Diamond Birthstone

Diamond Birthstone

Diamond Birthstone

Symbolic of love, the diamond is the hardest of the Earth's natural substances. Combined with its exceptional lustre and brilliant fire, this has made it the most prized of all gems both in beauty and value. Its composition of carbon is closely aligned to graphite which is used in pencils and is one of the softest minerals known.

Diamond Birthstone

Royal approval

It was worn only by royalty for centuries.
Louis IX of France (1214- 1270) issued an order forbidding women, including queens, from wearing diamonds but, in the 15th century, the mistress of King Charles VII dared to wear the dazzling jewels and is said to have popularised the stone at the French court.

Cutting of the stone only began in the 14th century when its sparkling brilliance began to be appreciated. The modern round brilliant cut is the most popular today, making best use of the stone's brilliance and 'fire' - the spread of spectral colours seen when light enters the stone through angled facets.

Diamond Birthstone

Brilliant cut

Diamonds are carefully graded and valued according to 'the four Cs': Carat - the weight of the stone; Colour - where absolutely colourless 'white' stones are considered the best quality whilst the vast majority of stones are slightly tinted with yellow or brown; Clarity - most diamonds contain natural inclusions and the more visible, the poorer quality of the stone; finally, Cut - where a diamond should be faceted to create a supreme brilliance.

'Fancy colours' are those of a distinct hue and range from a bright canary yellow to pink, green, blue, purplish and rarely, red.

'The Golden Maharaja', a 60.60ct diamond, was a deep golden-red, which, when shown at the 1937 World's Fair, was owned by one of the richest maharajahs.

In the 18th century, diamond production in India decreased and new deposits in Brazil made them the world's largest supplier. But in 1866, the first diamond, known as 'Eureka', was found in South Africa.

Shortly afterwards, the De Beers brothers discovered what proved to be the richest deposit ever found. The diamond rush had begun. Today, the De Beers company still has the monopoly on the world diamond market. Australia is the main producer and other localities include Sierra Leone, Zaire, Botswana, Namibia, Russia and the USA.

Diamond Birthstone
Crown jewels

One of the most famous diamonds, the Koh-I-Nor, literally meaning 'mountain of light1, has been owned since the 14th century by rajahs, through the Mogul dynasty to the leader of Persia and eventually by Queen Victoria who had it re-cut to a 108.93ct oval brilliant.

It is now set in the crown Queen Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother, wore to the coronation of George VI in 1938 in her role as consort. The stunning stone is now a highly valued part of the British crown jewels.

The Greek name for diamonds was Adamas, meaning 'I tame' or 'I subdue' and is a popular stone for engagement rings symbolising love, friendship and hope.

Collectibles Coach

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