The birthstone for April is definitely one of our favorites, but that’s because we’re a little biased! If you’re lucky enough to be born in April or celebrate an anniversary this month, your official birthstone is the diamond.

It comes as no surprise that we’re big fans of the diamond here at Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash Diamond Jewelers (it’s in our name, as you can see!). We specialize in a wide variety of diamond jewelry, particularly engagement rings. Many of our pieces feature our Maurer Star Diamonds, which are of the highest quality, graded by the American Gem Society (AGS), and directly imported from Belgium, thanks to our close relationship with the Fischler Diamond family. We’re proud to bring you superior diamonds for all of your jewelry needs.

Enough about our relationship with diamonds - let’s focus on the diamonds themselves.

How are diamonds formed?

Diamonds are pure carbon. They score a 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which is the highest possible rating. They’re 58 times harder than any other substance in nature and can only be scratched or cut with another diamond.

They form deep within the earth and are brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions, making it possible to mine them. Many countries are known for diamond production, such as India, Brazil, South Africa, and many other countries in Africa. The diamond industry started in India, then Brazil became a prominent supplier, but once diamonds were discovered in South Africa, it led to what we know as the modern diamond market. The largest diamond ever found, at 3,106 carats, was discovered in South Africa in 1905. The 530 carat Cullian I pear-shaped diamond is now set in the Royal Sceptre of England and one of the country’s Crown Jewels.

When diamonds are mined, like any other gemstone, they must then be cut. The ability to cut diamonds is a prized skill and an art in and of itself. A perfectly cut diamond is the most valuable and prized for its unparalleled brilliance. For years, diamonds had to be cut by hand, without any technology to assist the diamond cutter. Many diamonds show their age in how they were cut - the old European style was popular for a long time, but eventually segued to the modern brilliant cut, thanks to De Beers and their tagline, “A Diamond is Forever,” which popularized their diamonds. Now, some diamonds are still cut by hand, but many are machine-cut to ensure perfection and brilliance.

Myths around diamonds

Some people believe that diamonds are only recently in high demand, but that’s not true. For thousands of years, the diamond has been prized for its beauty. Its name comes from the Greek “adamas” which means “unbreakable.” Diamonds were traded as early as the fourth century BC in India, which is still a major exporter of the jewel. They were a sign of royalty and coveted by the wealthy. It wasn’t long before trade brought the diamond to Europe and the royals of Europe were also coveting and wearing them. The first recorded diamond ring was given in 1477 by the Archduke of Austria, Maximillian, to Mary of Burgundy, at their betrothal. 

Quick facts about diamonds

Diamonds come in a rainbow of colors. Their intensity varies as well, from incredibly faint to strikingly vivid. The more saturation, the higher the value of the diamond. Any color can naturally occur in a diamond, but many are also treated in a laboratory in order to enhance their color. These types of diamonds are then referred to as “color-treated” diamonds.

When it comes to diamonds and shopping for diamond jewelry, it’s vital to have a basic understanding of the 4Cs. While you should know them all, the one that is most important and affects a diamond’s brilliance the most is its cut. When a diamond has an excellent cut, you can see it sparkle from across the room. The American Gem Society (AGS) takes diamond cuts very seriously and it plays a big role in how the AGS grades their diamonds. A diamond must have a superior cut grade and be graded by the AGS to be considered a Maurer Star Diamond.

Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring for any time of the year, or want a piece of diamond jewelry to celebrate your birthstone, we have plenty of options for you. Stop by Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash Diamond Jewelers in Lancaster, PA for all of your diamond jewelry needs!