The Diamond Pro

April Birthstone (with Alternatives)

By Michael Fried
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Beautiful Diamond ring April's Birthstone

Diamonds have been well-loved since the fourth century BCE and were established as the April birthstone during Biblical times. In the book of Exodus in the Bible, the high priest Aaron wore a breastplate adorned with twelve gemstones—one being the diamond. In 1912, the list of birthstones was standardized, officially making diamonds the prominent April birthstone.

Diamonds are considered the top choice for April birthstone buyers. Diamonds offer incredible beauty and brilliance. They can be cut into many shapes for rings, pendants, earrings, and more. Diamonds are associated with love and passion, and can be gifted for any celebration from engagements to birthdays and anniversaries

In general, diamonds are one of the best jewelry for gifts, because of their classic appeal and brilliance. Formed over billions of years beneath the Earth’s surface, diamonds are the most durable gemstone, ranking 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. With this April birthstone, you can feel confident that it will last a lifetime and beyond.

In addition to the diamond, there are April birthstone alternatives, such as opal and sapphire. We share details about these options further down in our guide.

Diamond Symbolism and Meaning

Diamonds were once reserved exclusively for royalty. Thanks to its legendary hardness, the diamond has long been associated with invincibility and strength, while assuming the king of gems status.

One oft-quoted mythical legend tells of the God of Mines from an unknown pantheon who called his court together and ordered them to bring him rubies, sapphires, and emeralds—every kind of gem in existence. He took each gift and crushed into a powder, mixing them together, over which he said, “Let this be something that will combine the beauty of all; yet it must be pure, and it must be invincible.” Thus the diamond was born.

Yet another origin story associates diamonds with lightning, and it was believed it could also prevent lightning from striking. Interestingly, the Sanskrit word for diamond is translated as thunderbolt, the weapon of the warrior god Indra.

The world’s hardest substance is both a symbol of victory and strength as well as wealth and abundance. It’s featured in the literature of all the world’s major religions and civilizations. Although believed to be gifted by a mighty God, diamonds were actually forged by mother nature over millions of years.

The attribute that most interests us is the multifaceted gem’s symbol of enduring love. A diamond pledged freely and willingly can transfer its powers of strength and fortitude that can only be superseded by the love it symbolizes.

Diamond Color

Composed of pure carbon, diamonds actually come in a variety of colors and are not just colorless as commonly believed. They can appear white or black, and even in various shades of red, purple, pink, blue, yellow and green.

The diamond is the only gem on the Mohs scale to rate a 10 in hardness. Indeed, the word diamond comes from the ancient Greek adamas, which variously means unbreakable or unconquerable.

April's birthstone Diamond tops out the mohs scale of hardness

What is the Moh’s Scale? It is a scale of hardness that is typically used to classify mineral types. The scale runs from 1 to 10, and the position on the scale depends on the ability to scratch minerals that are rated lower.

Diamond Origins

Diamonds may be forever, but the earliest description of diamonds date to the 4th century BC in India where it was first mined. Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote about their use as an engraving tool in the ancient world in the 1st century AD.

In the early 18th century, major finds were made in Brazil, followed by significant discoveries in South Africa in the 19th century, which dramatically increased the global diamond supply.

Today, diamonds are mined in about 25 countries, including India, South Africa, Russia, and Australia. There are no diamond mines in Europe or the continent of Antarctica, where it is actually illegal by treaty to extract mineral resources.

Fun Facts

  • King Louis IX of France established a law in the 13th century that restricted diamond ownership to the court. The world’s most valuable gem would remain the province of royalty until the 1870s when production driven by South Africa exceeded 1 million carats for the first time.
  • The world’s largest diamond is the Golden Jubilee, with a weight of 545.65 carats. It is part of the crown jewels of Thailand.
  • After the fall of Emperor Napoleon III in 1871, many of the French crown jewels were sent to auction. Tiffany and Co. of New York spent nearly $500,000 to buy most of the collection. One piece they didn’t get was the empress’ diamond bow brooch, purchased by New York’s Astor family. Today the diamond-draped antique is valued at between $4 million and $6 million.
  • The term “diamonds are forever” is based on the belief that a diamond makes the bond between a couple hard to break.
  • It is the traditional wedding anniversary stone for the 10th and 60th celebrations.

Diamond Lore for the April Birthstone

People tend to gravitate toward a love of birthstones because it provides them with a beautiful and very personal gift that they can give to someone. Birthstones once were thought to possess a kind of magical energy that the recipient could use as a form of protection.

In today’s world, they are given as a very thoughtful gift usually in the form of jewelry like rings, necklaces, and earrings. Doing so provides the recipient with much good fortune.

A diamond symbolized purity, love, and faith and went from essentially being a dark lump of coal, turned into something so beautiful and amazing because of the force of nature.

A very mesmerizing feature of the diamond is the way that light is dispersed. The dispersion is what allows us to see the beautiful sparkle and all the colors of the rainbow when the white light gets split in just the right way.

Diamonds have also been referred to as the stone of immortality which is why a famous slogan states that diamonds are forever. Also due to this extreme strength and durability, diamond birthstone jewelry can be worn regularly as everyday jewelry.

A poet from the second-century had believed that diamonds could ward off the evil eye. The evil eye was said to cause sickness, poverty, and death and the diamond could heal them.

Diamonds are also the gift of choice for 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries and are a very popular choice when choosing engagement and wedding rings. They are commonly known as an everlasting symbol of both love and marriage.

Qualities to Look for in Your Diamond Birthstone Jewelry

When choosing the perfect April birthstone diamond, you will want to take a closer look the diamond’s color, clarity, cut, and carat. The less color you find within the stone, the more desirable it will be. However, you need to look closely because each diamond will have very subtle differences between them that can easily and significantly impact the overall value and quality of the diamond.

The clarity, or a closer look at the internal characteristics, are following a grading scale that ranges from flawless to included (I1/I2). While some diamond inclusions may be noticeable even with an untrained eye, it often takes ten times magnification before you can see any blemishes.

The cut speaks volumes of the quality and workmanship of each diamond. Brilliance is also a factor to look at because it has to do with the sparkle and shine of the diamond. You will find diamond cuts on a scale from excellent to poor.

Finally, the carat is a description of the diamond’s weight, and again, each carat has its own qualities that sets it apart from the next and may be assigned a different value when all the other considerations are also factored in.

Colored Diamonds

If you think that all diamonds can only be white or colorless, then you are wrong. There are several different colors of diamonds including some in shades of brown and gray. When choosing diamond jewelry for April birthdays, you will most often find that yellow colored diamonds and white diamonds are some of the most common options for the April birthstone and tend to be more affordable.

You can find diamonds being used in a variety of different settings including women’s and men’s jewelry, children’s jewelry, engagement rings, wedding rings and wedding bands, a diamond pendant, men’s watches, and April birthstone jewelry.

April Birthstone: Keeping Your Diamond Birthstone Clean

Once you have received your very own diamond birthstone, you will want to do everything you can to ensure that is continues to shine brilliantly and sparkle. Use a lint-free cloth to regularly wipe down the diamond. You can also use a bit of warm water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to give it an even deeper clean.

It is also recommended that you take all your diamond jewelry to get cleaned professionally. They will also be able to examine the setting of the diamond to help maintain its integrity and beauty over the years.

April Birthstone Alternatives

Each month, as briefly mentioned above, may see more than just one gem for their birth month, which we can refer to as alternative birthstones. When focusing on birthstone jewelry options for gifts, it is good to cover all the bases and find jewelry that features every single gem for your birth month.

White topaz, for example, is one of the alternative birthstones for April and is a transparent mineral that also usually depicts true love. It also symbolizes the expression of ideas, trust, and personal growth.

Opal

Opal/Diamond Pendant in White Gold
Opal/Diamond Pendant in White Gold from Angara

Opals are gemstones with a primary color of white or black, and can display a noticeable spectrum of colors. The colorful kaleidoscope character is due to the microscopic silica in its composition. For these April birthstone alternatives, the opals are usually white or white with color (instead of black, the rarer variety of opal). 

Opals rank a 5.5 or 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making them less durable than diamonds and some other gemstones. Extra care should be taken to not damage opals, but are usually safe in earrings and pendants. You can find opal rings as well, but they aren’t recommended for everyday wear and are better suited for special events. Opals are thought to bring good luck, fortune, and passion to wearers.

Sapphire

Petite Sapphire Diamond Ring
Petite Sapphire/Diamond Ring from Blue Nile

Sapphires are gemstones in the corundum mineral family and are most common in a vivid blue color. They come in other tones such as pink, green, and purple, but blue is standard as an April birthstone alternative. 

For those looking for a more colorful option for an April birthstone, the sapphire is a beautiful choice. Sapphires are believed to bring serenity and peace of mind to those who wear them. Sapphires are durable as they rank a 9 on the Mohs scale. They make for stunning everyday jewelry, such as pendants and rings.

Pearl Center with  White Topaz Clover Halo
Pearl Center with White Topaz Clover Halo from Blue Nile

White Topaz

White topaz is a gemstone that resembles the color of a white diamond, but is composed of the silicate mineral and crystallizes within lava. Colorless topaz doesn’t have the brilliance of a diamond and is a less expensive alternative. White topaz also isn’t as durable as a diamond, coming in at an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. It’s still sturdy enough for everyday wear, including bracelets and pendants. Since ancient times, topaz has been associated with enchantment and calming tempers.

Teardrop Framed Oval Rose Quartz Earrings
Teardrop Framed Oval Rose Quartz Earrings from Angara

Quartz Crystal

Quartz crystal is a gemstone made of silicon and oxygen atoms and is abundant at the Earth’s surface. Quartz crystal can be made into jewelry, such as pendants and earrings. The quartz can be clear or carry a soft tint like green or rose. 

With a Mohs score of 7, quartz isn’t as durable as diamonds or white topaz but is still strong enough for everyday wear. Quartz is usually an inexpensive option because it’s widely abundant. Quartz offers far less brilliance and fire than diamonds.

Gift Ideas

Getting engaged? This 1/2 carat round, near-colorless center diamond set in platinum may appeal to the bride to be. One diamond not enough? Try this princess cut center diamond in 14K white gold that features a 1/4 carat of pavé-set diamonds.

Diamond rings aren’t just for engagements. Go vintage for your wedding band with this platinum ring encrusted with sparkling round diamonds and a marquise motif finished with milgrain detailing. A more modern twist can be seen in this wedding ring of intertwined bands, one of band of solid platinum and the other of micropavé set diamonds.

For necklaces, let’s go straight to extraordinary, starting with this diamond pendant that features a white pear-shaped diamond surrounded by a single row of pavé diamonds and a yellow cushion-cut diamond drop. Or add this 18k white gold necklace to your own crown jewel collection with its 115 brilliant round diamonds.

Diamonds can look even better when paired with other gems, such as these pear-shaped sapphire earrings framed by a scintillating double halo of pavé diamonds set in 18k white gold or these drop earrings featuring emeralds and brilliant round diamonds pavé set in 18k white gold.

And bracelets? One of our favorites is this understated but elegant 14k white gold bangle with seven stationed diamonds.

As you start shopping for diamonds, keep in mind the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat. The cut is what makes the diamond most eye-catching. As noted earlier, color comes in a vast range, with true colorless gems being quite rare. Clarity refers to how “clean” the stone is on the inside; most diamonds have inclusions or blemishes, but these are usually invisible to the naked eye. Carat simply refers to the weight of the gemstone, with one carat equal to one-fifth of a gram.

Whether looking to pledge your unwavering love to a partner or commemorate a special moment, diamonds are, and will remain forever an ideal gemstone to give as a gift.

Read More About Birthstones:  

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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