India has had a variety of jewels. The apparent varieties of jewels are the diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires which are part of the nine precious gems of India.
The concept of nine gems, ratna be it in the form of precious gems or outstanding people find acceptance and repeated mention in this land
Apart from this variety, the Indian civilization had respect to other varieties of nine gems. They being:
- The people of land, their qualities and characteristics
- The knowledge of the land
All these three components join together, to be the jewel of this land.
This land had been a veritable repository of the jewels of the material variety. Diamonds, pearls and other jewels were collected, owned, worn, shown off and kept as wealth in this land for many millennia.
The respect for diamonds which the world shows today, emanates from India. India has always regarded the diamonds as the best of the jewels and has given its prime importance. In contrast to this, till the 1650’s Europe considered pearls as the primary jewel. Diamonds occupied a lowly 16th position in the hierarchy of preciousness. It is only when Europeans started coming to India, and saw the importance accorded to diamonds in India, the Europeans realized the preciousness of diamonds after which diamonds steadily rose to its position of pre-eminence in the world.
Plunder of Indian jewels:
This permeating knowledge of diamonds to the West Asian nations and to Europe has had an adverse impact on India. During the medieval invasion by the Islamic rulers and later by the European colonization of India wide spread plunder of diamonds and other jewels in India took place for nearly 1000 years. Because of this continuous drain, today most of the popular jewels of this world have a history of how and when they were taken out of India.
In this capsule “Jewels of India” we list out the jewels of the world which have their origin in India.
Looking to the future:
It is no purpose bemoaning this loss now. While India may have lost the material jewels, it has assiduously collected over the last 5000 years, in the last 1000 years of plunder. What India has left with now, are the other two Jewels of the land namely character and quality of the people and more importantly the other jewel which would be of real use in the future, the knowledge jewel.
As the world enters the knowledge era, India could do well, to use this knowledge jewel to conquer the world again with their knowledge repository which they collected for over 5000 years and more.