects the crystal’s interior ordered arrangement of atoms. Carbon atoms are bound securely together in diamonds via covalent bonding, in which two nearby atoms share an electron, giving the diamond crystal enormous strength. Diamonds, despite their hardness, maybe cut using saws and polished with grinding wheels covered with microscopic industrial diamond shards. Diamonds might look uninteresting in their natural state. They are carved and polished by trained artisans in a pattern that reflects and refracts light among its facets, revealing the stone’s hidden beauty.
The history of diamonds
Some gems seem to have had their own lives. The Koh-i-noor (“Mountain of Light”) is a renowned stone in the diamond hall of fame. The early history of the Koh-i-noor diamond is shrouded in mystery. It is said to be 5,000 years old and appears in the classic Sanskrit epic The Mahabharata. The Koh-i-noor, which was originally possessed by the Rajah of Malwa in India, has subsequently played a role in wins and losses throughout India, Persia, and Afghanistan. From 1526 until 1739, it was in the hands of the powerful Mogul dynasty. Shah Jehan, who constructed the Taj Mahal in remembrance of his queen Mumtaz, was one of its owners. It was temporarily occupied by the Persian conqueror Nadir Shah until his murder in 1747. The gem subsequently slipped into the hands of Afghan authorities, who finally handed it over to Ranjit Singh, Rajah of Punjab.
Punjab became a part of India under British dominion two years after Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839. The stone was delivered to Queen Victoria, who had it reduced in weight from 187 carats to 108 carats in an effort to improve its brilliance. Following her death, the diamond was transferred to the British Crown Jewels. At her coronation in 1937, Queen Elizabeth (after the Queen Mother) wore it in her crown.