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You’ve all heard the saying; diamonds are a girl’s best friend. These radiant beauties have been captivating the hearts of women for centuries. Diamonds were named the official birthstone for April by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the gemstone for the 30th and 60th anniversaries.

They are widely known as being the hardest natural substance in the world. The ancient Greeks called diamonds “adamas” which means unconquerable. It is composed of carbon and is part of the isometric crystal system. It can be found in hues of colorless, yellow, green, orange, red, brown, black and blue.  75 to 80 % of the world’s natural diamonds are used for industrial purposes and about 25 % are used for gemstones. The minerals durability, unmatched cutting ability and rare beauty make diamonds high in demand. A diamond’s value is judged by the four c’s: cut, color, clarity and carat. A high-quality diamond must rate high on all of these levels. A diamonds cut refers to the shape of the diamond. When a jeweler is cutting the diamond, they are attempting to make the best use of light within the mineral. Some of the more popular shapes are Asscher cut, round, marquise, oval, pear and emerald cut. One can tell when a diamond is cut will when light reflects through the top of the diamond. An artisan’s ultimate goal is to create a stone that achieves maximum brilliance. Its size is measured in carat weight. Each carat is equal to 100 points. However, a diamond that is high in carats doesn’t automatically make it a beautiful specimen. For example, a four-carat diamond that is poorly cut is not as beautiful as a 1-carat diamond that is cut by a skilled jeweler. Also, a diamond could rate high in cut but have poor clarity and color. 

The color of the diamond refers to its natural hue and is the only quality that is determined by nature. The closer the diamond is to colorless the more valuable it is, these would range in color grades D, E and F. However, the fancy colored diamonds including canary yellow, blue, pink and green are even more rare and valuable. Clarity indicates a diamond’s purity. When the stone is first extracted from the earth, there are traces of natural elements that are trapped inside.  These elements are called inclusions, though sometimes referred to as birthmarks. Jewelers must examine these inclusions to determine how to cut each stone in order to either reduce or eliminate inclusions. A jeweler aims to provide diamonds that have the highest clarity possible.

Although just about every culture recognizes the significance of diamonds, almost 49 % of diamonds are mined in central and southern Africa. They are also mined in Canada, Brazil, Australia, Russia and India. Diamond suppliers are represented by a small group of powerful businesses whose operations are concentrated to these locations. Diamonds have long been the subject of controversy in some of these countries. Conflict diamonds, or blood diamonds, are questionably mined and sold by some African rebel groups in war-torn countries along the continent. The diamonds are used to fund wars and human rights abuses in central and western Africa. These diamonds are illegal in many countries.  In 2002, the Kimberly Process was formed by the United Nations, diamond-trading nations and the diamond trading industry to ensure that conflict diamonds do not enter the market place. However, many large diamond suppliers escape this rule because many of the nations they are mining in are not in a state of war but their practices are still violent. It is estimated that only 2 to 3 % of the diamonds in the market are conflict. Many jewelers worldwide are committed not to buy these diamonds.

 For centuries, diamonds have been shrouded in an air of romance and mystery. Historians say that although a diamond’s origin has been unearthed in the twentieth century, the mineral was actually discovered in India prior to 400 B.C.  The ancient Indians believed that diamonds were the embodiment of all things pure, royal, invincible a symbol of never ending love. Ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods while the Romans thought they represented fallen stars. Diamonds are also believed to bear numerous holistic properties. Healers often use diamonds to improve their clarity and vision. It is said to help people be more honest and direct with one another as well as themselves.  Many cultures believe that diamonds give their owner courage and invincibility. It is also said to increase the properties of other stones when used with them during healing practices. Much of the properties associated with diamonds are good for the owner; but some cultures believe that the gem will bring bad luck to those who steal it.

 
Diamonds are often called the classic gemstone because it’s look and meaning can stand the test of time. They have cross-cultural appeal because; for so many people, they represent beauty, value and love.

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