Welcome, April—and its birthstone, the Diamond!
The phrase "A Diamond is Forever" comes from an ad campaign for DeBeers, which, until fairly recently, was undisputedly the world's largest diamond seller. Perhaps "forever" is an overstatement; regardless, diamonds are an impressive work of Mother Nature. They are the hardest known natural substance, making them suitable for industrial uses (in addition to decorative applications). They are incredibly old: most natural diamonds were formed deep within the Earth (90 to 500 miles down) 1 - 3.5 billion years ago. More recently (hundreds of millions of years ago), the Earth's volcanic activity moved some of them closer to the surface where they were discovered by man. Some diamonds were also formed by the heat and pressure of meteorites crashing to Earth. Colorless diamonds are considered the most valuable, though other colors are mined and sold: blue, yellow, green, purple, pink, orange, red, black and brown (which, until recently, were only sold industrially). Colored diamonds are the result of defects, impurities or exposure to a damaging substance. Although good natural diamonds are scarce, DeBeers (which monopolized the diamond market throughout the 20th Century) managed to increase the public's perception of diamonds as rare and costly—and they carefully managed the flow of diamonds onto the sales market, thus reinforcing the notion that "a diamond is forever."
The German Jugendstil desk set, above, was made around 1920. It is pewter and wears several diamond "necklaces"—bas relief bosses that encircle and frame the box and card holder. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248
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