Indian Gemstones History And Facts

Since you voted for it on Instagram the last time, I did some research on the subject and discovered that India's history with gemstones is indeed fascinating. Let's start with some historical events and work our way up to more accurate facts.

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Gem-related Field

INDIAN history
From Ancient Civilizations to Mughals
First of all, India's jewellery is a striking expression of the country's aesthetic and cultural heritage, with a 5000-year legacy. The limited number of jewels that have survived from various times and parts of the region, references in literature, gemology documents, myths, legends, and chronicles provide evidence of a unique tradition in the world.

From ancient Indian civilization to the Moghuls and reports from J-B Tavernier (a French gem merchant and traveller), it is safe to say that India has been a pioneer in the history of gemstones.

Indeed, India was the world's sole supplier of gemstones for over 2,000 years. Golconda diamonds, Kashmir sapphires, and Gulf of Mannar pearls were highly prized and drew merchants from all over the world to India. Jewels, as in Western countries, were a symbol of rulers' riches, stability, and prestige.
The use of jewelry in India dates back more than 5000 years, to the times when the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana were written. The only physical remnants of some ancient Indian jewelry from the Indus Valley civilization have been discovered. The first jewels were simple, consisting of beads, strings, and stones. People in the Indus Valley region later learned to make ornaments and jewelry out of metals.
The Indus Valley Civilisation
It is said that the ancient people of the Indus Valley Civilisation were an incredibly sophisticated community with a finely formed aesthetic sense backed up by intricate engineering skills, based on the jewellery they made and wore. This conclusion comes from the necklace discovered at Mohenjodaro, which is now on display in the National Museum's jewellery gallery in Delhi. Even today, gems and jewellery convey powerful messages of strength, honour, and love in India.

The elaborate Indian jewels of the time captivated Greek travellers to ancient India. The epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as well as the Arthasastra, a 19th-century book, all mention the intricate arts of yore's jewellers. An ancient Tamil classic, the Silappadikaram, describes an Indian culture that deals in gold, pearls, and precious stones. Paes, a Portuguese chronicler, writes of the Vijayanagar empire, where travellers were awestruck by the jewels on display.
The Indus civilisation, also known as the Harappan civilisation or bronze age urban civilization, was India's first well-developed mature urban civilisation. Between 2500 and 1900 BC, the civilization reached its peak, as evidenced by features such as the citadel, lower town, brick buildings, large bath, seals and sealings, irrigation, breeding habitat, technology, arts, religious traditions, undeciphered Harappan script, weights and measurements, stone work, metal pictures, and so on.

the most influential in Indian history
The Mughal Dynasty
As we all know, the Mughal dynasty is the most influential in Indian history because of the length of its reign and the prosperity it brought. The Mughals, Central Asian conquerors, brought with them both the technological skills needed for gem-setting and the determination to consolidate their newly gained power through excessive displays of wealth.

According to Abul Fazl, Akbar was the first Mughal to organize a "treasury for precious stones". Rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and red and blue yaquts were divided into 12 classes, while pearls were divided into 16 classes. To that end, they enacted a number of Sumptuary Laws, which restricted the wearing of jewelry to the ruling classes, thus cementing jewelry's high status in Indian society.
The Mughal dynasty, Mughal, also written Mogul, is a Muslim dynasty of Turkic-Mongol descent that ruled much of northern India from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries. After that, it existed as a significantly diminished and ultimately helpless force until the mid-nineteenth century.
Kashmir Sapphire
Kashmir Sapphires From India
In the 1880s, blue sapphires were discovered in the Padar area of Kashmir. The velvety texture of Kashmir sapphire is distinguished by a slight haziness that, when magnified, reveals numerous fine particles oriented in three directions at 60/120° in the basal plane.

Sapphires from Sri Lanka, Thailand (particularly Kanchanaburi), and Pailin may also have a milky appearance, raising the possibility of misunderstanding between these stones. The haziness in Kashmir stones, on the other hand, is extremely fine in nature, not enough to severely degrade the clarity, but only enough to give the stones their distinctive velvety luster.
17.21-carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Brooch Courtesy of Bonhams
Indian G&J Production
In India, the two most important segments of the sector are gold jewelry and diamonds. Gold jewelry accounts for roughly 80% of the Indian jewelry industry. Furthermore, India has the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing industry. It was also the first country to introduce diamonds to the world, as well as the first to mine, cut, polish, and trade them. One of India's oldest activities is the cutting and polishing of diamonds and other precious stones.

One of the big business developments in India's jewelry industry tends to be branding. According to experts, branded jewelry (which, as India Law Offices points out, does not account for more than 4% of the market) will continue to expand steadily in the Indian jewelry trade.
Looking at the evolution of the Indian gold market, it is clear that India has never been short of gold reserves. History has shown that India has always been self-sufficient in all of its natural resources, especially gold. It was the abundance of such precious metals that drew foreign invaders from all over the world, as well as from time to time, to come to India and loot as much of it as they could.
Navaratna Indian Jewelry has a fascinating past dating back to ancient India. The Hindu universe is thought to be made up of seven planets and two "nodes." These are collectively referred to as nine planets. Each of the nine planets has its own celestial God, also known as a navagraha. The navaratna, or nine gemstones, are aligned with the nine celestial Gods. This style of jewelry has significant cultural significance in many southern and south-eastern Asian cultures.

The nine stones consist of diamond, pearl, coral, hessonite, blue sapphire, cat's eye, yellow sapphire, emerald, and ruby in its center, as it is associated with the Sun. It is said to protect the individual from all evil influences, to cure and heal illness.
The terms sujatyam-amalam (sujati=high born, and amala=completely pure or flawless) are important in the preceding sloka. Only clean, high-quality gems are considered auspicious in Asian belief systems.

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Benjamin Poudevigne
Social Media Manager at GemMatrix
With over ten years of marketing experience, I finally decided to settle down in Bangkok to work in an area that I have always been interested in: the gemstones industry. I'm still learning how the market works on a daily basis, and I enjoy sharing my experience with those who are interested in learning more about gems in general.