Perhaps the favorite of all gemstones, the diamond holds a top position in terms of beauty and desirability. Those who were born during the month of April are fortunate to claim it as their birthstone. Diamonds are more than a billion years old, making them timeless and cherished for millennia. During the Roman period, Pliny said that diamonds were not only the most valuable of precious stones, but of all things in the world. First discovered in India, the diamond has long been a symbol of purity. It has long been believed to instill trust in relationships, attracting abundance, bringing clarity of mind, clearing mental and emotional pain, and imparts fearlessness and fortitude. Most diamonds mined are not gem-quality. These diamonds are used in a variety of ways from cutting and drilling tools to beauty products. Only the finest and largest diamonds are cut and used in jewelry, making it a rare and worthwhile investment. It wasn’t until Victorian times that diamonds became famed as wedding and engagement rings, thanks to Queen Victoria’s famous love for diamond jewelry. Today, diamonds are used in all types of jewelry for countless reasons. Buying diamonds can be intimidating but knowing a bit about the diamond can provide the information needed to begin the search for your ideal piece.

Diamonds consist almost entirely of pure carbon and were formed due to incredible heat and pressure deep in the earth’s crust over more than a billion years. Volcanic activity brings the diamonds up towards the surface where they mined in one of three ways. Alluvial mining is done in riverbeds where diamonds are washed from their primary deposits into the water, then settle on the bottom. Marine mining uses equipment to bring gravel from the ocean floor to the surface, where it is then processed for diamonds. Commercially available diamonds today are primarily mined through open-pit operations. Diamonds can be found in roughly 35 countries including the United States. Most gem diamonds are mined in South Africa, Russia, and Botswana, while industrial diamonds are primarily mined in Australia. Changes in the diamond industry over the past 30 years have been significant to address supply and prevent the use of diamonds funding war and terrorism across the globe. Reputable jewelers and GIA certification leaves little concern about buying diamonds from a professional jeweler locally.

When selecting a diamond, it is important to understand the 4 C’s which are cut, color, clarity, and carat. Your jeweler can help you understand the importance and significance of each in detail. Cut refers to the angles, proportions, facets, and finishes that create the diamonds scintillation or “sparkle”. It is often considered the most important condition of a diamond’s overall beauty. Diamond color is graded on a scale. Diamonds come in a range of colors, and color is graded on a scale, however even “clear” diamonds vary in their hue from colorless to yellow-hued. The closer a diamond is to colorless, the more rare, costly, and beautiful they become. A diamond expert can explain where your diamond falls on this scale.

Clarity is the third “C”, and it refers to the number of blemishes or inclusions on the surface or within a diamond. It too is graded on a scale ranging from flawless to heavy inclusions. Inclusions are minerals or other materials present when the diamond formed and can affect light reflection. Diamonds that are “eye-clean”, meaning no inclusions can be seen with the naked eye are preferred, but increase in cost. The final aspect of diamond selection is carat. Carat is a measurement of weight that refers to the size of the diamond and is typically what people are most familiar with. Because each diamond is unique, most people seek a balance between these to find the best quality diamond within their budget. It is important to note also, that while these four aspects are graded individually, diamonds should be looked at as a whole entity.

Most people know that diamonds are the hardest material on earth. However, few realize that diamonds are 58 times harder than anything else in nature. Because of this, it is an ideal gemstone for everyday wear. A diamond can only be scratched by another diamond, but diamonds can scratch the setting when loose, so it is important to professionally check your diamond jewelry at least twice per year to prevent loss. It should be noted that diamonds can break if hit hard enough in the right position, so it is still best to leave jewelry in a safe place when doing any heavy work. Diamonds can be cleaned with soap and water, in an ultrasonic cleaner, or with steam. It is critical that you check your diamond with a loupe before using ultrasonic or steam cleaning to ensure there are no cracks or chips in your diamond. Perhaps the most important consideration with diamond jewelry is the setting itself. If your prongs or settings feel rough, snag on fabrics, or if the stone is loose in the setting it is important to have a jeweler repair the setting and should not be worn until repaired.

Diamonds offer those born in April perhaps the widest selection of options of all the birthstones. Paffrath and Son Jewelers in Willmar, MN has hundreds of selections in stock from rings and earrings to bracelets and men’s jewelry. If you can’t find the perfect piece in stock, we can order or design and build your custom jewelry in-store. Our expert jeweler can also take your precious family jewelry and give them new life. For nearly 100 years, we have been your local West Central Minnesota jeweler, and we pride ourselves on providing an unmatched level of experience and care to every customer. If you are in the market for diamonds, please don’t hesitate to stop by and speak with one of our caring and dedicated diamond specialists. We love helping people from those buying their first diamond to those with extensive knowledge and experience. We look forward to serving you!

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