Thursday, March 29, 2007

WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT APRIL? DIAMONDS!!


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT APRIL? DIAMONDS!!

by Jill Quisenberry

Diamond is the birthstone for the month of April and represents the 10th and 16th wedding anniversary. It comes from the Greek word Adamas, meaning "unconquerable", probably because they recognized the diamond's superior hardness. In fact, it is the hardest substance on earth. They are more prized than any other natural gem, because of their brilliance, hardness, sparkling flashes of color and rarity.

Before the 18th century almost all diamonds came from India. It was 1867 when the first of many significant discoveries began in South Africa. Today About 65% of the world's diamonds come from African countries. They are also mined in Russia, Australia and Brazil. There are two very small mines in the US which are in Arkansas and California. A large field was recently discovered in Canada.

The most popular diamonds are colorless, but most diamonds have a light tint, usually yellowish or brownish. Perfectly clear diamonds are much more valuable than tinted ones. Diamonds in deep hues of red, blue, and green are very rare and valuable.

In ancient times diamonds were only worn by men. The mistress of Charles VII was the first woman to realize that "diamonds are a girl's best friend"! The earliest record of a man giving a diamond to a woman as an engagement gift was in 1477. Brides across Europe and the US happily accepted betrothal rings, but it wasn't until after World War II and into the early 50s that it became popular to get diamond rings when engaged. Ever since then, almost all women have come to believe that even as marriages may come and go,"a diamond is forever"!!

Personally, I find famous diamonds very fascinating:

**Weighing in at 530 carats, the Star of Africa is the largest cut diamond in the world. It’s part of the Royal Scepter and kept in the Tower of London with the Crown Jewels.

**Darya-I-Nur is one of the spoils of Persia’s attack on New Delhi in 1739, a flawless, transparent pink stone estimated at 175 carats. It’s the largest gem in the Crown Jewels of Iran and was worn by the former Shah of Iran during his coronation in 1967.

**The Hope Diamond (shown at right) once belonged to France’s King Louis XIV, and has a history of bringing bad luck to many of its owners. The gem is now on display at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C.

**Koh-I-Nur, the diamond known as the “Mountain of Light,” dates back to India in 1304. Mogul emperors captured it in the 16th century, but it found its way back home after the breakup of the Persian Empire. Today it’s part of England’s Crown Jewels.
(experiencestmaarten.com)

LORE:

In the old days, Kings fought along side their troops on the battle fields. They wore heavy leather breast plates studded with diamonds and other precious stones. Because it was believed that diamonds were fragments of stars and the tear drops of the Gods, people believed that diamonds possessed magical qualities of the Gods. Out of fear, the warriors never attacked the Kings or men rich enough to own the magical diamonds in their breast plates. So, they survived the wars by the magic of the diamonds, were blessed by the Gods and had lives of good fortune. Nowadays, Kings/Dictators/Presidents never fight on the field of battle - curious because they can all afford the magical diamonds . . .

The king of all precious gems, diamond traditionally represents purity, fearlessness, invincibility and strength. It is a stone that bonds relationships and enhances love. It brings longevity, particularly to relationships, balance, clarity and abundance. It can amplify one's thoughts, strengths, and weaknesses. It gives one who wears or carries it courage and hope. Historically, crushed diamond has been used as a cure for many ailments. During the Roman era it was believed that swallowing a diamond would counteract poison.

Surprisingly, only about 20 percent of diamonds are fit for gem use. It must be the beauty and rarity of the few, that have led to the enduring desire of the many!

2 comments:

jill Q said...

Just wanted to tell you about the photo - This is a 2.5 carat rough diamond, found by a couple of eight-year-old twin boys! They found it in a state park in Arkansas.

Ignis Designs said...

Diamond is SO my birthstone!