Friday, April 10, 2015

April’s Birthstone: The Diamond!

Popular Diamond Cuts

As we continue our series on birthstones, let's take a moment to describe how birthstones came to be! In the first century, it was believed that the 12 gems of Aaron’s Breastplate (a sacred breastplate worn by the High Priests of the Israelites, and sometimes referred to as the breastplate of judgment) were directly related to the 12 months of the year, the 12 signs of the zodiac. This concept was adopted into Christianity when St. Jerome recognized the Foundation Stones of the New Jerusalem (an evolution from Aaron’s Breastplate over the centuries). Finally, wearing a different colored gem for each month of the year is supposed to bring good luck.

Back to April’s Birthstone: the delightful, beautiful, and ubiquitous diamond!  The diamond was selected as April’s birthstone as it was thought to be a harbinger of strong relationships, and improve inner strength for those born in that month. It is supposed to provide other positives, such as balance, clarity, and abundance. While so much is already known about the diamond, we’ll describe some interesting aspects here.

Did you know that diamonds can be manufactured?
Most diamonds sold now are created naturally when carbon (coal basically) is compressed under high pressure about 115 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, and transported to the surface via tectonic plate shifting and volcanic eruptions that have occurred over eons (millions of years!).

However, starting in the last century, two different forms of manufacturing (“growing” actually) diamonds have been optimized:  High Pressure, High-Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).  Basically HPHT simulates the pressure and temperature of the natural formation, and adds microscopic diamonds to carbon.  This extreme heat and pressure causes the carbon to crystalize to the microscopic diamonds, and “grow” a bigger diamond.  CVD involves the energizing various carbon based gases to form the carbon structure unique to diamonds.

Synthetic diamonds are harder than natural diamonds, and (so far) are the hardest materials ever produced!

Cutting Glass is Not the Correct Way to Determine if a Diamond is Real
Quartz will also cut glass!  Nor is rubbing two diamonds together a good idea either, is both can be damaged.  The modern way to determine if a diamond is real is to check how readily it transfers heat. A heat source is applied at one of end of a diamond, and the measuring device (connected to the heat source) measures how quickly the heat is transferred through the material.  Very fast means a diamond!

The 5 C’s of Diamonds as Jewelry
Carat – the size of the diamond.  Obviously larger carats carry higher prices because they are rarer, but higher carats does not always mean better quality.  Carats are measured in 100 points, so 50 points would be ½ carat.

Cut – the cut of diamond is the most obvious style choice.  Round, Princess, Radiant, Emerald, Oval, Pear, Asscher, Flanders, Heart, Cushion, Marquise, Old Miner, & Trillion are the main ones, but most any shape can be created with proper milling procedures.  Just be careful:  most of these cuts are designed to refract white light, which creates part of the brilliance of the diamond.  A smaller diamond can be cut shallower to have a larger face, making it appear larger in a ring, however, this reduces the brilliance of the diamond. Keep that in mind if you want to show a bigger looking diamond, at a lower cost. Diamond masters can only do so much with the physics of light!

Color – diamonds are graded D through Z, with D being the most colorless (refracts white light the best).  D, E, & F are considered colorless, G-J near colorless, K-M faint yellow, N-R, very light yellow, S-Z, light yellow.  Obviously, the higher the grade, the more expensive.

Clarity – almost every diamond contains some flaw.  The less the flaws and the smaller the size of the flaws, the less imperfections to refract light, increasing the brilliance of the diamond.  Clarity is measured on the GIA scale: Flawless, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, & I3.

Certification – a grading report from an independent gemological lab will almost always accompany your diamond, giving you confidence in your purchase.

So for those April birthday’s you have the Emperor of Gems as your birthstone, the diamond!  And to safely store your diamonds and other treasures, you’ll need a beautiful luxury jewelry box or standing jewelry armoire.  And with Mother’s Day coming up, a womens jewelry box makes a great gift for that special someone!

Guest Blogger:  Noelle Price

 Jewelry Armoire
Large Jewelry Armoire for All Your Treasures!

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