The diamond that is not a diamond but is a diamond. It may not be De Boers but this stone can shine just as  brilliant and comes in many sizes. It has an interesting history and is affordable for everyone, from free to reasonable. It can be found in many gift shops and gemstone stores. These beautiful gemstones are actually pure quartz crystals.

Known as Cape May Diamonds they are truly American gemstones made from 2000 to 3000 years of weathering it’s journey to the Atlantic ocean.

The diamonds begin their lives truly “in-the-rough” in the upper reaches of the Delaware River, in the areas around the Delaware Water Gap. Pieces of quartz crystal are broken off from veins and pockets by the swift-running waters of mountain streams that feed the river. Thus begins a journey of more than 200 miles that takes thousands of years to complete. Along the way, the sharp edges of the stones are smoothed as they are propelled along the river bottom. Eventually the stones come to rest on the shores of the Delaware Bay in South Jersey.(quote from May 2009: Doug Hunsberger (

Cape May Diamonds

A note from “Gems of The Beach” brochure. The Delaware Bay is 17 miles across with an underbelly of 26 miles. This makes for very strong currents in both the incoming and out going tides. This strong current strikes against the sides of the concrete ship “The  S S Atlantus” which  sunk in the bay. The quartz pebbles are then thrown ashore along with other debris such as fossil sharks teeth and Indian arrowheads. Larger stones come ashore in the winter months when the surf is much stronger.

A little history of the “S S Atlantus”

Remains of experimental concrete ship. One of twelve built during World War 1.
Proven impractical after several trans-Atlantic trips because of weight. Broke loose during storm
(June 1926) went aground. Attempts to free her were futile.
Go here to see the actual erosion of the Atlantus.


When polished and faceted, these Cape May gems have the actual appearance of real diamonds. Before the advent of modern gem scanning equipment, many a pawn broker was fooled by a “Cape May Diamond.”


One of the largest Cape May Diamonds ever found

The Kechemeche Indians were the first to find the fascinating and beautiful stones now known as “Cape May Diamonds.” The Indians came to believe that these curious stones possessed supernatural power bringing success and good fortune. The Kechemeche often used the the sacred gems in trading, especially the larger stones with no flaws.

One of the largest stones ever was presented to a settler by the name of Christopher Leaming by KIng Nummy, last chief of the Lenni-Lenape tribe. King Nummy had received the stone from the Kechemeche as a tribute to him and as proof of their faithfulness and loyalty.  Mr Leaming had the stone sent back to his homeland, Amsterdam, Holland where a lapidary expertly cut and polished it into a beautiful gem.

You can follow the story of that gem in an article written in 2011. the following is a quote from that article.

“This unique and exquisite, flawless jewel, a gem of its kind, like the family in whose possession it has remained

from the earliest Colonial period, is inseparably interwoven with the history of New Jersey from the very beginning.”

The really good part about these diamonds is that you can take a holiday on the Jersey shore at Sunset Beach and go diamond hunting, they come ashore as small pebbles to large rocks (rare). From early spring to late fall, thousands of visitors enjoy wandering Sunset beach, New Jersey, searching for  Cape May Diamonds.  No success they can always pick up some at any of the gift shops on Sunset Boulevard.

Sunset Beach at Sunset


Here’s to a fun weekend diamond hunting,



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Some diamonds, such as  engagement and wedding rings, are often worn 24 hours a day. Even though you may wear your diamond jewelry around the clock, you should give thought to its care.

Diamonds are durable, but  still require proper maintenance. Diamonds can get smudged, soiled and dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps, even natural skin oils, put a film on diamonds and cut down their brilliance.

Clean diamonds “glow” because the maximum amount of light can enter the stone and return in a fiery brilliance.

* Do not wear diamond jewelry, especially rings, when doing rough work. Even though diamond is one of the hardest materials in nature, it can still be chipped by a sharp, sudden blow.

Keep your diamond away from chlorine bleach or other household chemicals. You should also remove your diamond jewelry before entering a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
* Clean your diamonds regularly using a commercial jewelry cleaner, a mix of ammonia and water, or a mild detergent. Dip the jewelry into the solution and use a soft brush to dislodge dust or dirt from under the setting.
* Avoid touching your clean diamonds with your fingers. Handle clean jewelry by its edges.

Do you like designer jewelry?  Go here to see some of the best.

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A modern “Famous”  diamond is the “Taylor Burton”  Purchased in 1969 by Richard Burton for his wife at the time, Elizabeth Taylor.

This beautiful stone started life as part of a rough stone of 240.8 carats, owned by Harry Winston.  he and his cleaver studied the rough for six months before actually cutting the diamond. The cutting day was televised.  There was great interest because it was such a large stone, all wanted to know what would come out of it.

Two beautiful diamonds were created.The larger pear shaped one weighing about 75 carats and a smaller cut of 24 carats.

Harry Winston then sold the larger diamond to a Mrs. Harriet Annenburg Ames.  She was fascinated with  the stone but eventually her fear of being robbed overcame the fascination. The  large diamond ring was allocated to a bank vault for the next   two years.    It was eventually sent to auction..   it was just too large to be worn as a ring in public.

October 1969, at auction in New York with the understanding that whomever bought it could name it.
There were many bidders, including  Richard Burton.
When the stone reached the 1,000,000.00 dollar mark, Burton’s buyer dropped out and the stone  was purchased for the amount of $1,000,050.00 by Robert Kenmore, chairman of the board for Cartier Inc.He immediately named the diamond “The Cartier”

Richard Burton was not about to let this diamond slip through his fingers – so calling from a pay phone in a hotel bar, in England, he bargained with Kenmore’s agent.  All the patrons in the bar could hear his loud negotiating, as he kept dropping more coins into the phone slot.

In the end Burton won, by allowing Cartier to display the jewel in New York and Chicago. It now became the “Taylor-Burton” diamond.

It is said that Burton paid $1,100,000.00  for the diamond.  He proclaimed ” If ever the public ever tired of seeing him and Liz, they would be able to sell off some baubles.”

When the diamond went on display in New York, at Cartier, more than 6000 people lined up right around the block, just for a glimpse of the beautiful stone.  It had been reset as a pendent in a luxurious diamond necklace.

Elizabeth first wore the necklace to the 40th birthday party of Princess Grace of Monaco.  It had  been flown across the Atlantic, from New York to Nice, Italy in the company of two armed guards.

After  her divorce from Richard Burton, in 1978, Elizabeth Taylor put the stone up for sale, with the proceed going to build a hospital in Botswana, Africa.

In 1979, a New York jeweler  claimed he bought the diamond for $5,000,000.00, then sold it to its present owner Robert Mouawad, who had the stone slightly re cut. It now weighs 68.09 carats and has a slightly different shape than the original.

The Robert Mouawad Private Museum, located in Lebanon’s Beirut Central District, constitutes a perfect mix of artistic oriental and occidental cultures. It is a combination of objects of great value, be it unique collections of books, ceramics, historical columns, Pottery, ancient weapons, unique carpets or sophisticated Jewellery pieces, objets d’art and rare precious stones.

By choosing to restore a 110 year old palace and turn it into a private museum dedicated to works of art and to his own personal collection of jewelry , Robert Mouawad has shown both courage and foresight while remaining true to tradition.

A visitor to the palace is immediately carried back to the romantic epoch of oriental pomp and luxury, the era of subtle beauty, perfect harmony and good taste.

Resources:  Wikipedia

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Another  Famous Diamond is the “Regent” also known as the “Pitt” Diamond.  It has an interesting history similar to the “Blue Hope”. (Involving murder and mayhem)

Found by a slave in 1698 in India where he was working at the Golkonda mine, this large diamond, (410 cts before it was cut)  was hidden in the wrapping of a large  wound  in the slave’s leg, while he made off for the coast.  He bartered with a sea captain for passage, offering half of the stone’s profit once they reached land.
The slave was not too lucky.  Once under way the Captain murdered the slave so he could have all the profits.
This Captain managed to sell the stone to a diamond merchant for $5000.00.  He did not enjoy his riches long.  He squandered the money on wine, women and gambling, then fell into a deep depression and hung himself.

On the other hand, the diamond merchant sold the large stone to Governor Thomas Pitt for approx.$100,000.00.
Pitt sent the diamond on to London where he had it cut into a cushion shape brilliant, weighing 140.5 cts.
It took two years to complete the cut  and cost $25,000.00.  A number of smaller stones were also cut from the original, bringing in about $35,000.00. Some of these were sold to Peter the Great of Russia. The main gem has only one small imperfection and is considered one of the finest and most beautiful of all the known large diamonds.

In 1717 it was sold to Phillip II, Duke of Orleans,then Regent of France, for $650,000.00, since that time it has been known as the “Regent”.

This diamond passed down through the French Royalty till the French Revolution, when it was stolen along with the”French Blue”  However the “Regent” diamond was found and returned to the government.
Napolean had it mounted in the hilt of his sword. When he was exiled, the stone made it’s way to Austria and was later returned to France, where it became part of the crown jewels.

Many of the French crown jewels were sold at auction in 1887, but the “Regent” was reserved and put on display at the Louvre among other national treasures.

The "French Regent"

The "French Regent"

When the Germans invaded Paris in 1947, the “Regent” was sent to a rural hiding place and hidden behind a stone panel in a chalet in Chambord. After the war it was returned to the Louvre where it is today.

This diamond is still considered to be the most beautiful diamond in the world.



” Colored Gemstones” by Antoinette Matlins

“Encyclopedia  Of Gemstones and Minerals” by Martin Holden

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The Notorious Hope Diamond

The Notorious Hope Diamond

There are many famous diamonds. Some have been around for hundreds of years. That is what is so amazing about these gemstones. They have histories that have been traced down through the ages.

One of the most famous diamonds of all is the “Blue Hope” now on display in the Smithsonian Institute in the US state of Washington.

The “Blue Hope” has a notorious history.   It is supposed to carry a curse that anyone who owns or even touches the blue stone will live out their days in misery, poverty and sometimes unexpected death such as suicide.  This has happened to many of it’s owners, of course that could have happened naturally from poor business practices and bad habits.

The original stone, before it was cut weighed 3106 carats, the largest diamond ever found.  Rumor says that it was stolen from the eye of a Hindu  idol, and that the temple priests created the curse.  Modern experts believe the curse was invented by a diamond merchant to make the stone more interesting.

The original French merchant who acquired the stone either by theft or by legal means, did die in poverty.

The large diamond comes from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India. At that time it was crudely cut in a triangular shape, the cut diamond weighing just over 112 carats. The year was 1668, when That merchant sold what he called a” beautiful violet stone” (un beau violet) to King Louis XIV of France.

The King had the stone recut to a 67ct diamond and had it suspended on a neck ribbon which he wore on special occasions.

In 1749, King Louis XV, had the stone, then known as the “French Blue” reset into a piece of Royal Jewelry called the “Golden Fleece”. Then in 1791, in the French Revolution,King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempted to flee France with the Royal jewels but were caught.The jewels were handed over to the government and the fleeing monarch and his paramour were beheaded. In the upheaval of the revolution the “French Blue” was stolen.

History next notes a large blue diamond in the possession of a London diamond merchant in 1812;  it is believed to be the “French Blue”. The stone is then sold to King George IV of England. Upon his death in 1830 the diamond is sold to help cover his enormous debts.

Next we find the blue stone in the gem catalog of  diamond merchant Henry Phillip Hope. It is now called the “Hope” diamond. The diamond passes down through the Hope family, from Henry Philip to Henry Thomas Hope, to a Grandson, Lord Francis Hope. All died in bankruptcy. Again the stone was sold to pay off debts.

This time it crossed the Atlantic to Joseph Frankels of New York city, who also ended in debt.

In 1911 the blue diamond was owned by Pierre Cartier, who had the stone reset  as the middle stone of a headpiece of large white diamonds. This piece was sold to a Mrs. Walsh McLean of Washington  DC.

She eventually had the stone reset into a pendant, which is how we see it today.  It is said that she wore it always and would not take it off.  Mrs. McLean owned the “blue hope” until she died in 1947.   She also had many instances of bad luck but never attributed it to the diamond.

Harry Winston purchased her jewelry, “Blue Hope” included, at the estate sale in 1949.  Winston displayed the blue diamond in many exhibits, then in 1958 Winston Inc, of New York city donated the large blue diamond to the Smithsonian  Institute where it immediately became their star attraction……  It has since traveled four times,  in 1962 to France, to be displayed in the “Ten Centuries of French Jewels”, in 1965, to South Africa for the ‘Rand Easter Show” 1984 saw the Blue Hope at Harry Winston’s 50th anniversary exhibit and then in 1996 back to New York, to Harry Winston, for cleaning and minor restoration.

The modern weight of this famous  blue diamond is 45.5 carats.  The blue shade is the result of trace amounts of boron in the stone.

The pendant surrounding the “Hope” is made up of 16 white diamonds and the neck chain contains 45 smaller white diamonds.

Modern gemologists using a color-meter  found the stone to have a slight tinge of violet mixed in with the blue which takes us back to the original “un beau violet”  1668.

This famous diamond has had a fascinating life!

Resources: Wikipedia,, the Smithsonian Institute

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Karat is the Gold measurement. It is used to measure the purity of gold.

Carrots, of course, are bunny food and diet snacks.

Diamonds are weighed by the carat (ct)  One carrot weighs 200 milligrams or 1/2 gram.  This has been the weigh scale since 1913. Before that, the carat differed from country to country.  An older stone could weigh heavier than the modern weight.

Carat weight is often referred to as points. One carat = 100 pts.

A stone with 25 points = 1/4 carat.

This is weight not size.

Diamonds are priced by the carat and quality of the stone.  A very fine diamond weighing  1 carat would be much higher priced than one of poorer quality.

Another term used by jewelers is  “spread”  This refers to the  “look”  of the diamond.  A lot is determined by the cut of the jewel.

The way it is cut and set into a casing can make the stone appear much larger than it really is.

The carat weight is always determined before it is put in a setting. However some jewelers may price by the “look” of the stone.

To avoid this always by from reputable dealers.

When buying a very valuable diamond, you should always receive a certificate of worth.  You should also have it appraised by a certified gemologist.  Beware of scammers – even on New York’s famous 47th street.  Research and be knowledgeable.  take the time to get it right – after all a diamond last a lifetime.

For examples of settings and spread click here.

An excellent book for anyone thinking of purchasing precious stones is

“Jewelry and Gems” The Buying Guide – by Antoinette Matlins

Our resources: “Jewelry and Gems”  as well as Wikipedia, also” The Encyclopedia  of Gemstones and Minerals ” by Martin Holden.

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The hardest substance on earth!  A stone that men have killed for and women swoon over.  The subject of many movies as well as police reports.

In ancient times soldiers wearing diamonds in their shields were considered invincible.

The diamond is made out of four known polymers of carbon, accounting for its’ extreme hardness.  It takes  mighty strength to break a diamond and  they can only be scratched by another diamond.

The first diamonds came from India, they were uncut crystals. At that time their value was less than pearls or colored stones.  Then in the middle ages they became more popular being used mostly as talismans, granting the wearer supernatural powers and invincibility in battle. The wearer was thought to be more courageous as well as being protected from all sorts of illnesses.

Diamonds were credited with many magical powers, such as driving away the devil and other evil spirits, enhancing the love of a spouse and could even predict guilt or innocence when worn by a high priest in the Talmud.  The stone was said to glow brightly if the accused was innocent but grow very dim if guilty.

Diamonds come from very deep in the  earth, where temperatures reach 1000 degrees Celsius or more . The pressure is more than 50,000 times that of the Earth’s surface.  They are brought to the surface by eruptions of gases that explode into underground fissures called diamond pipes. The rocks that result from these explosions are called kimberlite and contain pieces of igneous rocks  in which the diamond crystals are found.

Most of these crystals are colorless, colored crystals do exist but are extremely rare.  Blue diamonds are found when crystals come in contact with the mineral boron.  Other minerals cause different tints.

Natural diamond crystals  can be transparent, translucent or opaque. Their luster is caused from being highly  refractive.  The variety of transparency is due to the strong dispersion of light.   These colors display best in a brilliant cut gemstone. ( the most common diamond cut)

India remained the main  diamond producer until the 1700’s, when a diamond discovery in Brazil took away some of the business.

Then in 1866, in South Africa, a little boy was discovered playing with a 21 caret stone.  This lead to the creation of the largest diamond mines  in the world.  Here, also  is where the” Cullinan” diamond, weighing in at 3106 carats, was found.  The biggest diamond ever.

There are other diamond deposits all around the world – the Ural mountains of Russia – Siberia – western Australia – Appalachian mountains in California – Pike County in Arkansas – the glacial morain around the great lakes area of Canada  and of course the search continues.


Raw Diamond

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