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April's Birthstone: The Dazzling Diamond
Diamonds are a girl's best friend, right? I believe this is totally true, especially because the diamond represents true love, marriage, and happily ever after. But it is also the birthstone for those born in the month of April. There is so much more to this beautiful stone than just engagements and wedding rings. It is a wondrous stone that can be just as magical in other colors besides the colorless stone we're all used to seeing.
The History Behind the Diamond
There is much valuable history pertaining to diamonds because they are and always have been one of the most beautiful and valuable stones in history. The word "diamond" comes from a Greek word that means "indestructible and unconquerable," while in the Sanskrit language, an ancient language of India, the word means "lightning." Because of these translations, the beautiful stone was worn in ancient times on those who believed it made them invincible and courageous and gave them extra strength. It was also the symbol of eternal love for the ancient Greeks. In fact, these same people believed that the colorless stone was a splinter of a star that had fallen to the earth. Ancient Romans believed that the stone prevented bad things from happening and warded off evil spirits. Even though there was a law preventing anyone other than the king from wearing the diamond during the 1200s, it wasn't until the later part of the 15th century that there is actually a record of the diamond being used as an engagement ring by the archduke of Austria.
The Colors of the Diamond
Although the colorless stone is what you immediately think of when you think of a diamond, the stone actually is found in many other colors as well. These colors include black, brown, gray, blue, green, orange, red, yellow, purple, and pink. These different colors occur when there are certain impurities in the structure of the crystal that makes up the actual stone. Red diamonds are the rarest, while colorless diamonds are the ones found in the most abundance. Although these colorless diamonds are the most valuable, there are some that are valuable that are other colors. The Hope Diamond, for instance, is a famous and extremely valuable blue diamond.
Diamond Mine Locations Around the World
Originally mined in India and Brazil, today, diamonds are also mined in other locations, including Angola, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Central African Republic, China, Congo, Guinea, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Namibia, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Tanzania. The largest diamond mines in the world today continue to be in Botswana, Canada, and Russia. The largest market in the world for diamond jewelry is the United States.
Other Interesting Diamond Information
The diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth. Because of this, only 20% of diamonds mined are used for jewelry. Eighty percent of the diamonds found are actually used for industrial purposes. Most diamonds are a billion or more years old. They are formed miles below the surface of the earth, and they are sometimes brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions.