(An enamelled and gem-set Navratna necklace, India, late 18th century; image courtesy of Sotheby’s.)
Here is a combination of gems, 9 in number (to be specific), that has the same kind of religious significance and sanctity all across Asia, regardless of the country and the cultural differences that almost always tend to separate one country or culture from the other.
Some of those countries that believe in the sanctity of the nine gems are India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
(Illustrated maps of Southeast Asia and India; images courtesy of Pinterest.)
The nine gemstones in question are Ruby, Pearl, Red Coral, Emerald, Yellow Sapphire, Diamond, Blue Sapphire, Hessonite and Cat’s Eye. These are precious gems and according to Asian beliefs, only the purest of gems have the ability to protect an individual from disease, bad omens, demons, sins and any other sort of evil that may cause harm. Gems with impurities or flaws simply will not do.
Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism are religions that support this belief system that hails the Navratna gems as sacred.
The celestial bodies associated with each gem are as follows:
Ruby – the Sun
Pearl – the Moon
Red Coral – Mars
Emerald – Mercury
Yellow Sapphire – Jupiter
Diamond – Venus
Blue Sapphire – Saturn
Hessonite – the Ascending Lunar Node
Cat’s Eye – the Descending Lunar Node
More details in the next post.