APRIL - DAZZLING DIAMONDS April 01 2016

Symbolic of eternal love, and thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, diamonds date back billions of years.
The diamond is the traditional birthstone of April and holds significant meaning for those born in that month, thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength.
Wearing a diamond is purported to bring other benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance. 
During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body.
It was also believed that diamonds could have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst.
Deemed as the “King of all Birthstones,” diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift.  

Adapted from the Greek word “Adamas", meaning “invincible,” diamonds come in a wide range of colours such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The colour is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of Nitrogen while blue ones contain Boron.

Whilst tradition dictated a colourless diamonds, we now have more choices than ever with fancy colour and cut combinations.
Fancy-Coloured diamonds are natural, rare and truly exotic gems of the Earth.  They come in hues of yellow, red, pink, blue, and green range in intensity from faint to vivid. Generally speaking, the more saturated the colour, the higher the value. Because a naturally fancy coloured diamond is rare, they will always be priced higher than a colourless diamond of the same cut and clarity.

In today’s  gem and jewellery industry, because coloured diamonds are being used more frequently, the colour is sometimes introduced in a laboratory and are correctly called colour treated diamonds. When purchasing a fancy-colour diamond, you should ask if any enhancements or treatments were used to improve its colour and/or clarity.

THE REAL DEAL OR A SWEET STEAL?
There is no synthetic gemstone on the market that has had a greater impact on the jewellery industry than cubic zirconia. "CZ" as it is sometimes referred to in the industry, came on the market around 1978. Initially,  prices were quite high when compared to current price levels. A one carat "Russian" cubic zirconia was sold for around US$20.00+ per carat wholesale. And business was good.

The first question that usually comes to mind is why cubic zirconia was first made. And just as synthetic diamonds and synthetic corundum had their beginning in industrial applications, so did cubic zirconia.

The first cubic zirconia was made in Russia, for the purpose of laser technology. It seems the Russians did not have enough natural rubies that were required at the time to generate laser beams. So they set about to find a synthetic material that would have the properties of ruby. 
Their development: Cubic Zirconia. Though CZ is not particularly close to a ruby geologically, it optically served the purpose for the Russian laser technology. 
It wasn't too long before someone noticed that the new material would be very nice in jewellery since it also looked a lot like a diamond. So the ball got rolling to start producing CZ as jewellery items. Which leads us to where we are today.
The reason for Cz being manufactured only in the late 1970’s is because of the amount of heat it takes to get the zirconium oxide mixture to melt. The temperature is so high that there is no crucible or container that will withstand that much heat. Not even platinum will take the heat required to melt zirconium oxide. Which is why we did not see cubic zirconium on the market until the late 1970s to early 1980s. Why? Because we needed a microwave oven. What the microwave did is to give a method of synthetic crystal growth called a skull melt. This means that the material itself makes its own crucible. Since a microwave oven heats from the inside out, this allows for the interior of the substance to become very, very hot, while the outer layer stays cools and forms a crust that holds the molten interior. This is how the skull is formed and how we get the term skull melting.
When the Russian scientists discovered how to actually grow these crystals using a synthetic process, they named their synthetic crystals “Djevalite”. It was under this name that they began to market them as simulated diamonds.
Djevalite never really impacted the jewellery marketplace until Swarovski, jumped into the market with its own version of cubic zirconia. Swarovski coined the abbreviated term CZ for cubic zirconia. This was the jumpstart this crystal needed. It was nearly 90 years after it was first discovered that CZ became a popular and cheaper substitute for real diamond jewellery.

However you cut it, it still remains that all you April-born ladies have just one more excuse to go out there and get yourself a new sparkling piece of jewellery.