Welcome back to the J.H. Young birthstone jewelry journey: March and April edition.
Birthstones make for an easy birthday gift because even if you’re not quite sure about someone’s taste in jewelry, incorporating a birthstone into their gift is both thoughtful and personal. Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of jewelry on their birthday!
Today’s blog is going to warm us up into the spring months with March and April birthstones and some tips to help you with your purchase.
March’s Birthstone: Aquamarine
The traditional birthstone for March is aquamarine. Aquamarine is typically light blue in colour, however, it can range from blue to green hues.
This stone is often associated with the ocean, not only for its colour but because of its clarity as well. Aquamarine tends to be free from inclusions and therefore has become a symbol of purity.
Where Aquamarine is Found
One of the largest aquamarine mines of the past two centuries is found in Brazil, formed mostly in hard rock or weathered deposits in the Eastern region of the country. There are also a large number of stones mined in Pakistan in the Karakorum foothills.
Other, smaller, aquamarine deposits are found all over the world including China, Kenya, Madagascar and Colorado in the United States.
History and Lore of Aquamarine
Due to its natural association with the sea, aquamarine was traditionally given to sailors to keep them safe while they were out on the open ocean. It was also given to soldiers going into battle as it was thought that it would “quicken the wit” of the wearer while making him invulnerable to attack.
How to Buy Aquamarine
Aquamarine is unique in colour making it a highly loved stone. Running between a 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, this little gem is suitable for everyday wear.
The first thing you want to look for when buying aquamarine is the colour. Typically the preferred colour is a darker blue with a light green hue.
The most valuable stones are those with no zoning, or where the colour is completely uniform throughout the stone.
You want to look for a stone that is free from inclusions, or the look of any impurities. You should be able to look through the stone and have it be fairly transparent.
While you can come across both polished and rough aquamarine relatively easily, those that are polished are typically more valuable and plays a huge factor in its appearance.
Aquamarine is cut in traditional gemstone shapes to fit conventional jewelry, however, the emerald/elongated cut is one of the more favoured shapes for this birthstone.
- Aquamarine Carat Weight
Unlike other gemstones, aquamarine is readily available in larger carat weights, including upwards of 25 carats. Larger stones tend to be darker in colour whereas smaller aquamarine is paler.
April’s Birthstone: Diamond
Silver white winters melt into diamonds… that’s the way the song goes, right? The crisp and cool birthstone for the month of April is diamonds.
A symbol of strength and elegance, diamonds are one of the most sought after gemstones in the world, even though they are surprisingly common.
Where Diamonds are Found
Diamonds can be found almost anywhere in the world. South Africa and other African nations are some of the largest producers of rough diamonds.
Russia first discovered a diamond deposit in the 1960s and now provides a majority of diamonds in the world, even expanding their quest to the icy tundra in Siberia. Surprisingly, diamond mines were discovered in the Great White North only about 25 years ago.
History and Lore of Diamonds
They say diamonds are forever, and that rings pretty true; diamonds have been found to be traded since fourth century BCE. In the 1400s diamonds were brought over to Europe from India to present to the nobility of Europe. Since then, diamonds have become a status symbol.
The famous mines near Kimberley, South Africa in the late 1860s lead to entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes establishing De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited in 1888. By the year 1900, De Beers controlled about 90% of the world’s rough diamonds.
Diamonds are fabled to ward off the evil eye, a wicked spirit thought to bring poverty, sickness and death to people. They were also thought to possess healing powers, often used to ward off the plague or as an antidote to poison.
Of course, today, diamonds are known almost universally as a symbol for love and marriage, mostly due to their association with engagement rings.
How to Buy Diamonds
Diamonds are among the most popular gemstones in the world, and run a full 10 on the Mohs hardness scale; nothing is harder than a diamond. This durability means that diamonds are great for all kinds of jewelry and can stand up to daily wear and tear no problem.
The cut of your diamond is one of the most important things to consider. If you think of the cuts, or facets in your diamond-like mirrors, you want light to enter your diamond reflect and refract off of those “mirrors” properly to ensure it has that fire and brilliance.
You can tell if a diamond is well cut simply but using your eyes; if it’s really sparkly, it’s well-cut.
When it comes to traditional white diamonds, you want them to be as colourless as possible.
The colouring scale of diamonds starts at “D”, which is completely colourless, and works its way down the scale all the way to Z. As you move away from D, the stone tends to pick up more yellowy/brown hues which are less valuable in jewelry.
Another very important aspect when buying diamonds is clarity. This refers to the number of inclusions or flaws in the diamond.
Some can be obvious like little black spots, or pinpoints as they’re called, or as discrete as a small feather. Clarity is rated from Flawless all the way to Included 3 and is based on blemishes you can see at 10x magnification.
What you really need to consider is whether you can see the inclusion with your naked eye; not many people are going to be examining your jeweller with a jeweller’s loop!
- Diamond Carat Weight
Diamonds are valuable and in high demand. They’re available in a range of sizes and carat weights, however, only 1 in 1000 diamonds weigh over a carat.
Larger diamonds can be more expensive, but not necessarily, since it also heavily depends on the other three factors of cut, colour and clarity.
Whatever birthstone jewelry you decide on, it’s always a very personal choice. Despite some tips that we mentioned above, our biggest piece of advice is to not get too hung up on the semantics or grading of a stone.
If you find a piece you love that truly speaks to you, that’s the one you should go for. After all, the true value of jewelry is often the sentimental value that we attach to it.
If all else fails, you can always consult with our staff at J.H Young in Brantford, we’re always happy to help with your birthstone jewelry journey. Visit our store today to view our selection and get started.