Our great sages and polymaths perfected the art and the science of astrology in ancient times. As such astrology has witnessed continuous development and proliferated into many branches and divisions, all of which are equal in importance. Gemmology or the scientific and ethnic study of gemstones is an important and integral part of applied astrology. It is so popular among the Indian public that no one is certain as to when it had actually come into practice. Use of precious gems and stones has been an ancient practice in India. Some people believe that it is one or two thousand years old science while others maintain that science and art of gemmology originated about five or ten thousand years ago. Scriptural evidences however show that concept of gemmology is as old as the creation itself. A very famous hymn says:
SASHANKH CHAKRAM SAKIRIT KUNDALAM, SAPEET VASTRAM SARASI RUNEKSHANAM ||
SAHAR VAKSH STHAL KAUSTUBHASHRIYAM, NAMAMI VISHNUM SIRASA CHATURBHUJAM ||
Apart from many kinds of weapons, Lord Vishnu bears Kaustubha Mani (a gem named Kaustubh) on his chest. This gem is most dear to Him. This hymn shows that even before the whole universe came into being, Lord Vishnu did have an existence and the gem Kaustubh also existed along with Him.
During medieval period also, various scholars shed light on the science of gemmology. They authored many great scriptures as well. Acharya Varahmihir was the most prominent of those great scholars. A scripture Vrihat Samhita written by Varahmihir still has a wide recognition among the gemologists. It has a whole chapter, Ratnadhyay devoted to the comprehensive description of the gemstones. Among Puranas, Agnipurana contains exhaustive description about gemmology.
In modern era also, countless scholars are continuously working with dedication in the field of gemmology. Thank
Practically, there is no basic difference between a gem and a jewel. The only difference is between their hues and the special effects because of them. Some experts say that jewels have brilliant hues than the gems. But many believe that gems and jewels belong to the same categories.
But since the word jewel has achieved an independent existence, lets learn something more about it.
ORIGIN OF JEWELS: Experts have a difference of opinion regarding the origin of jewels. Researchers tell that many kinds of jewels are manufactured within the body of living organisms from the various actions and reactions of their blood, marrow, flesh etc. Some of the jewels are produced in nature through the reactions and combinations of different chemical compounds. Still some jewels are obtained from specific vegetation, plants and rocks.
Like gems, jewels too can be classified into different categories according to their appearances, effects and the compounds present within them. But before going through their physical classification, lets be familiar with the classification of jewels as has been mentioned in Indian scriptures. Through the origin of jewels as given in Indian mythology appears more like fantasies in the present scientific age, but it may have some degree of truth. Besides, it is relevant here to learn about the origin of jewels as described in mythology for various reasons. Hymns and other descriptions of Indian religious scriptures are more cryptic in nature and need proper deciphering for who knows what is hidden in them. Gemmology is no exception in this context.
According the great astrologer Varahmihir, jewels are of three kinds
1) Jewels of the sky or heaven.
2) Jewels of the earth.
3) Jewels of the nether world.
Thus, in all the three worlds, superior gems are found and the excellent among them are known as jewels.
According to mythology, jewels found in heaven are-
1) Kaustubh Mani.
2) Chinta Mani.
3) Syamantak Mani.
4) Rudra Mani.
1) Kaustubh Mani: It has a deep blue colour like a blue lotus and a radiance equal to the sun. It was obtained during the churning of the sea. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu wears Kaustubh Mani in a garland on his chest. This is said to be a powerful jewel and bestows fortune, luxuries as well as invincibility on to its wearer besides extremely beautiful and imposing.
2) Chinta Mani: Name of this jewel is self-explicit. The wearer is freed from all the worries and fretting. It is white in colour and has a brilliant hue. It gives its wearer all kinds of wealth and comforts.
3) Syamantak Mani: It is a common belief that this jewel adorns the necklace of Lord Surya (the sun god). It is said to have a brilliant blue hue that instantaneously blinds the onlooker. If it is taken in darkness, it fills the ambience with day-like light. There is an interesting tale related to this jewel.
In the Dwapar Yuga, Lord Surya had presented the Syamantak Mani to his devotee Prasanjit as he was pleased by his devotion. Prasanjit visited the court of Lord Krishna wearing the jewel. All the courtiers were amazed by the brilliance of this jewel and said to Prasanjit that he did not deserve the jewel, so he should present it to none other than Lord Krishna. But Prasanjit could present the jewel to Lord Krishna and stealthily left the court. Later on, Prasanjit went to the forests on a hunting excursion and was killed by a lion. The lion took the jewel with it but was killed by Jambvant, the ursine aid of Lord Rama. Jambvant took the jewel to his cave and gave it to his children.
Back there in the kingdom, when Prasanjit did not return for many days, suspicious fingers began to point at Lord Krishna. So, Lord