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      Sparkling with an internal fire all its own, diamond is one of the world’s most sought-after and adored gemstones. Those born in April are lucky enough to call this scintillating gem their birthstone, a symbol of clarity and strength. Diamond is so strong, in fact, that its name comes from the Greek word "adamas," which means “invincible” or “unbreakable.”

      Our love for the April birthstone started in India, where diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams. Traded as early as the fourth century BCE, diamonds were coveted by royalty and the wealthy. Later, caravans brought Indian diamonds, along with other exotic merchandise, to medieval markets in Venice. By the 1400s, diamonds were becoming fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. The first diamond engagement ring on record was given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477.

      An anonymous second-century poet maintained that this birthstone for April warded off the evil eye – a malevolent look believed to cause sickness, poverty and even death. The April birthstone was even believed to have healing powers. Over the centuries, the diamond birthstone was thought to be an antidote to poison and provide protection against the plague.  Some claim that it is a boon for longevity, strength, beauty and happiness.

      In addition to being the April birthstone, diamond is the gift of choice for the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries. And, of course, today the diamond engagement ring has become a near-universal symbol of love and marriage.

      Diamond (10 on the Mohs hardness scale) is usually durable enough to be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner. However, if your diamond birthstone has many inclusions or has been treated, it it is best to clean it with a lint-free cloth, or use warm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush or a commercial jewelry cleaning solution. Also, have your diamond birthstone jewelry periodically cleaned and its setting examined by a professional jeweler to maintain its beauty and integrity over time.

      [Gemological Institute of America Inc.]