This April, don’t let all of the showers before the May flowers get you down. Instead, take comfort in the fact you were blessed with that most luxurious of birthstones, the diamond! Besides being the hardest rock in existence (the only stone to merit a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale), the diamond is in fact 58 times harder than any other natural substance on earth. The ancients could discern diamonds because only another diamond could scratch a diamond, and according to Pliny the Elder, they were “the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.” But what is it that makes the diamond so unique? Though diamonds are composed of over 99.95% carbon, so is the graphite in your pencil. What sets them apart is the fantastically intense heat and pressure under which diamonds comes into being, located about 100 miles underground. Within these conditions, carbon atoms are able to align into an isometric structure, or one in which the atoms are all bonded the same way in each direction.
Though this fascinating structure gives them the highest possible level of luster and shine out of any other transparent gemstone, making diamonds the most naturally luminous of stones, these tiny miracles are not always colorless and white. Diamonds also come in a vast array of “fancy” colors brought about through other mineral atoms in the stone. Typically the most valuable of these are, as in all stones, also the most rare; vivid shades of pink, blue, and green, for instance. The diamond is also the stone of the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries, and more than that, it is a gift that is sure to please. Only the act of gifting could make this most luminous stone even brighter– according to the indomitable Mae West “I have always felt a gift diamond shines so much better than one you buy for yourself.” As such a solid investment, these incredibly hardy little stones are sure to be enjoyed for a lifetime, and are not infrequently passed on through generations…so be sure and pick a good one (with the help of your local Eve!)