April's birthstone is remarkably simple in composition, yet stunning in its unique ability to reflect and refract light into vivid flashes of brilliant color. The ancient Hindus called the Diamond "Vajra," meaning lightening, both because of the sparks of light thrown off by this gem as well as its invincible strength. The Diamond is harder than any other substance on earth.
Diamonds have been revered throughout history. Used to embellish such items as crowns, swords and emblems as well as jewelry, they've even been part of national holidays. Queen Victoria declared the celebration of her 50th year of reign a "Diamond Jubilee." Diamonds have also been credited for having certain medicinal properties. During the middle ages, these gemstones were thought to heal illness, but only if the ailing person took the Diamond into bed to warm it up first!
Formed deep within the earth where there is intense heat and pressure, Diamonds are simply crystallized carbon. Volcanic activity of centuries ago brought these gemstones to the earth's surface, where they are found either within volcanic rock formations or washed out into rivers. India is thought to be the first river-bed source of Diamond mining, but today these gemstones are found primarily in Australia, the Soviet Union, and Africa.
No more notable it its uncut state than a plain pebble upon the beach, the true beauty of the Diamond was not revealed until the 16th century, when gemstone cutting and polishing techniques were perfected. Prior to this time, it was considered taboo to modify the original state of a Diamond. Today, the value and appeal of this stone depends largely upon how skillfully it is cut and faceted.
A gift of a Diamond is symbolic of everlasting love. There is no more convincing a promise of an enduring relationship than the brilliant gemstone that has endured in people's hearts throughout the ages.