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Gemstones and Civilization : History of gemstones




Every culture has its own belief about the specific stones. It’s difficult to describe an exact time when the use of gemstones begins in history. There are ancient books that describe the gemstones (Ratnas). Ancient Hindu books like Rigveda has used the word ratnas in hymns and phrases and Puranas like Mahabharata, Agni Purana, Garud Puraan, Bhaav Prakash, Charak, Vaagbhat, Sushurut, Kautilya Neeti, Shukraneeti, and Amarkosh also even describes the gemstones. So, the use of gemstones is from very ancient time. In different religious books, we can find the descriptions about the gemstones.  History_Of_Gemstones

A famous Greek author Theophrastus had written a lot about the gemstones. Pileeni wrote a book ‘Natural history’ in which he had described the natural gemstones and their usage. Today, these precious stones have various names and India is famous from very ancient times for gemstones. Moreover, India was the first country that made the world aware about diamonds. India was fully developed in the art of making jewelry using gemstones during 2800 BC. 

 During Mughal period, various books were written on gemstones, few names are Jahangiri, Badshah- Nama, Tajke Baabari, Aalamgir-nama, aaine-akbari, iqbaal-nama, vamaasheer-aalamgiri, bajme-taimoor, maser-ul-umra and much more. These all book describes various gemstones that were used during the Mughal period.


Alauddin Khalji was the sultan of Delhi was the King with a great treasure of gems and jewels. It has been mentioned in history that he brought various gemstones like Ruby, sapphires, gold, and silver with him in huge quantity. Even in marriages, the clothes of bride and groom were fully decorated with the fine art of gemstones, gold, and handwork.

Muhamad Tuglaq married her sister to Amir Saifuddin, so it has been said by Ibn- Battuta that the king gave a cloth which was completely covered by gems and one cannot see the piece of cloth and could see glittering gems and fine handwork only. In Tajke-i- Baabri, it is mentioned that Baabar invades the Kings of India he got various gems and jewels from the treasury. It has been mentioned that son of Vikram jeet gave a precious gift to Humayun which was a diamond of 216 Ratti, and it was said at that time that half the world treasure is equivalent to its cost and this diamond was named as ‘Kohinoor’ that was looted by Nadir Shah then was in possession of King Ranjit Singh and finally it was sent to Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria wore that Kohinoor on her crown and at present the world most precious Diamond that was mined from India is kept in Museum of London.

Kohinoor image


So, these gemstone and precious stones are not in use because of their beauty, luster, and charm but are used for astrological and healing purposes also and have been used in various civilization by different names. They were part of treasures, wealth and were used in all auspicious occasions.

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