April is known for its showers - both of rain and meteors. It is a wonderfully optimistic month, where spring sunshine and noticeably longer days remind us that summer is coming soon. The word April comes from the Latin “aperire”, which means ‘to open’, presumably referring to the blooming of trees and flowers that occurs this month. It is a time of planting, spring cleaning and playing tricks on your nearest and dearest!
Easter most often falls in April (though it can take place in late March some years, depending on when the Paschal Full Moon occurs). Whatever your religious convictions, the opportunity to eat egg-shaped chocolate on the Sunday after the Paschal full moon is a highlight of April most years.
In both the traditional and the modern list, diamond is the birthstone for April. The word diamond comes from “adamas”, a Greek word that means invincible or indestructible.
Formed approximately 100 miles below the Earth’s crust and brought to the surface during volcanic activity, diamond in the hardest natural substance on the planet. Although people usually think of diamonds as colourless gemstones, it is actually possible for them to be any colour of the rainbow, though coloured ones are a lot rarer.
Mankind has been fascinated by diamonds for many years. The Greeks believed diamonds were the tears of the gods, and Romans thought they were shards from the stars. Prized for their beauty and strength diamonds are associated with good health and a happy, long-lasting relationship. This makes them a very popular choice for engagement rings.
Today, Russia, Botswana and Canada are the top three diamond producing countries in the world. Diamonds are extremely rare and take a hugely long time to form naturally. The youngest natural diamond is nearly a billion years old, so diamond jewellery has a wonderfully long heritage that predates the dinosaurs by many years. It is now possible to create synthetic diamonds in a lab. Whilst they’re cheaper than their natural counterparts, they also lack the romance of an ancient natural stone.
Wild & Fine doesn’t hold any stock made with diamonds, but we do have a distinct part of the business known as Wild & Fine Luxe, which allows you to commission any of our pieces (or create a custom design with Jess) in solid gold and fine gemstones. This service is ideal for engagement rings or jewellery for important birthdays or anniversaries. So if, for example, you would like a Cordelia Seahorse in 18 carat gold with diamond eyes, just get in touch for a quote.
April Birth Flowers
We may not carry diamonds as stock, but we do have daisies! One of the two birth flowers for April (along with sweetpeas), these bright, cheerful flowers are symbolic of purity, innocence, childbirth, motherhood and new beginnings. They are also associated with a good night’s sleep, because daisy flowers open during the day and close up when the sun goes down. If you know someone with an April birthday who either always looks as fresh as a daisy, or looks like they could do with a few more good nights’ sleep, get them a daisy charm – but maybe don’t tell them if they look tired!
Inspirational People with April Birthdays
There is no shortage of people to talk about here, as it seems to be a popular month for truly inspirational individuals to be born. Leonardo da Vinci, Charlie Chaplin and the Queen have been rejected in favour of the individuals below, who have been selected for their creativity, their talent and their ability to triumph over adversity.
Maya Angelou - 4th April 1928
Born Marguerite Annie Johnson, Maya Angelou was an activist and wordsmith from St Louis, Missouri. Her most famous work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was an evocative and controversial autobiography (one of six autobiographies that she wrote during her lifetime) that describes her early years growing up in St Louis and Arkansas. As a result of childhood trauma, Maya was mute for 5 years, between the age of 7 and 12, but read widely and precociously for a child of her age. She was finally encouraged to speak again by a lady called Mrs Flowers, who made her realised the importance of the spoken word and is credited with instilling her love of poetry.
A mother at 17, just after she graduated high school, Angelou went on to become San Francisco’s first female streetcar conductor, but her varied work life also included dancing in night clubs, cooking in restaurants, striping paint from cars and singing cabaret. She joined Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr in the Civil Right movement in the late 1950s but left the US in 1962 to live in Cairo and then Ghana for several years, before returning to the States to focus on her writing. In 1972 she became the first black woman to have a screenplay produced and in 1993 she wrote and recited a poem for Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
Angelou’s work is full of inspiring quotes, but our favourites are:
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.”
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
Charlotte Bronte - 21st April 1816
A giant of English literature at only four and a half feet tall, Charlotte Bronte is a modern role model not just for her talent as a writer but for her tenacious capacity to persist in following her dreams, despite the many stumbling blocks she encountered along the way.
The word Bronte means thunder and it was chosen as a surname by Charlotte’s father as an alternative to his real name (which was Brunty or Prunty, depending on which source you read) when he won a scholarship to study at Cambridge University. Despite the Latin-influenced surname name and the fact that she was born and raised in Yorkshire, the majority of Charlotte’s early schooling was provided by her father and her aunt, so she had a strong Irish accent when she went to Roe Head School at 15.
All three Bronte sisters who survived to adulthood loved writing, but 16-year-old Charlotte was encouraged to quit her passion by the poet laureate of the day, Robert Southey, to whom she had written asking for feedback on her work. In his reply to her letter, he said ‘literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life: & it ought not to be.’ It would be reassuring to think that her response was entirely sarcastic, but it may well have been in all earnestness that she wrote ‘I must thank you for the kind, and wise advice you have condescended to give me... I trust I shall never more feel ambitious to see my name in print.’
Southey wasn’t the only man to lack faith in her writing career. Her own father initially refused to read Jane Eyre because he said it would strain his eyes. When Charlotte explained that the work was printed, not a handwritten manuscript, he retorted that she would inevitably lose money because it couldn’t be a success. It was only when she read him some reviews of her work that he agreed to read it. Once he had finished, he asked his other daughters if they were aware that Charlotte had written a book that was much better than one would have expected!
Given the rather negative role of the men in her life, it is hardly surprising that Charlotte made a pact with school friends Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor to grow old and never marry. She rejected several proposals of marriage, including one from Ellen’s brother, Henry. When she finally did get married, to Arthur Bell Nicholls at the age of 38, she was given away at the church by her former schoolteacher. Her father had been unhappy about her choice of husband from the start, thinking she deserved better than an assistant curate and worrying that her marriage would cause her to move away and prevent her from looking after him in his old age. On the day of her wedding, he said he was too ill to leave the house to attend the ceremony, so Mary Wooler, her former teacher and employer at Roe Head School, gave her away instead.
John Muir - 21st April 1838
“When I was a boy in Scotland, I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures.”
Also known as John of the Mountains and Father of the National Parks, John Muir was an early advocate of the preservation of wilderness land in the United States. He co-founded The Sierra Club, a prominent American conservation organisation with the motto: ‘Explore, enjoy and protect the planet’. His activism helped to establish the Yosemite Valley and Sequoia national parks.
Born in Scotland to strictly religious parents, Muir emigrated with his family in 1849 because his father found the Church of Scotland insufficiently rigorous in faith and practice. Although he remained a spiritual man for the whole of his adult life, Muir rejected the doctrine that his father so devoutly espoused, replacing the worship of God with the worship of wilderness landscapes. He firmly believed that wild places help us grow as people and can recharge body and mind.
Muir was one of the first to suggest that mankind should stop attempting to establish dominion over nature and accept that they are a part of nature. He also argued that the natural world had an intrinsic value all of its own and was not just a resource to be exploited by humans. As we stand at the cusp of irreversible climate change, his philosophies seem more pertinent than ever.
Harper Lee - 28th April 1926
Born Nelle Harper Lee, this American writer is most famous for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Her lawyer father wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps and was very disappointed when she left university the semester before completing the credit hours necessary for a degree.
In 1949, Lee moved to New York and worked as a book shop assistant and airline reservation agent while writing in her spare time. For Christmas in 1956, some of Lees friends clubbed together to give her the gift of a year’s wages, so that she could focus on her writing. The first draft of what was later to become To Kill a Mockingbird was ready in spring of 1957 and it was eventually published in 1960, though Lee never expected it to do well:
“I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected.”
Lee’s only other published work, Go Set a Watchman, is actually an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird and was published in 2015, when Lee was living in an assisted living facility in Alabama. There is some controversy surrounding her capacity to give publication her blessing, especially given that, when she was asked in the past why she hadn’t published anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, she responded: "Two reasons: one, I wouldn't go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill a Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say, and I will not say it again."