If you’re celebrating your birthday this April, count yourself lucky – your birthstone is diamond, perhaps the most well-known and popular of all gemstones. With a history that dates back thousands of years, diamonds are unique in many ways.

To celebrate diamonds as April’s birthstone, we’re bringing you 15 fascinating diamond facts that you probably didn’t know:

1. Diamonds were first discovered in India, approximately 2800 years ago.

2. Diamonds are the purest gemstone known to man, made exclusively of Carbon atoms. No other gemstone is as pure.

Cullinan Diamond Mine

Underground at Cullinan Diamond Mine, South Africa.
Photo: Petra Diamonds 

3. Diamonds are extremely old, typically more than 1 Billion years old. Some diamonds from Cullinan Diamond Mine in South Africa have been dated at 3.2 Billion years old.

4. Diamonds grew in the Earth’s mantle, approximately 150 – 250km below the surface of the earth, under conditions of exceptional heat and exceptional pressure.

5. Diamonds were carried to the surface of the Earth by volcanic eruptions of a magma type known as kimberlite.

Kimberlite and diamond

Diamond-bearing kimberlite rock from Kimberley, South Africa.

6. Diamonds have been mined from the sea-bed off the west coast of South Africa and Namibia. These diamonds are known as alluvial diamonds and rivers have carried these diamonds from inland to the coast, over thousands of kilometers.

7. Russia is currently the world’s largest producer of diamonds and in 2017 produced 42.6 million carats of diamonds, or 28% of global production.

Mir diamond mine

The “Mir” diamond mine in Russia.

8. Blue diamonds are a result of impurities of Boron in the diamond crystal structure. They are exceptionally rare and very expensive and the Cullinan Diamond Mine in South Africa has produced many of the world’s blue diamonds.

9. Pink diamonds are equally rare and the colour is believed to be a result of crystal deformation during diamond formation. The Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia is the world’s leading producer of pink diamonds, but is set to close in 2020.

Tower of London Crown Jewels

The Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels, which contain pieces of the Cullinan Diamond.

10. The largest diamond ever was found in South Africa in 1905. Named the “Cullinan” diamond, this 3106ct gem was cut into 9 stones, most of which can be seen in the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

11. The second biggest diamond ever was discovered in November 2015 in Botswana. Purchased by Graff Diamonds in 2017, the 1109ct Lesedi la Rona sold for $53 million.

The Lesedi La Rona in it’s original rough form.
Photo: Graff Diamonds

12. Graff Diamonds have just revealed the largest highest colour, highest clarity diamond ever certified by the GIA. A 302.37ct square emerald cut, this remarkable diamond is the largest stone cut from Lesedi la Rona.

Lesedi la Rona Graff

The brand new square emerald cut Lesedi La Rona diamond.
Photo: Graff Diamonds

13. The most expensive per carat price for any diamond sold at auction is $4.02million per carat, for the 12.03ct Blue Moon diamond. Unearthed at Cullinan Diamond Mine as a 29.6ct rough stone, this diamond is a flawless, fancy vivid blue gem.

Blue diamonds

The 29ct blue diamond recovered from Cullinan. Photo: Petra Diamonds

14. The highest total price ever paid for a diamond is $71.2million, for the 59.60ct Pink Star Diamond. It was discovered in South Africa by De Beers in 1999.

Pink Star diamond

The Pink Star Diamond.
Photo: Sotheby’s

15. Man-made diamonds are grown in a laboratory using either HPHT (High Pressure, High Temperature) or CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) techniques. There are virtually no differences between man-made and natural diamonds when it comes to the chemistry and physical properties of the diamonds, making it hard to tell them apart.

Due to their hardness, diamonds are perhaps the best gemstone for engagement rings, with their physical properties making them resistant to wear and tear. With access to some of the best loose diamonds in South Africa, we can help you pick the perfect loose diamond for your designer engagement ring. Contact us today to set an appointment with our in-house diamond expert.