Birthstone of the Month for April: Diamond

Birthstone Jewellery

Since the beginning of the first century, birthstones are said to give good fortune on special occasions, such as birthdays. For this reason, they have been offered as gifts for people we cherish and love for a very long time.

The stone for the month of April is the Diamond. Because of their stunning beauty and the way they shimmer with light, these regal and precious gems are incredibly sought-after by many – and make a wonderful gift for a loved one!

Diamonds are an ideal choice for any occasion, be it for everyday wear or a white tie event. They also symbolise eternal love, so they are perfect for engagement rings as well.

But what exactly makes diamonds so special and why do we love them so much?

History of the Diamond

While the earliest diamonds were found in India in the 4th century BC, some of the youngest ones were formed 900 million years ago, so these gems have been around for an awfully long time. These diamonds were transported along the Silk Road as they were found to be strong and shiny, and capable of refracting light and engraving metal.

So, they were not only used as ornaments but also as tools in the past. They were also used as talismans to protect the wearer against evil and, during the Middle Ages, were believed to have healing properties and, therefore, used as a medical aid.

Diamonds have been used in engagement rings for many years as well, with the earliest record being in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria asked Mary of Burgundy’s hand in marriage.

After the 18th century, after the Indian mines were exhausted, other diamonds deposits were found in Brazil in 1725. However, they were too small to meet global demand.

In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs was in South Africa exploring the banks of the Orange River when he encountered what he believed to be a pebble; however, this stone turned out to be a 21.25-carat diamond. In 1871, an 83.50-carat depot was found on Colesberg Kopje, also in South Africa. This led to the opening of the famous Kimberly Mine.

Although diamonds were devalued by almost 50% by 1919 (due to the increase of the world supply of diamonds after the opening of the mine), they rose in popularity again in 1947. This date marked the saying ‘diamonds are forever’ with a big marketing campaign that contributed to widespread use of diamond engagement rings.

Image: Platinum 0.40ct Brilliant Cut Diamond Skye Solitaire Ring

Diamond Properties

The properties of diamonds are what make them such distinct gems – and what makes them popular across the globe. Below are a few of the unique features that make diamonds so special:


You have probably already heard just how tough diamonds are – in fact, these gorgeous stones are well-known for being nature’s hardest material. This is because they are made from pure carbon and their giant molecular structure means they can only be scratched or damaged by another diamond.


Diamonds reflect light in a special way. Inside, the stone will sparkle grey or white (brilliance) while, outside, it will reflect light into the colours of the rainbow onto a surface, a phenomenon called dispersion. This is what creates the beautiful sparkle you know and love.


Diamonds are easily recognised in their colourless, sparkling form; however, they come in several different colours too. You can find these stunning gems in yellow, pink, blue, red, green, and so much more. These hues also vary in intensity, meaning diamonds can be a faint colour or a bright, vivid tone – usually, the more saturated the tint, the more valuable they are!

Image18ct White Gold and Yellow Gold Yellow Diamond Pendant

Famous Diamonds Around the World

Some diamonds have become renowned around the world, be it because they were once owned by royalty or because they weigh many carats, for example. Some of these incredible diamonds are:

  • The Golden Jubilee Diamond – The largest faceted diamond in the world with a carat weight of 545.67, it was designed by Gabi Tolkowsky, the same diamond cutter who designed the Centenary Diamond. This yellow diamond was a present to the King of Thailand in 1997 for his Golden Jubilee.
  • The Cullinan I Diamond – Also known as the Great Star of Africa, this is the largest clear-cut diamond in the world at 530.4 carats and is mounted on the head of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. It was cut from the Cullinan, the largest gem-quality rough diamond that was ever found (which weighed 3,106.75 carats).
  • The Centenary Diamond – Rated in colour as grade D, this gorgeous stone weighs 273.85 carats and is the third-largest diamond to have been produced in the Premier
  • The Koh-i-Noor Diamond – Or Mountain of Light, as it’s also known; this diamond weighs 105.6 carats and is part of the British Crown Jewels. It has only been worn by female members of the royal family.
  • The Hope Diamond – This 45.42-carat blue diamond is believed to have its origins in India and is now owned by the Smithsonian Institute.

Banks Lyon and Our Commitment to Ethical, Superior Diamonds

When you purchase a diamond at Banks Lyon, you can have the confidence of knowing that not only are you getting the best diamonds possible, but that the beautiful stone you chose also comes from suppliers who subscribe to the Kimberley Process. This means our diamonds are conflict-free and adhere to ethical policies at all times.

We understand just how important it is for you to be aware of a diamond’s origin, seeing that, as a modern consumer, you are conscious about the ethics of diamond sourcing. Just as we at Banks Lyon are. As a diamond retailer, we believe in ethical responsibility, so, by choosing Banks Lyon, you can have the necessary peace of mind to enjoy your diamond.

We believe in offering only the utmost quality, so we ensure that the cut of each diamond we choose is perfect – after all, even though elements such as colour and clarity are, of course, important, there is no point in buying a D Flawless diamond if the cut is not good. At Banks Lyon, we travel to London frequently, as well as abroad, just to ensure that we are getting the best buys.

Many people talk about the 4 Cs of diamond buying: cut, carat, clarity and colour. We actually add certificate and confidence to this list, making it 6 Cs instead.

Certificates vary in their importance, but they are there to ensure that your diamond is certified by a reputable laboratory. As for confidence, it’s crucial that you can trust your jeweller to provide you with a superior diamond – if you don’t have this confidence, you shouldn’t purchase from them. We can tell you that our team has a combined 120 years of experience in buying diamonds, meaning there is not much we don’t know about purchasing and valuing diamonds.

We also don’t believe in offering diamond simulants, including laboratory-grown synthetic diamonds, as they have only residual value. At Banks Lyon, you know you are getting a real diamond when you purchase from us. These incredible gems are, as we’ve mentioned earlier, the hardest natural mineral known to man, and we can give it a beautiful high polish which, combined with the reflective properties of a well-cut diamond, you get a stone that sparkles and comes alive. No other gem is like it, and especially not a synthetic one.

Another thing that sets Banks Lyon apart from other diamond providers is that we personally buy each diamond we offer at our stores and offer 40 years of experience on the shop floor to our clients. We also strive to offer only the finest quality diamonds at highly competitive prices.

Image18ct White Gold 0.26ct Pave Set Diamond Cross Over Hoop Earrings

Diamonds are beautiful stones and possess unique features that make them different from any other mineral and precious stone. At Banks Lyon, we offer a selection of high-quality, beautiful diamonds that you will love, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time at our Lancaster (01524 38 10 20) or Kendal (01539 73 03 00) stores.

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