April's best known birthstone is diamond, that vibrant, entrancing stone that we must often pay so dearly for. The example I chose to show here (from Kulicke on Etsy.com) is a raw diamond, selected because if you're like me, you may have never actually seen an uncut diamond before, and it is quite a different thing than what you usually see, is it not? Diamond is a cubic crystal of pure carbon -- the hardest of all substances. Though they are often colorless, they can also be yellow, brown, blue, pink, green, orange (or orange-black) and red. Historically, they were believed to provide spiritual protection, as well as to enhance opportunities for victory, courage, faithfulness, purity, and love. On the subject of healing, some say they can be used therapeutically to intensify and burn through emotional issues; conversely, wearers are cautioned to remove them from their person if they are in a bad frame of mind. Believers actually say that diamonds can assist a person in activating the prefrontal lobes of the brain, by making high-frequency vibrational energies of the spirit more available to the conscious self. I don't know -- sounds like what chocolate does for me -- but all kidding aside, there is generally no argument that a beautifully cut diamond is one of the most incredible stones in existence.
Diamonds were formed naturally over eons in the earth, from crystallized carbon. They are found worldwide, with most of the production coming from Australia, South Africa, Brazil and Russia. Natural red diamonds are among the rarest of all gemstones -- only two have been found! Check out the 'provocative' poem provided in the Gregorian calendar for those whose birthstone is a diamond:
She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone,
Emblem of innocence, is known
Hmm, I'm not sure what this is saying, unless it's guaranteeing the purity of the diamond wearer, and I don't think we even want to go there! But given the traditions in Western culture and issues affecting women for centuries, it's probably no surprise that the diamond evolved as the choice stone of the engagement ring. Diamonds have come to symbolize, for some, innocence, invulnerable faith, joy, life, love, and purity. Ironically, diamonds and diamond rings can call to mind the opposite, with flambouyant wearers from the entertainment industry -- Remember the song 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend'? Here are some lyrics we may not always remember:
There may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer
But diamonds are a girl's best friend
There may come a time when a hard boiled employer thinks you're awful nice
But get that ice or else no dice
He's your guy when stocks are high but beware when they start to descend
It's then that those louses go back to their spouses
Diamonds are a girl's best friend
Ah, it is stuff like this that tells me there really is power in stones -- if only in a funny, 'placebo effect' kind of way. But enough about all that and back to the seriousness of jewelry-making. I think the important point is that there are so many beautiful gemstones out there -- diamonds are really just a drop in the bucket of what you have to choose from when you look for very special and powerful stones. If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also enjoy the one I did on 'D is for Diamond Beads'. Until next time, peruse the lovely gemstones at The Bead Collection, and happy beading!