On the surface, some might simply see a diamond as a beautiful, glistening gemstone. Although it’s true, the stunning gemstone has been gifted and collected through the ages, and there’s often a deeper meaning behind each one that’s given. Take for instance, the gorgeous 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring that Ben Affleck had custom-made for Jennifer Lopez. While it was absolutely stunning, and is one of the most extravagant engagement rings that has ever given, there may have been something more behind Ben’s choice of stone. If you’re curious to know what your diamond means, want to uncover the symbolism behind gemstones of the stars, or simply need to know when diamonds are traditionally gifted, you’ll find out here.
What Does the Color of Your Diamond Mean?
A true “white” diamond is actually colorless, though if another material works its way in at the right time, or something unusual happens during formation, it will change the hue of the gem. Just as each flower has a particular meaning, each fancy, or colored, diamond has a particular meaning, and may also inspire a certain feeling (besides awe).
Blue: Peace, loyalty, confidence, strength, health, spirituality, or honesty. Blue diamonds are created when boron is present as the gem forms, and they are among the rarest of the colors. The 45.52-carat Hope Diamond is an example of a well-known blue.
Black: Prosperity, health, sophistication, fidelity, or strength. Black diamonds are only found in two places in the world, and are generally believed to be the result of a meteor strike. Unlike other colored diamonds, the black stones do not have other elements mixed all the way through them. Instead, they have inclusions of iron or graphite, which slice through the gem. For this reason, they’re generally opaque, with bits of clear or smoky crystal surrounding the inclusions. The 67.5-carat Orlov Diamond is an exquisite specimen of this black gemstone.
Brown: Stability, harmony, earth, practicality, and dependability. Brown diamonds are very common, though they’re normally referred to by a more pleasant-sounding hue, like champagne, chocolate, cognac, or coffee. Their tone can be the result of lattice defects, irradiation treatment, or nickel impurities. One of the most famous brown diamonds is the 545.67-carat Golden Jubilee, which was given to Thailand’s king on his 50th anniversary. It’s the largest known faceted diamond in the world.
Gray: Wisdom, neutrality, or dedication. Gray diamonds are fairly common, and they often take on a silver hue. They can be created when boron is present at their formation, though sometimes they’re actually black diamonds that aren’t totally opaque. One notable gray is the Sultan of Morocco Diamond, which is a whopping 35.27 carats.
Green: Money, fertility, luck, nature, harmony, or longevity. Some sources indicate as few as ten green diamonds are sold each year, which means they’re very rare. Although some have been found to contain small amounts of nickel, their color is usually the result of radiation. Interestingly, it tends to only affect the outside layer of the gem, so many lose their green hue when they are cut. The Dresden Green is an amazing example of an emerald-tone diamond. It’s 41 carats and said to be internally flawless.
Orange: Creativity, energy or enthusiasm. True orange diamonds are very rare, as the stones are often mixed with brown or yellow. They obtain their hue from the way the nitrogen atoms line up during formation. The largest known true orange is 14.82 carats.
Pink: Creativity, hope, love, or romance. Color shifts in diamonds are usually caused by “impurities” sneaking in as a diamond develops, but pink diamonds occur because they’re exposed to abnormal pressure and heat as they’re being formed. This makes them one of the rarest colors to find, which may be why pink was Ben’s choice for Jennifer.
Purple: Nobility, pride, luxury, spirituality, enlightenment, or serenity. Sometimes called violet, plum, or grape, purple diamonds are the second rarest hue. There’s still some debate over how they get their color, but it’s generally believed that it comes from plastic deformation that occurs as they are formed. Natural purple stones will not have consistent color. Instead, the hue tends to radiate out from the “imperfect” sections. The largest known vivid purple is the Royal Purple Heart Diamond, which weighs 7.34 carats.
Red: Power, energy, passion, strength, or love. Red diamonds are actually considered a deep shade of pink, and they’re the rarest of all the colors. In some cultures, they’re also believed to bring good luck. The most well-known is the Moussaieff Red Diamond, which was 13.9 carats rough, and 5.11 carats after cutting.
White: Harmony, elegance, innocence, or integrity. Traditional white diamonds are actually tinted yellow more often than not, though a true colorless (white) gem is the ideal form, and is rare. One of the most famous white diamonds is the Great Star of Africa, which is part of the British Crown Jewels. It’s 530.4 carats of perfection.
Yellow: Optimism, friendship, happiness, energy, or playfulness. While most white diamonds actually have a slight yellow tint to them, a diamond isn’t considered to be yellow unless the shade is very deep. For this reason, yellow-tinted or white diamonds are fairly common, but fancy yellows are rare. The color is a result of the stone’s nitrogen atoms absorbing blue light. One of the largest fancy yellows ever found is the 128.53-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond.
When Are Diamonds Traditionally Given?
There are special anniversaries in which diamonds are considered to be the traditional and proper gift, as well as certain days that the diamond has been selected to symbolize.
April Birthstone: Those born in the month of April were blessed with the diamond to honor the occasion. Although nobody knows for sure how the birthstones were chosen, it’s a time-honored tradition. Diamond jewelry and décor can be given to someone with an April birthday at any time, though it’s most appropriate to gift the gem on the individual’s birthday.
Entering a Committed Relationship: Some couples choose to exchange promise rings long before they’re prepared to be engaged. Although they don’t symbolize a long-term commitment, they do represent an agreement to remain faithful. Some promise rings look more like wedding rings, while others are simplified engagement rings. Some couples also use the opportunity to select fanciful or fun rings, with more focus on the metalwork than the bling.
Engagement: The first known diamond engagement band was placed on the hand of Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximilian of Austria in the 1400s. With that said, diamonds did not become the stone of choice until the 1900s, though they are they are by far the most common gems in engagement rings today. Modern engagement rings tend to have a single large stone.
Wedding: Diamond wedding bands are highly popular both among men and women. Groom’s rings typically consist of several diamonds or equal size, and although the bride’s band is similar, it’s often designed to pair with the engagement ring.
10th Anniversary: Each wedding anniversary has a traditional and modern gift associated with the date. Emily Post created the first printed gift etiquette list in 1922, though it has been expanded upon quite a bit since then. Diamonds are the modern choice for the 10th anniversary. Concerning anniversaries, an eternity band, totally encircled in diamonds, is often chosen. There is also a trend for three-stone pieces in both rings and necklaces. The gems represent the couple’s past, present, and future.
30th Anniversary: Diamonds are also the modern gift for the 30th anniversary.
60th Anniversary: For both a traditional and a modern gift, diamonds grace the gift chart once more on the 60th wedding anniversary. It’s also worth noting that the diamond can represent any 60th anniversary, as some might recall the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, which was held throughout 2012. Celebrations were held all year long to honor her accession.
(Insert Your Special Day Here): Nowadays, diamonds are used to commemorate all kinds of events, from graduation to the birth of a baby, or any other milestone in life. In these cases, rings, necklaces, earrings, broaches, and bracelets are also very popular.
When are Diamonds Used for Spiritual or Metaphysical Reasons?
Astrology: Diamonds have been linked with the astrological signs of Cancer, Libra, Aries, and Leo, as well as the sun and Venus.
Amulets and Talismans: Some people believe that diamonds can be used for protection or to increase one’s power and stamina.
Chakras: Diamonds are also associated with activating the sixth (third eye) and seventh (crown) chakras.
So it would seem that a pink diamond was the perfect choice for Jennifer Lopez, as it speaks of creativity, love, and romance. Although we’ll never know if Ben chose it with that in mind, or simply because it was rare and beautiful, it certainly adds novelty to the story to think there was more meaning it. If you’re in the process of choosing a diamond gift for someone you cherish, take these alternate meanings and symbolism into account. While the icy gemstone is always a welcome gift, it can be even more thoughtful if it starts with a story of its own.