Known as the “King of Gemstones,” one of the “Big Four” most desirable gems and a girl’s best friend, April’s birthstone is as classic as it gets. The diamond is a shining and sparkling symbol of love, endurance and abundance. From elegant engagement rings to chic statement pieces, there’s a diamond piece for every occasion.

What are the properties of a diamond?

This gem is as versatile as it is timeless. With a perfect Mohs hardness rating of a 10, diamonds are ideal for frequent wear. They’re extremely strong and durable, meaning your jewelry will definitely stand the test of time. Ranging from a colorless classic to a bold blue, diamonds come in a wide variety of colors. It can naturally be found as white, pink, yellow, red, brown, green, orange, black and more. The gem’s color is caused by different trace elements in the diamond’s carbon structure. Color is one of the four C criteria used to rate diamonds.

Diamond Hoop Earrings

What’s the history of the diamond?

With its timeless twinkle, diamonds have been a popular gemstone for centuries. It’s believed that diamond mining first began in what is now known as India around the 4th century BCE. As these gems were unearthed more and more, they quickly took the world by storm. Diamonds moved along early trade routes as prized tools and jewelry pieces. Their remarkable strength allowed craftsmen to use the gems for cutting and engraving, and their clarity and shine made them eye-catching treasures.

A white diamond and silver square pendant necklace

Our modern word for these gems comes from the Greek word “adamas” which means unconquerable. And from their early history through the Dark Ages, these gems truly were unmatched. As the centuries passed, they remained prized tools and treasured jewels, and eventually, diamonds were even used as medicines. When worn, diamonds were thought to protect against evil and harm. When ingested, they were believed to fight diseases and heal wounds. The diamond industry as we know it took form in the late 19th century when mining began in Africa. It began at Colesberg Kopje in South Africa, and operations spread across the continent as more diamond deposits were found. Today, diamond deposits have been found in over 30 countries worldwide.

This gem also has quite the romantic history. The gem’s brilliant clarity and strength make it a symbol of enduring love and commitment. The diamond was first used as an engagement symbol in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria commissioned a diamond ring for his bride-to-be Mary of Burgundy. But at that time, with the diamond’s rarity and cost, this symbol of love was only really available to nobility. Increasing mining and improving technology gradually changed that. In the late 1940s, diamond engagement rings became the universal standard we know them as today.

How are diamonds made?

Three pairs of white, pink, and blue lab-grown diamonds

While our captivation with this gem goes back millennia, the diamond’s story goes even further back. It takes billions of years for these gemstones to form. About 100 miles below Earth’s surface, carbon in the upper mantle is exposed to extremely hot temperatures and pressures. Over a long time in these conditions, the carbon forms into diamonds. Then, some of these gems were brought towards the surface by special volcanic eruptions called Kimberlite eruptions. It is believed that the most recent Kimberlite eruption took place more than 25 million years ago. Once the material settles and cools, the carbon is stable in its diamond form, and the resulting diamond deposits are accessible to miners. 

Today, diamonds can also be produced in the lab. The process of lab growing diamonds began in the 1950s, and the industry has been constantly developing ever since then. Visually, chemically and structurally the same as mined ones, these diamonds are real in every sense. While mined diamonds take billions of years to form, lab diamonds are produced in a matter of weeks.

What are some diamond alternatives?

If you’re looking for a special April birthday present and a big, dazzling diamond look on a budget, there are also a variety of diamond alternatives and stimulants to consider. If you want a natural stone, white sapphire and quartz are both wonderful options. With Mohs hardness scores of 9 and 7 respectively, these gemstones are suitable for frequent wear. Both white sapphire and quartz boast stunning clarity and shine. Cubic zirconia is also a popular diamond simulant you may want to consider. This man-made material gives a diamond glow and similar strength at a more affordable price. 

Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, special statement piece or the perfect April birthstone present, diamonds never disappoint. This enduring symbol of elegance pairs perfectly with every occasion. Shop JTV’s shimmering earrings, timeless tennis bracelets, perfect diamond pendants and more.

A set of white diamond and gold rectangular pendant necklace
A pair of diamond heart shaped dangle earrings are shown.