The History of Indian Gemology
The cultures of the Indian subcontinent have studied gemstones for millennia, and many ancient texts detail the medicinal, spiritual, and supernatural powers of various gems. Evidence, dating as far back as 5,000 years ago, that Indian architects used gemstones to decorate and protect the palaces of kinds can be found in the Manasara, a classic architectural manual.
The Vedas, the oldest Indian scriptures, contains several references to 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. Because precious stones were closely associated with the gods, they had the power to heal and influence destiny.
According to ancient Indian texts, sapphires were grouped into four ‘varnas’ or classes. Hindus were only allowed to wear sapphires with the color designated for their caste. The Brahmins’ stone was whitish blue, the Kshatriyas’ was a reddish blue, the Vaishyas’ was yellowish blue, and the Sudras’ was a dark or blackish blue.
The Manusmriti is an ancient work of Hindu law which dates to about the 1st century A.D. and several items pertain to the care and use of gems.
One of the most famous Indian works on gemology is S.M. Tagore’s “Mani-Mala” or “Treatise on Gems.” Although it was written at the end of the 19th century, it drew heavily on sacred Hindu tracts, called Puranas, which were written and compiled from 400 to 1000 A.D.
According to Tagore:
– “That sapphire which combines great weight with small bulk is called ‘guru.’ Such a gem conduces to increase of family.”
– “That which always gives out moisture is called ‘snigdha.’ A snigdha sapphire brings on accession of wealth.”
– “That sapphire which being exposed to the morning sun, flames in a blue effulgence, is termed ‘varnadhya.’ It brings prosperity.”
– “That sapphire through which any lustrous substance such as crystal, silver, gold, is seen, is entitled ‘parsvavarti.’ It brings on fame.”
There is some evidence that the Indians have been heat-treating sapphires for centuries. The Puranas indicate that stones can be improved by means of fire. When Duarte Barbosa traveled to the East in the early 16th century, he noted that gemstones were put into a fire for a number of hours, from which some emerged “very bright and of great value.”
Sapphires and Jyotisha
The cultures of the Indian subcontinent have studied different aspects of gemstones for many centuries. Ancient Sanskrit texts give us a great deal of information on Sapphire’s ability to influence the cosmos. Jyotisha refers to the ancient Indian system of astronomy and astrology, which is also known as Vedic Astrology by millions of practitioners worldwide.
Jyotisha is a form of predictive astrology; where prognostication centers on an evaluation of the natal horoscope as it relates to the moment and subject of inquiry. The practice of Jyotisha is based on the sidereal zodiac, which is different from the tropical zodiac used in Western astrology.
Jyotisha is primarily concerned with the sun, the moon, five visible planets, and two lunar nodes (called Rahu and Ketu). These “planets,” as they are collectively called, impact our lives on many levels and contribute to our mental, physical, material, and spiritual well-being. Each of the planets emits colored rays of light: the rays of the Sun are red, Moon orange, Mars yellow, Mercury green, Jupiter blue, Venus indigo, Saturn violet, Rahu ultraviolet, and Ketu infrared. When the rays are out of balance or “afflicted,” physical or emotional sickness occurs. Imbalances result when the planetary rays are distorted or improperly received by an individual.
Gemstones have long associations with astrology because as crystals they retain the astral influences of the sun, moon, and planets longer than any other known substance. Because gemstones have the ability to absorb, reflect and radiate different frequencies of light, they can be used to correct or amplify planetary influences. Practitioners of Jyotisha prescribe different gemstones to promote the positive effects of favorable birth planets or ameliorate the effects of unfavorable birth planets.
Although substitutes or secondary gemstones may be used on occasion, the primary gemstones include ruby, which is associated with red light; pearl, orange light; red coral, yellow light; emerald, green light; yellow sapphire, blue light; diamond, indigo light; and blue sapphire, violet light. The vibrational wavelengths of hessonite garnet are associated with ultraviolet light, and cat’s eye chrysoberyl is associated with infrared light. It should be noted that white (colorless) sapphires might, on occasion, be substituted for diamonds because they too are associated with indigo light.
One of the most universal of all amulets is the Navaratna, or “nine gems.” Navaratnas are set with the nine gemstones of Jyotisha, which are known to influence the health and destiny of the wearer. The Navaratna is set with a single diamond, pearl, ruby, blue sapphire, emerald, topaz (or yellow sapphire), cat’s eye, coral, and zircon (or Hessonite).
Each of these stones is associated with a celestial planet or deity, which in combination denote the totality of the Hindu universe.
Because yellow sapphire is associated with Jupiter, and blue sapphire is associated with Saturn, they are found in all Navaratnas. White or colorless sapphires are never used in Navaratnas because they are only considered as a substitute, not primary, planetary gems.
Yellow sapphires will strengthen a weak or afflicted planet Jupiter in the natal chart of an individual, especially when considered in conjunction with an individual’s ascendant, or rising sign. Since Jupiter is the planet of material prosperity, progeny, and spiritual growth, many consider this planet of critical importance to their lives. People who suffer from depression, poverty, bad luck, blood or immune disorders, respiratory ailments, and liver problems may find their problems ameliorated by yellow sapphire. Although yellow sapphires can be effective if they are two karats in size, experts typically recommend that they be at least three karats.
Care must be taken in prescribing blue sapphire to treat a weak or afflicted planet Saturn in the natal chart of an individual, and it must be considered in conjunction with the individual’s ascendant, or rising sign. Saturn is considered a malefic planet; if poorly positioned, the individual may live a short lonely life full of sorrow, disappointment, bad career choices, and fear. Saturn rules the nails, teeth, bones, and nervous system. Blue sapphire can be used to treat heart disease, tuberculosis, rheumatism, deafness, mental and nervous disorders, and baldness. Blue sapphires of five karats are typically recommended, but effects will be realized if the stone is at least two karats in size.
Although diamond is usually recommended for an ill-positioned or weak Venus, white (colorless) sapphire may be used as a substitute or secondary gemstone. If the planet is afflicted, there may be problems in marriage or other relationships, lack of passion and sexual drive, or an absence of beauty and luxury in life. Venus also rules the reproductive system, kidneys, eyes, cheeks, and throat.
There are several ways to harness the healing powers of gems. Some practitioners make elixirs or tinctures, which are taken internally. However, most experts agree that the most effective means is to wear gemstones so that they touch the skin.
It is important to note that Jyotisha benefits the wearer of gemstones; crystals do not have the same effect. Jyotish gemstones must also be natural, untreated gemstones. Synthetic sapphires have not been exposed to planetary rays over countless eons, and therefore cannot be used in Jyotisha. Heat treatment also negates Sapphire’s inherent energy, rendering it useless for therapeutic applications.
To harness the power of sapphires, they must be eye clean. Wearing flawed sapphires, even in ignorance, can have dire effects—especially in the case of blue sapphires. Since severe adverse results can occur, only experienced Jyotisha practitioners should be consulted for the wearing of sapphires and other gemstones. These experts will prescribe the correct gems or combination of gems for your personal chart or condition, and they will also be able to prescribe the correct location to wear the gems. An experienced Vedic astrologer will also inform you of the means to purify your gemstones, the best time and day to wear the gemstones, and the length of time they should be worn to have the greatest effect.
Spiritual Properties of Sapphires
Sapphires are known as the stones of wisdom and serenity. They release mental tension and dispel depression. They facilitate meditation, calm and mind, and provide the mental clarity required to surmount obstacles.
Sapphires align the physical, mental, and spiritual planes and restore balance within the body. When worn at the throat, they facilitate creativity and self-expression.
Sapphires are used to develop the “third eye,” and are often associated with out-of-body experiences, telepathy, and precognition.
Specific colors of sapphire are known to have additional attributes:
Star sapphires are exceptional for their protective qualities. They promote astral travel, precognition, and cleanse the chakras. The rays of the star represent faith, hope, and destiny.
Yellow sapphires bring prosperity, stimulate the intellect, and remove toxins from the body.
White sapphires open the crown chakra, which elevates spirituality and cosmic consciousness.
Blue sapphires are especially effective for chakra healing—especially the throat chakra. They are a good stone for those who are intent on finding spiritual truth.
Purple sapphires improve meditation and psychic abilities. They are also effective in calming overwrought emotions.
Green sapphires stimulate the heart chakra improving one’s capacity for compassion, loyalty, and trust in others. They also enhance your ability to recall dreams.
Pink sapphires remove emotional stumbling blocks and illuminate the path to higher consciousness. They attract positive elements into your life.
Black sapphires build both careers and the power of intuition.
Since precious metals are energy amplifiers, the metal used to mount sapphires also have the ability to augment the power of each of the sapphire varieties. Gold’s biocompatibility and conductivity have been recognized for ages. Worn on the body, it is said to be helpful for treating blood, skin, and heart conditions as well as epilepsy, scoliosis, dyslexia, and autism.
Because gold is chemically inert, it is also believed to prevent spiritual corrosion, fatigue, and negativity. If the wearer is mindful to avoid a tendency toward greed, gold serves to relieve tension, anger, and feelings of inferiority. Yellow gold harnesses the warmth of the sun and it promotes self-awareness and the realization of dreams. Rose gold enhances spirituality, and white gold channels the energies of both the sun and the moon.
Silver is often associated with the feminine characteristics of compassion and empathy. Because of these traits, it helps to channel the positive energy of gemstones including sapphires–into the body. Silver is also said to be beneficial for the circulatory system, the throat, and the lungs. It restores mental and hormonal balance and is good for treating hepatitis and detoxifying the body.
Since jewelers and metalsmiths only acquired the ability to work platinum at the end of the 19th century, it does not have the extensive spiritual tradition that is associated with both silver and gold. As a new metal, however, it represents the future–facilitating growth, change, new ideas, and newfound wisdom. Its superior strength concentrates the mind and deflects negativity, envy, and malice. Palladium, a member of the platinum group metals, is associated with similar characteristics.
Vedic Astrology Today
Since ancient times, sapphires have been used to protect the wearer by boosting the immune system. They were said to calm overactive body systems, treat disorders of the blood, and regulate the glands. They were believed to alleviate the suffering caused by rheumatism, allergies, biliousness, hiccups, and cancer. They were known to cure chronic fevers and epilepsy. Blue sapphire was thought to increase the life span and to end headaches, nightmares, and nosebleeds when placed on the forehead.
Sapphires, if worn, ingested, or otherwise applied to the body, have long been credited with an ability to heal numerous medical and mental conditions. These claims have not been verified by the Western medical establishment … but their influence in the philosophies of the East cannot be disputed. Vedic astrology has a venerable history. Why not explore it for yourself?