As our passion for Indian jewellery ‘only’ goes back for almost 40 years, the story of India’s fascination with jewellery dates back more than 5,000 years ago in the Indus Valley. At that time, India was the largest manufacturer and exporter of beads to the world. India was also home to the diamond. It’s believed that it was the people from the Indus Valley Civilization who first explored the craft of jewellery making. 

The Vedas, a collection of hymns and other ancient religious texts written in India between about 1500 and 1000bc and is considered to be sacred by the Vedic religion, contains several references for the use of gems in ceremonial rituals and everyday life. They describe the powers of precious stones to influence subtle energies and connect the Earth to the rest of the universe. 

The connection between gemstones, planets and celestial deities is most probably originates in Mesopotamia, where it already existed in the 3rdmillennium B.C.

In Hindu cosmology, a gemstone is far more than just a pretty object. Originally, all gems were used for preventive, medicinal and therapeutic purpose. According to ancient Indian astrology, man is under the influence of the nine planets, represented by nine gems (in Sanskrit it’s called navaratna). Some of the navaratna gemstones were considered more precious than others because of their rarity. That’s why in early times the nine gemstones were divided in two groups: the 5 great gems (maharatnani) and the ‘lesser’ stones (uparatnani). The maharatnani are: diamond, pearl, ruby, sapphire and emerald. These maharatnani stayed the same over the course of the history, but the uparatnani have varied over time. 

Photo: Turban ornament, Crescent moon, kundan set with diamonds, cabochon ruby and emeralds and a rim of natural pearls.

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