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April’s Birthstone: Diamond

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April’s birthstone – Springtime’s known as ‘the only pretty ring time’ so if you were born in April, make sure yours sports a diamond!

De Beers were right that a diamond is forever—measuring 10 on the Mohs scale, diamond is the earth’s hardest natural substance and can only be scratched by another diamond.

Believed by ancient civilisations to be solidified lightning, splinters from stars or tears from the gods, diamonds have long been associated with mystical powers.  Diamond’s strength and brilliance means that many people swear by April’s birthstone to boost mental clarity and power.

April's birthstone | gemstonedetective.com

However, diamond’s longevity is better known as a symbol of eternal love, which is why it remains the most popular stone for engagement rings—a tradition that dates back to 1477, when Archduke Maxmillian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a gold ring set with an M spelled out in diamonds.

Though you probably imagine a sparkling, colourless gem when you think of April’s birthstone, they can also occur in many other shades, including yellow, pink, green, blue and even black.  Coloured diamonds are known as ‘fancy diamonds.’

Natural diamonds are composed of pure carbon and were formed in the earth’s mantle under colossal heat and pressure about 1-3 billion years ago.  Brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions, diamonds were first mined on a large scale in India.  Many of the world’s most famous and beautiful diamonds were discovered in India’s famous Golconda mines: the Koh-i-noor (‘Mountain of Light’), now part of the Queen of England’s Crown Jewels collection; the Hope Diamond and The Orlov Diamond.  Today, diamonds are mined in no less than 23 countries, with Russia topping the list of largest producers.

However, my favourite diamond fact has to be this: scientists discovered a star that’s essentially a ten billion trillion carat diamond!  The white dwarf star, nicknamed ‘Lucy’ after the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ is composed of a vast mass of crystallized carbon.  Now, that is one colossal engagement ring!

Planning to pop the question with April’s birthstone?  Don’t forget to check out the Gemstone Detective Worldwide book for a quick and easy guide to buying the diamond engagement ring of your loved one’s dreams.  No trip to outer space necessary…

Kim Rix, GG (GIA)

Gemstone Detective

Be sure. Be smart. Buy with confidence.

Would you buy a synthetic gem?

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We tend to have negative associations with the words ‘synthetic gem’.  We associate ‘synthetic’ with ‘fake’ or ‘artificial’.  So, when we hear of synthetic gems, it’s tempting dismiss them as cheap pieces of trickery.

But did you know that synthetic gems are not fakes?  That synthetic gems are virtually identical to natural gems?  They have the same chemical makeup, structure, and optical and physical properties as natural gems.  The difference is that a natural gem forms in the earth’s crust whereas a synthetic gem is formed in the lab in conditions that mimic the natural process.

Synthetic gem | www.gemstonedetective.com

The first benefit of synthetic gems is cost.  With natural gems, the rarer the gemstone, the higher the price.  A large, high quality gem can be very expensive. As synthetic gems are formed in the lab, rarity is not such an issue – but you still have a ‘real’ gem.

Synthetic gems are not dirt cheap though.  Remember, they are pretty much identical to natural gems.  Synthetic gems vary in price depending on the process used to grow them.  Some processes are more complex and costly than others.

A synthetic gem could be a good choice if you would like a gemstone with few flaws.  Some gemstones, such as sapphire, ruby and emerald, have many inclusions (flaws) in their natural form.  As synthetic gemstones are formed in the lab, it’s easier to control the process.  This means fewer inclusions.

Many people worry about whether their gemstone is an ethical purchase.  There are many ways to ensure your gemstone is ethical, but if you’re concerned about environmental impact or human rights issues, buying a synthetic gemstone is a very easy and straightforward way to put your mind at rest.

However, you may feel a sentimental pull towards a gemstone that has lain beneath the earth’s surface for millions of years.  Perhaps you like the fact that your gemstone has inclusions – after all our flaws can make us unique!

So, what do you think?  Would you consider buying a synthetic gem?  Let us know in the comments below!

Kim Rix

Gemstone Detective