Birthstone of the Month: Diamond

Kristen Baird

Sparkling with an internal fire all its own, diamond is one of the world’s most sought-after and adored precious stones. Those born in April are lucky enough to call this status symbol their birthstone, a representation of clarity and strength. The timeless charm of diamond was cherished long before it became the April birthstone, and the places where diamond comes from are as fascinating as the lore that surrounds it.

With diamond being the most popular ring stone choice in the world, it’s no surprise I work with this gem constantly. From my Fine Collection to my commissioned pieces, diamonds are ever-present in my life as well as every other jewelry designer. So let’s delve right into this sensational stone.

All About Diamonds

What is Diamond?

Adopted from the Greek word adamas, meaning “invincible,” diamonds come in a wide range of colors such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The color is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen while blue ones contain boron.

Natural diamonds are a rare and unique ultimate gift for a loved one. Thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, diamonds date back to the beginning of time. In addition to being the birthstone of April, diamond is the gift of choice for the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries. And, of course, today the diamond engagement ring has become a near-universal symbol of love and marriage.

Since diamonds rank 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, they are usually durable enough to be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner. However, if your diamond has many inclusions or has been treated, it is best to clean it with a lint-free cloth, or use warm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush or a commercial jewelry cleaning solution. Also, it is recommended to have your diamond birthstone jewelry periodically cleaned and settings examined by a professional jeweler to maintain beauty and integrity over time.

Diamond history and lore by Kristen Baird

History & Lore

The world’s love for diamonds started in India, where they were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams. Traded as early as the fourth century BCE, diamonds were coveted by royalty and the wealthy. Later, caravans brought Indian diamonds, along with other exotic merchandise, to medieval markets in Venice.

In the 1400s, diamonds had become fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. The first diamond engagement ring on record was given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. But probably the most famous diamond would have to be the legendary 45.52 carat(!!!) blue Hope diamond from India’s Golconda mining area and its sale to King Louis XIV of France in 1668.

By the early 1700s, as India’s diamond supplies began to decline, Brazil emerged as an important diamond source. And then in the 1860s, the discovery of diamonds in South Africa marked the beginning of the modern diamond market.

An anonymous second-century poet maintained that this birthstone for April warded off the evil eye – a malevolent look believed to cause sickness, poverty, and even death. Diamonds were even believed to have healing powers. Over the centuries, diamonds were thought to be an antidote to poison and provide protection against the plague. Some claim that it is a tool for longevity, strength, beauty and happiness.

By heating the stone and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body. It was also believed that diamonds could have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst. Deemed as the “King of all Birthstones,” diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift.

Kristen Baird + Diamonds

Kristen Baird Jewelry & Diamond

Ripple Diamond Band: What to do with an heirloom cross that never gets worn and how to find a wedding band that is unique yet comfortable enough to be worn all day long without fear that it will break!? I’ve got that covered! I took this cross that was a little too long and carefully removed 6 diamonds. I then took those 6 diamonds and created a custom wedding band that had just the right amount of sparkle but could stand up to my client's active lifestyle. Word on the street is that she LOVES it and wears it on her daily runs, biking excursions, and everything in between! As a bonus, the cross is now a comfortable size to wear for her. That's a win-win in my book!

The Diamond Dazzler Ring Redesign: What to do when one chapter closes? Open a new one, of course! Often, I have the opportunity to work with my clients as they are transitioning from one relationship status to a new one. Turns out, the redesign process is as cathartic as it is fun! With this redesign, my goal was to combine beautiful, former wedding band diamonds with cherished pieces inherited from my client's mother. I used one of my favorite methods, the cluster style, to incorporate a variety of gem cuts, shapes, and sizes. The beauty of it is that we were able to mix three statement diamonds into one design where they all shine as a single unit instead of competing against each other. My client put her full trust in the style and process, which is always awesome for me as a designer. And wow, let me say, she was blown away with the end result! This 18K white gold beauty shines from every angle. And of course, the texture and smooth ripples gives this piece a depth and interest. Oh, and did I mention how comfortable this piece is to wear?

Redesigned Diamonds by Kristen baird

Final Thoughts

Diamonds are certainly the most popular gemstone, let alone precious stone I work with. In practically every engagement ring I make, diamonds are part of the design in a small or major way. Nothing beats the sparkle factor with these glorious gems. AND, might I add, diamonds are wonderful to work with as a “redesign” material. Yes, we can use “old” diamonds and make them into new pieces. In fact, diamond is the most reused and recycled stone I work with (see above for a few examples).

That said, do you have a new challenge for me? If so, be sure to send it my way!

And for my April babies, Happy Birthday!  

1 comment

  • Yes and I wear that beautiful piece you created for me every day!! And it is still as beautiful as it is depicted in this article! I think of you fondly and often!! Hope you and your family are doing well!!

    Stephanie Lynam Matthews

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