Navaratna Indian Jewelry has a very interesting history from ancient India. It’s believed that the Hindu universe consists of seven planets and two “nodes”. Together these are loosely referred to as nine planets. Each of the nine planets have their corresponding celestial Gods, also known as the navagraha. The nine celestial Gods in turn are associated with nine gemstones, known as the navaratna.
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the nine gemstones, navaratna, the symbolic arrangement of the gemstones and benefits of navaratna jewelry. We will wrap up with beautiful navaratna jewelry designs for everyday wear.
Each of the nine celestial Gods correspond to the Earth’s sun, moon, five planets and two “nodes.” Together they form the Hindu universe. It is believed that the nine planets and their corresponding deities have an influence on humans and their destiny. The nine celestial Gods are Sun (Surya), Moon (Chandra), Mercury (Budha), Venus (Shukra), Saturn (Shani), Mars (Mangala), Jupiter (Brhaspati), Ascending Node, or Dragon’s Head (Rahu) and the Descending Node, or Dragon’s Tail (Ketu).
Navaratna – Nine Gemstones
In the old days, gemstones were used to prevent and cure illness and other evils. These gemstones were diamonds, pearls, ruby, sapphire, emerald, topaz, cat’s eye, coral and hyacinth or zircon. These nine gemstones are known as the navaratna. The word “ratna” refers to a precious stone. The nine gemstones are further divided into the great stones, Maharatani and and lesser stones, Uparatnani. This great stones have stayed the same over the course of human history but the lesser stones have varied over time. The table below show the oldest accounts of the gemstones forming the navaratna.
|Great Stones||Lesser Stones|
|Sapphire||Hyacinth or Zircon|
Basic Concepts of Hindu Astrology
In order to understand the relationship between the nine celestial gods and the gemstones, we first need to briefly discuss Hindu astrology. Of the nine planets of the Hindu universe, the Sun is considered the chief and ruler. As you may know, when sunlight passes through a prism, it forms spectrum of seven colors. The same phenomenon is believed to occur in the universe. Sunlight splits in seven cosmic rays.
It’s believed that each planet is a condensation of a colored cosmic ray. A planet in turn radiates the specific colored cosmic ray on Earth. The cosmic rays are penetrated and absorbed by matter on Earth including humans. The rays are diffused within our bodies and also radiate outward, known as the aura or prabha. The Moon (Chandra), Jupiter (Brhaspati) and Venus (Shukra) are beneficial to humans. Mercury (Budha) is lucky but can be unlucky. The remaining planets i.e. Sun (Surya), Mars (Mangala), Saturn (Shani), Ascending Node (Rahu) and Descending Node (Ketu) are harmful and unlucky.
Also during certain times of the year, the spatial orientation of the different planets can be harmful and evil. However, the ills effects can be averted. Unlucky planets and their corresponding deities are offered flowers, plants, grains, or burnt offerings to prevent illness and achieve prosperity. Every year information about the planets and their spatial orientation is published in a Hindu almanac. When a Hindu child is born, the orientation of the planets is recorded. It is believed that the orientation of planets determines the child’s future.
Relationship Between Navagraha and Navaratna
Now that you have the basic understanding of the nine planets, nine celestial gods and nine gemstones, let’s tie it all together. According to a myth, the demon Bala wanted to go to heaven and conquer God Indra. The celestial gods suggested to Bala that he sacrifice himself. Bala agreed and the gods dismantled his body. Bala’s body parts transformed into gemstones. The table below highlights Bala’s body parts and the gemstones in which they transformed.
|Bala – The Demon’s Body Part||Gemstone|
|Finger Nail’s||Cat’s Eye|
|Semen||Bhisma, an unspecified stone|
Since there were nine gods, each of them held a gemstone. This is how the gemstones came to associated with a celestial gods. The gemstones store in them the cosmic rays which are discharged forever. The stored energy in each gemstone is continuously renewed by emission from the corresponding planet. The nine gemstones as a whole possess magical powers that influence the wearer.
Symbolic Arrangement of the Gemstones
As we’ve discussed so far, the nine celestial gods, each representing a planet in the Hindu universe, holds a distinct gemstone. Now we’ll spend sometime understanding the arrangement of the nine gemstones in jewelry. Hindu’s worship the Sun (Surya), the chief and ruler. Therefore the ruby gemstone, associated with the Sun, is in the center. The ruby is surrounded by other gemstones. The graphic below shows the exact arrangement of the gemstones in navaratna jewelry along with their corresponding deities. You’ll notice the Sun-ruby is in the center.
Now let’s discuss the practical use of these nine gemstones in jewelry. Navaratna jewelry includes rings, pendants, armbands, earrings, choker neckbands, necklaces, bangles and bracelets. The nine gemstones are arranged in the square form. However, you can opt for circular or linear arrangements of the nine gemstones. It’s important to note that the Sun-ruby is always in the center.
For linear patterns, the center Sun-ruby is flanked by four gems on each side. The nine gemstone pattern can be repeated multiple times for longer pieces of jewelry such as necklaces. You can also use diamonds, turquoises or pearls as fillers for more elaborate pieces.
Irrespective of the style or size of the jewelry, you must ensure that all nine gemstones are equal in size, giving equal importance to the nine celestial gods. However it is possible that the sun-ruby is the largest of all stones.
Benefits of the Navaratna Jewelry
So far you’ve learned the arrangement of the nine gods, navagraha and their associated nine gemstones, navaratna in totality represents the Hindu universe. Each celestial god controls a particular direction in the universe. This analogy extends to the nine gemstones. The gods descend into the gemstone to protect the wearer. The associated gemstone in turn controls a the direction of the wearer’s life. Below are the potential benefits of navaratna jewelry, which includes bracelets, rings, and necklaces.
- Protects the person from evil influence from all directions
- Promotes prosperity, longevity and success
- Treats and heals illness
Navaratna Jewelry Designs, Gemstone Quality and Price:
When buying navaratna jewelry, there are three things you need to pay attention to.
When it comes to Navaratna jewelry, you want to ensure the nine gemstones are arranged correctly. The Sun-ruby is in the center and flanked by the remaining eight gemstones placed correctly in relation to each other. In the 21st century many men and women wear western clothes on a daily basis. Therefore it becomes important to choose designs that won’t fall out place with everyday outfits. If you find yourself wearing traditional Indian clothes on a regular basis, traditional designs will lend well. But if you are looking for something more modern and stylish, pay attention to the design of the navratna jewelry piece.
To get maximum effect of navaratna jewelry, opt for flawless or near flawless, natural gemstones. Today many jewelers carry semi-precious or glass-filled “gemstones.” However, since these are not the real stones, you might not find the desired effect. In some cases, the wearer might even experience negative effects.
Real, natural gemstones cost more than semi-precious or glass-filled “gemstones.” However you do have the option of selecting a design with small-sized natural gems. The smaller stone size will not necessarily compromise the effect of the stone on the wearer. As a bonus, smaller stones can cost significantly less, if price is of concern. It’s more important to have a real gem versus something manufactured by artificially in the laboratory or factory.
The key takeaway here is you want to ensure the navaratna design matches your personal style and use, the gemstones are high quality and natural and jewelry piece is within your budget.
In this post, together we’ve covered:
- Overview of navagraha, nine celestial gods and navaratna, nine gemstones
- Basic concepts of Hindu astrology
- Relationship between the navagrahas and navaratna
- The symbolic arrangement of the gemstones
- The benefits of the navaratna jewelry
- Navaranta jewelry designs, gemstone quality and price
With this information, you are now equipped to make an educated decision on your navaratna jewelry purchase. Was this post helpful? Leave me a comment below. Your comments are super-valuable as it helps me create content that this beneficial to you and others.
Content Source: Traditional Jewelry of India by Oppi Untracht