Lucky babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone. Characteristics of determination are comparable to the origins the name Diamond, from the Greek ‘adamas’ meaning ‘unbreakable’. They really are the hardest of them all, measuring a mighty 10 on the Mohs scale.
Many wear diamonds every day in engagement rings which is great for showing off that someone wants to marry you, but these beauties were also believed to cure all kinds of illnesses, protect homes from lightning and have wondrous anti-poison powers. So worthwhile trying to tie someone down for the long haul I guess!
The first diamond engagement ring was commissioned by Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477 for Mary of Burgundy. De Beers secured the tradition and commercial success of the diamond for engagement rings in 1947 with its slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’. De Beers, or companies under that umbrella organisation, control up to 80% of the world’s production and supply of diamonds at any given time.
The shape of the brilliant cut is synonymous with the diamond, this cut is what gave rise to its popularity, showing off its potential for clarity and sparkle. It only takes a piece of jewellery to be shaped this way to conjure the impression of a dazzling diamond, like this ring with a diamond silhouette by Carrie Weston.
Often considered the most precious of gemstones, a diamond sometimes gains celebrity status, not just because of who the wearer might be. These famous stones are notable because of their beauty, size or their exciting lives. The Star of Africa, the largest cut diamond of fine quality, is a ‘celebrity’ diamond that lives locally to the School at the Tower of London.
Initially only found in India, this stone gained popularity after the faceted cut was developed to reveal its true beauty, after which diamonds were mined in Brazil and later South Africa. A diamond would be a pretty good card to have when playing Gemstone Top Trumps (just checked and this doesn’t exist – gap in the market alert!) as a diamond is the only gemstone that can cut a diamond. Lasers are used to cut diamonds nowadays, but powdered diamonds are used in grinding and polishing.
Diamonds are assessed by a system called the ‘Four Cs’: colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. Diamonds with either a very strong colour or completely colourless are the most valuable, yet these rough grey diamonds in this ring by Ruth Tomlinson (above) have a beauty all of their own.
London Jewellery School tutor Sophie Arnott (of Anvil & Ivy) uses wax carving to achieve this organic finish with a grey diamond.
The simple clarity of a diamond can lend itself to a multitude of different design styles. As we can see here in these flashy compressed carbon rings. Erica Weiner specialises in vintage-inspired jewellery, this deco lovely and its friends are handmade in New York.
If bigger is better go for the Queen Nico ring with stunning grey diamond by Digby & Iona.
London jeweller Disa Allsopp may be inspired by the jewellery of ancient civilisations, yet her tiny rows of diamonds look modern and alternative in these unique rings.
So we’re all set for a great April. Are you? Maybe one of our courses could help you get your diamond ducks in a row.
Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.