How Diamonds Became April's Birthstone

The time has come, once again, to be jealous of all your friends who’ve been blessed with April birthdays and the diamond as their official birthstone.

 A selection of vintage diamond rings, currently available at Gray & Davis. 

A selection of vintage diamond rings, currently available at Gray & Davis. 

Famed Tiffany gemologist G.F. Kunz traced back the modern tradition of wearing stones specific to one’s birthday to eighteenth-century Poland, when gem dealers tweaked ancient lore about the twelve gems found on the biblical Breastplate of Aaron to more aptly reflect their current inventory. It was at this time that the diamond, not originally mentioned in Old Testament texts, was assigned to the month of April. The fact that the Portuguese had recently discovered huge deposits of diamonds in their colony of Brazil certainly had something to do with European dealers’ new supplies.

Though its’ status as a birthstone has a slightly-less-than-mystical origin, there’s no doubt that this special stone had more than secured it’s spot by the late-nineteenth century when Kunz was doing his research. Typical of a Victorian gentleman, he described this special species of gem in delightfully flowery prose:

“The diamond…is the gem of light. Its color is that of ice, and as the dew drop or the drop of water from a mountain stream sparkles in the light of the sun, as the icicle sparkles in winter, and the stars on a cold winter night, so the diamond sparkles, and it combines and contrasts with all known gems. Like light, it illumines them just as the sun does the plants of the earth. “

 

Happy birthday, to all our April friends!