April Birthstone: Diamonds Plus Need To Know Alternatives

Diamond Stud Earrings

You April babies are often considered lucky because of your diamond birthstone. No wonder, who doesn't love diamond jewelry, right? I always know when I ask about a birth date; if I get a big eye roll, likely the answer is April. Those born in April often perceive they are deprived of gifts of birthstone jewelry because their birthstone, diamond, is more expensive than many others. Many have just come to accept it. But there are solutions to this gift-giving challenge I would like to share.

Did you know there are multiple birthstones for each month? There is an ancient birthstone list, a traditional birthstone list, and the modern list with which we are most familiar. So April's birthstone isn't just the diamond. April also has alternate birthstones of sapphires and opals.

Sapphire Ring | Opal Ring Jewelry

Sapphire jewelry is stunning, and it may be a surprise, but sapphires are not only blue, but they also come in almost every color of the rainbow: pink, yellow, orange, peach, and violet colors. Not only is sapphire jewelry gorgeous, but the wisdom stone has special powers. Each color of Sapphire brings particular wisdom. It releases mental tension, depression, unwanted thoughts, and spiritual confusion. Sapphire restores balance within the body, aligning the physical, psychological, and spiritual planes, bringing serenity and peace of mind. Sapphires are also the birthstone for September.

Opal is found in a variety of colors and has the colors of other gems flickering inside them. The Romans thought opal was the most precious and powerful of gemstones. Thinking you need a romantic jewelry gift? Opal has always been associated with love and passion, as well as desire and eroticism; it is a seductive stone that intensifies emotional states and releases inhibitions. It can also act as an emotional stabilizer. Wearing opal jewelry is said to bring about loyalty and faithfulness. Opal is also the birthstone for October.

Demi Fine Jewelry Diamond

But what if the perfect birthstone jewelry gift for her is diamond jewelry on a modest budget? You are in luck. Enter a new category of jewelry called demi-fine. For those who like traditional birthstones, demi-fine offers contemporary designs crafted from gold plated silver or 10K or 14K gold and precious gemstones at moderate prices. This offering seamlessly bridges the gap between costume and fine jewelry. I consider these pieces understated statements: a little luxury that can be worn every day. These demi-fine jewelry pieces feel personal, rather than pretentious, and for the women buying jewelry to reward themselves, these pieces are perfect.

Of course, if you want to stay with the traditional birthstone and have the budget, fine diamond jewelry is always admired and desired for its beauty. For centuries, diamonds, regarded as the ultimate gift, were a symbol of eternal love and beauty was simply defined by the wearer. Historians record diamond trading as early as 4 BC in India where diamonds were easily mined from deposits along three major rivers.

The process by which a diamond gemstone is formed deep beneath the Earth's crust. Once created and then forced upward from the center of the Earth until uncovered. This wonder of nature is one of the reasons diamonds are so admired and valued. But before this process was understood, many ancient civilizations believed that these beautiful shimmering stones were the embodiment of lightning on Earth. Old legends tell tales of great healing powers of diamonds curing brain disease, alleviating pituitary gland disorders, and drawing toxins out from the blood.

To make the most of your diamond jewelry budget, it helps to understand how diamond quality is determined. Today, the 4C's of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world. This standard values perfection in a diamond. It wasn't until the 1930's that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight.

Cut

Of all the 4Cs, the diamond cut has the most significant effect on a diamond's brilliance; this means it will be less luminous if it is poorly cut. The more precise the cut of the diamond, the more captivating the diamond is to the eye. Cut does not refer to shape (pear, oval), but the symmetry, proportioning and polish of a diamond.

There are three "ideal cuts" commonly used as standards to compare a more or less symmetrical arrangement of facets, which together modify the shape and appearance of a diamond crystal to enhance its beauty best. The most popular of diamond cuts is the modern round brilliant, which uses both mathematical and empirical analysis to perfect its facet arrangements and proportions.

A diamond's cut is evaluated by trained graders, with higher grades given to stones whose symmetry and proportions most closely match the particular "ideal" used as a benchmark. In determining the quality of the cut, a diamond grader is evaluating the craftsman's skill. During the diamond cutting process, the diamond cutter wants to get the heaviest diamond out of a rough stone because diamonds are valued in part by weight. Sometimes the desire for heaviest weight and ideal cut can be at odds lowering cut grade.

New technologies like laser cutting and computer-aided design, have not only enabled the development of cuts whose complexity, optical performance, and waste reduction was not possible before, but also allowed for unique shapes such as stars and butterflies.

The GIA Cut Grading System applies to the most popular cutting style – the modern round brilliant – and all clarities across the D-to-Z color range. There are five cut grades: Excellent (EX), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F), and Poor (P).

 

Color

The color of gem-quality diamonds occurs in many hues. In the range from colorless to light yellow or light brown. Colorless diamonds are the rarest. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond is entirely transparent with no hue or color. However, in reality, almost no gem-sized natural diamonds are perfect.

Most natural diamonds fall in a normal color range between white and pale yellow or brown. The grading scale for diamonds in the normal color range used by internationally recognized laboratories is from D, which is colorless to Z, which is a pale yellow or brown color. Traditionally, diamonds that possess a pale yellow or brown hue, are the least desirable for jewelry but that has changed. Diamonds in brown shades are stylish and called champagne, cognac, and chocolate diamonds. Diamonds of more intense color (usually yellow but in some cases red, green, or blue) are called fancy color diamonds.

On the Gemological Institute of America's scale are valued according to their clarity and color. Grades "D" or "E" are considered colorless and is much more valuable than an "R" or "Y" rated diamond, which is light yellow or brown. Supply and demand establish the value. High color diamonds are rarer, and consumers more desire bright white appearance.

When buying a diamond, near-colorless grade diamond ("G"  or "H" rated) is more cost-effective than purchasing a colorless grade diamond ("D" rated). If compared, they are nearly indistinguishable to the naked untrained eye, especially when mounted on a ring setting.

Other natural colors (blue, red, pink, for example) are known as "fancy," and their color grading is different from white colorless diamonds.

Clarity

Diamond clarity is the quality that relates to the existence and visual appearance of internal characteristics of a diamond called inclusions, and surface defects, called blemishes. Diamonds without inclusions or blemishes are rare; however, requiring magnification to see.

Inclusions are solids, liquids, or gases that were trapped in a mineral as it formed. They may be crystals of a foreign material or even another diamond crystal or may have produced structural imperfections, such as tiny cracks that make a diamond appear whitish or cloudy. The appearance of the stone is affected by the number of inclusions, their size, location, and how visible they are. Most inclusions present in gem-quality diamonds do not modify the diamonds' performance or structural integrity and are not visible to the naked eyes. However, large clouds can affect a diamond's ability to transmit and scatter light. Large cracks close to or breaking the surface may reduce a diamond's resistance to fracture.

Carat

Carat is a measure of physical weight in metric carats and is the most objective grade of the 4Cs. One carat equals 1/5 gram and is divided into 100 units, called points. For example, a half-carat gemstone would weigh .50 ct. or 50 points. Carat is not a measure of size.

Understanding diamond weight is one of the biggest and easiest ways to reduce costs when buying diamond jewelry. The price per carat increases as the weight goes up. Especially when shopping for larger diamonds, consider going under the commonly sought out weight. If you are looking for a 1 carat diamond, consider searching for a carat weight just below the 1 carat weight for example, 0.95carat. If you were looking for half a carat then consider 0.45ct.

April born jewelry lovers rejoice! The perfect birthstone jewelry gift for you is available in a variety of styles and gemstones, as well as price points. Which would you choose?

 

 


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