1 In Birthstone history/ Birthstones - April/ Diamonds/ Diamonds/ Octahedral crystals

Getting to the (Diamond) Point

Rough diamond octahedral. Photo Bjorn Wylezich via Dreamstime.

Rough diamond octahedral. Photo Bjorn Wylezich via Dreamstime.

Diamonds are best known today in their colorless cut form seen in countless jewelry stores. However, they look considerably different when they come out of the ground. They’re not always lovely in that state. But one interesting and common shape of diamond rough is the octahedron. It looks like two pyramids stacked base to base. (Well, actually, as you can see in the photo, they’re often kind of plump and rounded pyramids.)

But those points can be handy. There’s a wonderful story, quite probably apocryphal but fun, that Sir Walter Raleigh–he of the cloak-over-the-mud-puddle-for-Queen-Elizabeth-legend–on his arrival at court, was a bit anxious to be noticed by the

Diamond octahedron ring by Todd Reed.

Diamond octahedron ring by Todd Reed.

Queen. Hoping she might remember him sacrificing his cloak, he scratched into a window pane the words: “Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.” The Queen, noticing the message, wrote back: “If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all.”

Faint heart, in other words, never won fair lady. Or the support of a Queen.


Sasha Samuels' scribble ring (on the left) with other designs.

Sasha Samuels’ scribble ring (on the left) with other designs.

It’s often said that Raleigh used a diamond ring to leave his missive, but he was new in court, and diamonds were probably not for the likes of him, until much later. (And there are any number of gems that will cut into glass, which isn’t all that hard, gemologically speaking. What desert dweller hasn’t had a windshield cut up in a windstorm by the quartz crystals of sand?) But it makes a great story to think of the Elizabethans running around leaving diamond-cut love notes on windows.

Modern designers, such as Todd Reed and Sasha Samuels, have fallen in love with this story. The growing interest in diamond crystals have tempted them to create their own versions of Raleigh’s famous ring. In fact, Sasha even calls hers “scribble rings.”

Think of the messages you might leave for your spouse or significant other on a mirror one morning.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Dorothy N.
    April 28, 2017 at 8:47 am

    So interesting especially since it is my birthstone. Would love to learn more about emeralds as it is my sister’s birthstone.

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