Thursday, 10 January 2013

History of Gems

Different Gem StonesGems have been known to man for thousands of years, not only in India but other countries like Greece. According to Agni Puran, when the great demon Vatrasur attacked the heaven and drove away gods from there, Lord Vishnu advised the god-king Indra to go and beseech bones from the self-negating saint, Maharishi Daddhichi. The story goes that the saint forsook his own life and it was with his bones that the gods prepared a weapon (Vajra) to kill the demon. It is said when the weapon was used against Vatrasur and hit him, it broke his body into pieces and those pieces fell upon the earth and later got transformed into various gem. Diamond is supposed to have originated from saga's bones.

Wonderful Gem StonesAccording to Hindu mythology there is one more version. When the nectar was taken out of the sea, demons possessed it and ran away with it and gods chased them. In the melle that followed, some of the nectar drops fell upon the earth. Later those drops were transformed into precious stones. Hindu mythology speaks of yet another source of gems. It is said therein that once the demon king Bali was approached by the god-king Indra, dressed up as an innocent Brahmin and seeking an animal for atonement. Indra pleaded with king Bali to become an animal so that he could offer him in sacrifice to complete his yagna, Now Bali knew that he could not be killed because of a boon he had already acquired. So he playfully agreed to Indra's request. Indra knew about the boon and so he struck at his head rather than Bali's body with his Vajra and blew away the demon king's body to pieces. 
 
Those pieces got scattered all over the earth and it is said that from his bones were formed Diamonds, from teeth Pearls, from his blood Ruby, from gall bladder Emerald, from eyes Blue Sapphires, from heart bright blue Lapis Lajuli, from bone marrow Zircon, from nails Cats Eye, from fat Rock-Crystal, from semen Bheeshma, from his flesh coral and from his skin Yellow Sapphire.

Gems EarringsIt is further said that out of those stones Rahu preferred to take away Zircon and Ketu Lapis Lajuli. Sun took away Ruby; Moon liked Pearls, Mars Coral, Mercury Emeralds, Jupiter Yellow Sapphire, Venus Diamonds and Saturn Blue Sapphire.

Varahamihira, the ancient astrologer, also writes about the demon-king Bali and gems and jewels.

In ancient times people faithfully believed that the various gems were formed out of the body of the demon-king Bali after he was struck by Vajra.

Diamonds came out from the forehead of demon king. 
 
Pearls were made from his head.

Rubies were produced from the blood.
  
Emeralds were created from bile juice.

Corals were formed from the blood drops falling into sea.

Yellow sapphires-These were produced of his flesh.

Blue sapphires- Eye balls developed into them.

Moon- stones were formed from other parts of the eyes.

Cat's eyes were created from the sacred thread.

Bheeshshma Pashshaan- These were created from the semen crops.

Lapis Lajuli was created from hair.

Touch-stones- They were created as the chest dropped on the ground.

Crystals- They were created out of the sweat drops.

Bheeshsmaks- They were formed as the head was severed.

Ghreeta Mani- These were made from the belly of the demon.

Gems Bracelet
There is also reference of gems in Vishnu Purana, which is supposed to have been written about 200 years before Christ. India was even known to export diamonds and other quality jewels, gems and precious stones many hundred years before Romans started doing so. The Peacock Throne of the Mughal emperors in India, which was decorated with gold, diamonds and pearls, was so well-known that the Persian king invaded India and took it away to his land along with other pearls and diamonds. The 'Blue Hope Diamond' was found in south Golconda and is now lying in Smithsonian institute in the  US.

Gems were equally known and popular in the West. The great empress Cleopatra was supposed to have welcomed the Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, in a hall which was furnished with choicest jewels and gems. One famous writer from Greece who lived in 287 before Christ had written a book on diamonds and precious stones. Another Roman writer Pliny, who lived between 62 and 113 A.D., in his famous book, Natural History, has written in great detail about gems. According to him merchants from Rome, Greece and other parts of the world assembled in a port in Egypt and bought and sold jewels and other precious stones.

Gems NecklaceIn the 13th century Marcopolo toured a number of countries- Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, China and Burma and has written that gems and other treasures were traded in those countries. 

One French merchant who dealt in jewels visited a number of countries including India, Iran and Turkey. He went as far as Golkunda in Deep South (now Andhra Pradesh) and visited the mines there. He has given a vivid account of his travels. According to him as many as one lakh workers were engaged in mining in Golkunda.

Golkunda mines produced diamonds in large numbers in the 17th century and attracted world's attention and did large business. But now those mines are closed as Krishna and Godavari Rivers no more provide diamonds. At present diamonds are found in India in the pits of Panna. They are providing diamonds weighing about ten lakh carat. But experts who are on the job are of the opinion that the pits can offer diamonds two or three-fold more than what we are getting at present. 

Gems Rings
Now diamond mines have been discovered in Brazil (South America), South Africa, Australia, British Gyana, Conga and Belgium. Brazil discovered its diamond mines around 1975. One of it has the credit to produce the largest diamond piece, weighing 3085 carat, in the world. South Africa discovered its mines around 1867. Brazil and South Africa today are the leading nations trading in diamonds, thereby pushing India in a tight comer.


                                                                                                Writer - Rakesh Shastri
Visit Also:

Spacer Beads 

Jewelry Bails

No comments:

Post a Comment