If you have a birthday in the month of April, then the coveted diamond is your birthstone. The Greeks named this gemstone “Adamas”, meaning invincible, and the earliest recorded source of diamonds was from the Golconda region in India. This particular region has produced spectacular diamonds over the past 2000 years, including significant diamonds like the Blue Hope Diamond and the qualities of diamonds have been recorded as early as the 3rd Century.
George Frederick Kunz in “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones” writes:
“A legend claims the God of Mines called his courtiers to bring together all the world’s known gems: Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds, etc. etc., and he found them to be of all tints and colors and varying hardnesses. He took one of each and crushed them; he compounded them together, and declared, “Let this be something that will combine the beauty of all.” He spoke, and lo, the Diamond was born…pure as a dewdrop and invincible in hardness. Yet when its ray is resolved in the spectrum, it displays all the colors of the gems from which it was made.” Kunz, 325-32
Diamonds are formed under extremely high pressure and high temperature at around 100 miles below the earth’s surface. They are composed almost entirely of a single element, Carbon, at 99.5%, with the other 0.05% being made up of trace minerals. This 0.05% will often influence the color and crystal shape of the diamond.
Diamonds are also the hardest material on earth, which makes diamonds useful in many applications other than jewelry including abrasives, drills, supercomputers, and much more.
In 1477, Mary of Burgundy married Maximilian and her ring was considered the first known diamond engagement ring. Diamonds weren’t just used for betrothal, the Romans wore diamonds in their rings for their supernatural powers and to ward off poison, fear, and insanity. The diamond is also a symbol of strength and clarity and can give victory to whoever wears it on their left arm in battle.
The color of diamonds ranges from colorless to yellow, brown, as well as more rare colors like pink, red, blue, and green.
Whatever color diamond you choose, you can safely wear it in a ring every day. With their intense sparkle, this birthstone can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner. However, if your diamond has been clarity enhanced, or has many inclusions, it is safer to clean it with soap and water and dry with a soft cloth.
At this point, it is more important to remain healthy than to forego the hand sanitizer. I would simply choose to wear rings with gemstones that can handle regular contact with an alcohol-based sanitizer. In this case, your safe bets are diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.⠀
For more information, I found an article that explains things nicely on Joy of Country Living.
PS: This article does not mention emeralds, but I think since most emeralds are oil treated to enhance their beauty, I might think twice about using an alcohol-based product on them.⠀
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