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Gems and Trade > Indian Jewellery > Gems and Trade  |  Print  |  E-mail a friend
Information on the Indian culture of precious stones eventually spread to the Greeks and later to the Romans. The Greek geographer Strabo (ca. 65 BC - 19 AD) writes about Indians who owned tables, chairs, drinking vessels and bathtubs encrusted with emeralds, beryls and carbuncle stones. In the 2nd century AD, rubies were exported to Bimaran in Afghanistan.

When merchants and poets in the 6th century AD wanted to find out about the sources, quality, powers and prices of individual minerals, they consulted the Ratnapariksa, the repository of Indian knowledge on gems and a lapidary from this century. It told them, for instance, that the colour of the sapphire is like the dark blue shimmer of a lotus blossom.

The opulence of India's ruling classes in the 14th century is pictured by Marco Polo (1254–1324 AD). He reported that "King Sundara-Pandya of Malabar wears a necklace made exclusively of precious stones: rubies, sapphires, emeralds... What this king carries around. is worth more than a whole city could raise as ransom."

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