Friday, April 2, 2021

History of the Diamond: April's Birthstone


Amber Schamel Christian Author
Blogger: Amber Schamel

Diamonds - April's Birthstone
Mario Sarto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Welcome to the beautiful Spring month of April. A time for flowers, rain showers, and new life. For those of you lucky enough to be born in April, your birthstone is the diamond, which gives your significant other TWO good reasons to buy one for you. ;)
The diamond gets its name from the Greek word 'adamas' which means "unconquerable." A rather fitting name considering that the diamond is one of the most durable substances known to man. The diamond has become a symbol of eternal love and is the most common stone found on engagement rings...but let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

The earliest diamonds were found in the 4th century B.C in India and were traded along the Silk Road. Because the diamond possesses both strength and brilliance, they have been used since the very beginning both as tools and as adornments. It's uncertain which use made them more valuable. 

Initially, it was believed that the Indian mines were the only source of diamonds, but when those sources began to become depleted in the 18th century, the search for new sources began. In 1725, a small deposit was discovered in Brazil, however it wasn't near enough to keep up with demand. During this time, the value of the diamond was amazingly high. If you think the diamonds are valuable today, consider that the value was more than twice this much a few hundred years ago.

Kimberly Mine Shaft
Public Domain

In the late 1800's, a few discoveries of diamonds in South Africa caused a surge of diamond hunters, and a colossal deposit was discovered, which is now known as the Kimberly mine.  Because of the increase in supply, the demand decreased as the stone was seen as more "common". Between 1871 when the Kimberly Mine was opened, and 1912, the value of the diamond dropped 50%. In 1880, Cecil John Rhodes, an Englishman, consolidated the diamond mines in an effort to control the supply and DeBeers Consolidated Mines, LLC came into existence. While he succeeded in controlling the supply, demand for diamonds was still weak. This is where engagement rings come back into play. 

While the history behind engagement rings could be a post in and of itself, we're focusing on when diamonds became a player. The first known diamond engagement ring was presented in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy. However diamonds were reserved for royalty or the elite, so diamonds as an engagement ring was not widespread.


Mary of Burgundy
First known recipient of diamond
engagement ring.
Public domain

Cecil Rhodes
Founder of DeBeers Consolidated Mines
Public Domain

In 1947 the Debeers, LLC proposed a huge advertising campaign branding the gem with "Diamonds are Forever". This campaign is what sparked the widespread use of diamonds as engagement rings. Today, 78% of engagement rings sold are made of diamonds, and it was this campaign that has saved the diamond industry. The value of diamonds has climbed significantly since the 40's, but it still is not at the level it was in ancient times. Nevertheless, it is considered one of the most valuable gems on earth.

 Happy birthday to all you April diamond babies! :D 


Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".  

She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain, in a small “castle” with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a new mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.

Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!



  1. Thanks for continuing your post on birthstones! My daughter is fortunate enough to be an April baby. I had never thought about how engagement rings came to be....your post was interesting. Plus, I didn't realize that the "Diamonds are forever" slogan was so old. Happy Easter!

    1. Hello Connie,
      Happy birthday to your daughter! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I was also fascinated to learn about the slogan, and the way diamond engagement rings developed. :)
      I hope you had a wonderful Easter filled with joy and hope.

  2. I remember Marilyn Monroe and "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." I have 2 grands and one great-grand born in April, I have two "diamond" links on a bracelet to represent them. Loved reading more about them. Sadly, I lost my diamond wedding set just before our 55th anniversary almost seven years ago.

    1. Aww, Martha, I'm so sorry you lost your ring. There's just something devastating about losing something like that.
      Happy birthday to your grands! One of my besties is born on April 1st. Her dad thought her mom was joking when she said she was in labor. LOL. But she did get the diamond birthstone.