Navaratna Rings, Gemstones ,Jewelry ,News

This article is reproduced with kind permission from the National Gem and Jewellery Authority.

There are three main ways in which gems can be used -firstly as body ornaments, or to show rank and status and secondly, as a symbol of wealth.Thirdly- depending on ones superstitious beliefs -to bring blessings and good fortune ; to ward off evil and even to cure certain illnesses and diseases.

Navaratna, literally a sanscrict compound word meaning Nine Gems is a talisman or accessory set with Nine Gemstones.

From ancient times most of the people in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world believed that  gemstones influenced their lives in a number of ways. Accordingly people could achieve success and gain good health by wearing an appropriate stone in a piece of jewelry.

In India a man of outstanding qualities is called Purusha Ratna(Gem of a Man) and woman of outstanding qualities is called Sthree Ratna(Gem of a Woman). The highest award given by the Indian Government to its citizens in recognition of their services to the nation is called Bharata Ratna (Gem of India). In India Navaratna is known as Maharatna or Divine Gem Stones.

Navaratna Setting System an Introduction

Navaratna setting system, an introduction

Navaratna was a term applied to a group of nine extraordinary people in the Royal Court in India. During the reign of Wickramadhitya among the most notable of nine such person was Kalidasa . Others included Waraha Mihira who was greatly honored by the King  for his learning and accurate predictions.

Superstitions linked to gems have been common in Thailand since the Ayutthaya period and some have this  belief even today.Among the most common superstitions  is that nine different coloured gems are a blessing. A symbol of this belief was the sash of Nine Gems-a royal decoration used to hold the reigning monarchs sword. It was believed that this sash would bring victory to the wearer in battle. The sash is also worn by the King as a decoration of rank at the time of coronation .Since days long past Thais, Indians, and Sinhalese have used the nine gems to invoke blessings and good fortune. It is beleived that these precious stones can bring blessings to the wearer and protect him/her from all danger such as fire, harm from weapons, enemies, poisonous animals, and insects. Besides these gems can bring success in Business and Agriculture , give charm to the wearer and attract followers . When the nine gems are combined , they give the owner power and influence .

Navaratna Gemstones

Navaratna Gemstones

In Indian Astrology a number of factors are taken into consideration and the horoscope has to be drawn up according to planetary positions and their influence during various periods of life .The gems that a person should wear is decided based on these predictions.In astrology the nine planets have been assigned nine different gemstones . The rationale of the use of gem stones to avert evil effects of planets depends on a planet’s colours and vibrations. The colour of the planet is reflected on the human body through the gem . The absorption and reflection of the rays and vibrations has an effect on the wearer . The gem acts as a filter and produces good or evil effect depending on the physical requirements . If a planet emanating a ray the vibration of which is harmful to the person it is counteracted by the ray that the gem absorbs. The evil effect is thus neutralized . The correct stone deflects the maletic rays allowing beneficial rays to enter the body.

Thais use Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, Topaz or Yellow Sapphire, Garnet, Blue Sapphire, Pearl or Moonstone , Zircon and Cat’s Eye (Chrysoberyl) as nine stones. In India the Navaratna stones are Ruby, Diamond, Pearl, Red Corel, Hessonite Garnet, Blue Sapphire, Cats Eye, Yellow Sapphire and Emerald. In Sri Lanka the following gems are used: Pearl, Yellow Sapphire, Ruby, White Sapphire, Blue Sapphire, Tourmaline, Hessonite Garnet, Pathmaraga and Cats Eye.

Navaratna Ring worn for astrological purposes

Ring set with nine Navaratna Gemstones

Today these nine gems are are popular not only in Asia but also in Europe . Apart from the use of these nine gems in making jewelry such as rings, pendants, bracelets and belts they are also used in Royal Households to decorate utensils. In Thailand they are quite often wrapped in a piece of white cloth or tri-coloured cloth of red, yellow and blue and buried beneath the central pillar of the house. Whereas the wealthy use a diamond to represent white gems the less wealthy use a white zircon or a white sapphire. Navaratna is also seen in the foundation of Hindu Temples.

The solar system comprises the Sun and all the celestial bodies that revolve around it. Each of the nine planets around the sun supposedly have an influence throughout an individuals course of life . Hence it is believed that wearing these nine gems is beneficial to an individual.


Sun      | Ruby

Moon    | Natural Pearl

Mars     | Red Corel

Mercury | Emerald

Jupiter   | Yellow Sapphire/ Topaz

Venus    | Diamond

Saturn   | Blue Sapphire

Rahu     | Hessonite Garnet

Ketu     | Cats Eye

According to Indian Astrology , one of the more common setting has the ‘Ruby’ representing the Sun in the center. Ruby is said to give name, fame and power to its user. Diamond representing Venus is in the East. It is said that a person who wears a diamond leads a luxurious life. Diamond is also supposed to enhance the name, fame and artistic talents of the wearer . Blue sapphire representing Saturn is in the west . Blue sapphire removes evil effects of Saturn . It is said that this stone has magical power to eleviate its user to a higher status . Cat’s eye representing Ketu is in the North, this protects its wearer from hidden enemies , mysterious dangers and diseases. Coral representing Mars is in the South. It is said that Red Coral instills courage . It also helps to cure blood related diseases. Emerald representing mercury is in the North East. Emerald improves faculties related to the brain such as communication, intellect and ability to learn . Hessonite garnet representing Rahu is in the South West. The shadow planet Rahu is supposed to be responsible for all sorts of delays or very late fulfillment of ambitions . This stone improves relations with people and protects the wearer from sudden misfortunes . Yellow sapphire representing Jupiter is in the North . This stone is one of the most widely used gems that help achieve better financial status . It improves vision, gives life security and protects a person from poverty and misfortune.

Ring set with nine Navaratna Gemstones

Stones used for astrological reasons may have some natural inclusions , but all these stones should be transparent, translucent and flawless.

Wearing Navaratna depends on three factors ,purity of the stone is very important to transmit the vibrations to the wearer . It is believed that gemstones with cracks will block the path of the light or the rays.. These gems should be natural without any treatment. Larger stones are recommended to convey the ,maximum benefit to the wearer . The will power and the belief of the wearer are also important .

According to the Vedic Sanskrit Authority only pure top quality gems  are considered to be desirable. Sri Agni Puranam Chap:246 states “A gem free from all impurities and radiating its characteristic internal luster should be looked upon as an escort of good luck . A gem which is cracked and devoid of luster or appearing rough or sandy should not be used at all.

Sri Garuda Purana chapter 70 states that ” if anyone wears a gem with many flaws out of ignorance , then, grief, anxiety, sickness, death, loss of wealth and other evils torment them.”

Physical Properties of the Nine Gems


Out of the nine, five stones namely Ruby, Blue Sapphire, Pathmaraga, White Sapphire and Yellow Sapphire belong to the Corundum family.

Crystal system: Trigonal

Refractive index:1.759-1.760

Hardness: 9.0

Chemical composition: Aluminium Oxide

Density 3.98

Name derived from Sanskrit, “Kuruvinda”. Corundum is a crystalline form of Aluminium Oxide .It has different colours when impurities are present. Transparent specimens are used as gems , called Ruby if red, Padmaraga if pinkish  orange while all other colours are called sapphires, usually with the colour specified as a prefix to the word sapphire for example Yellow Sapphire.

Pure corundum is colourless often called white sapphire. Chromic oxide  causes brilliant red , thereby producing rubies. Ferric oxide causes yellow colouration , titanium oxide produces vivid-blue. Some corundum in Sri Lanka have patchy colours and colour bands . Sri Lankan corundum typically carries zircon crystals as inclusions known as ‘zircon haloes’.


Hardness: 2.5-4.5

Chemical composition: calcium carbonate.

Natural Pearls are organic gems formed in bodies of certain salt water and fresh water Mollusks . They are made up of mostly fine platy crystalline layers called Nacre causing the distinctive pearly luster . Appearance is translucent to opaque . Body colour is white or cream, pink green black and blue colours are also available . The cause of colour is due to the interference of light reflected off platy crystal layers in nacre. Identification characteristics are gritty to cutting edges of teeth. Most imitations are smooth. There are cultured pearls. There are also glass and plastic imitations in the market.

The shapes of pearls are categorized as round, pear shaped, egg shaped and drop shaped.

Hessonite Garnet

Crystal System: Cubic

Refractive Index: 1.740

Hardness 7.25

Specific Gravity: 3.5-3.7

Chemical Composition: Calcium Aluminium Silicate.

It is a variety of grosular garnet

The colour of hessonite is like the colour of honey shining under a ray of light. The colour is due to the presence of Manganese. This gem contains inclusions which look like scattered island of flat bubbles . The best hessonite garnets are found in Sri Lanka, as the Spessartite too, occurs in deep goden yellow and yellow brown colours ,these could be mistaken for hessonite.


Crystal system: Trigonal

R.I : 1.624-1.644

Hardness: 7.5

S.G: 3.5

Chemical Composition: A complex Borosilicate of Aluminium

It exhibits more range of colours than any other mineral . It has colours such as red, blue ,yellow, pink, black and green. Green is from Iron ,Chromium and Vanadium. Pink is from Manganese. Its original- Sinhala name is Thora- malli. Mal is the Sinhalese term for flower . Thora is the name of a plant .Tourmaline is a pyroelectric mineral , meaning when warmed it attracts dust and light weight particles.


Rubellite: Pink to red Tourmaline

Indicolite: Light to dark Tourmaline

Dravite: Brown Tourmaline

Anchorite: Colourless Tourmaline

Schorl: Black Tourmaline

Water melon Tourmaline: Tourmaline with red center surrounded by a green layer.

Verdelite: Name rarely used to describe green tourmaline.

Sybarite: Purple variety.

Paraiba Tourmaline: Neon blue variety

Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye

Crystal system: Orthorhombic

R.I : 1.746-1.755

Hardness: 8.5

S.G 3.5-3.8

Chemical composition: Berryllium Aluminium Oxide

Ordinary chrysoberyl is a yellowish green , transparent to translucent. In Sri Lanka chrysoberyls are found as water worn pebbles. Cymophane is popularly known as cat’ eye. This variety exhibits a pleasing chatoyant effect that reminds one of an eye of a cat. When cut to produce a cabochon the mineral forms a light green specimen with a silky band of light extending across the surface of the stone . Chatoyancy , like Asterism is a reflection effect brought about by the stone inclusions . Some common colours in which cat’s eye occurs are milky white to grey, bluish or greenish white and apple green and greenish orange.

A Gemstone

By Professor Cornelius S. Hurlbut

A Gemstone is a lovely Thing
It gleams and sparkles in a ring
And makes a wondrous sight
By playing magic with the light

It makes one proud to wear
A flashing diamond solitaire
Or garnet with subtle hue
Or emerald green or sapphire blue

But would it not mean more to you
To learn why it is green or blue
And make you very pleased to know
The reason why it sparkles so?

I think it would mean even more
To know its history and lore
And was it part of natures plan
Or from a furnace ,made by man

Achieving US$ 1 Billion Export Revenue in 2010

By Chanaka Ellawala

Chairman – Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Association

In 2007 the government put in to place a progressive policy and regulatory framework to develop the industry and thereby creating the necessary platform for rapid growth . Several strategies need to be implemented to launch the industry from this platform on to a path of rapid growth.

Gem and Jewellery Exports Anually from 2002 to 2006

It is the goal of the industry and the expectation of the government to accelerate export growth to achieve 3 main objectives, which are to achieve an annual growth rate of over 20% over the next several years, to surpass annual export revenue of US$1Billion by 2010 while increasing the share of value added exports, particularly jewellery exports.

Forecasted Export Share of the Jewellery Industry in 2010

During the 5 year period from 2002 to 2006 the industry registered an average annual growth rate of 13% and assuming that rate is maintained the industry is forecasted to reach US$1 Billion in 2013.

The Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association has identified several strategies to increase the growth of gem exports from 14% to 45% and jewellery exports from 23% to 40% while maintaining the growth of diamond exports at the current rate of 12%.

Increasing the supply of gemstones, building manufacturing capacity in lapidary and jewellery manufacture and implementing a concrete marketing effort are the main strategic directions that are required to achieve the target . It is also imperative that the issues of financing and human resource development are addressed substantially to meet the state objectives .

Supply Development Strategy

The aim of the supply side strategy is to increase the supply of gemstone raw materials available to the industry which would lead to an increase in the volume of goods exported.

Increasing the supply from domestic sources can be achieved by increasing the availability of state and plantation land for gemming, providing tax exemptions for gemming, carrying out a national gem deposit survey to identify new gem deposits and increase mining productivity through technological development.

The supply of imported raw materials could be increased by facilitating the free flow of imported raw materials by eliminating exchange control , import control and customs regulations at entry points , granting indirect exported status to gemstone importers, establishing a special purpose vehicle [SPV/ Consortium] with a revolving credit facility to finance the import of raw materials and negotiating bi-lateral gem trade agreements with other source countries.

Building Strategy for Manufacturing Capacity

Increasing the industry capability for value addition to local gemstone   raw materials is an important objective in the development of exports.

The manufacturing capacity building strategy aims to rapidly increase the capacity for cutting and polishing of gemstones and expanding jewellery manufacturing by the existing factories and by establishing new factories.

This could be achieved by redressing the financial constraints faced by investors in the industry, designating contract cutting, (re-export) as an export activity , increasing the supply of skilled personnel through delivery of high quality training , assisting local machinery manufacturers  to improve their products and expand their capacity.

The capacity building strategy could target investment from three investor groups namely, foreign investors from Europe (foreign direct investment) , existing domestic manufacturers (expansion) and gem exporters (forward integration)

Market Development Strategies

The demand side strategy is aimed at expanding the market for gems and jewellery from Sri Lanka and increasing the value (per carat price) of Sri Lanka gems in international markets.

Branding Strategy

Increasing the demand for and value of gems from Sri Lanka could be achieved by registering a geographical indication for Ceylon sapphire and rolling out a branding program to position Ceylon sapphire as a premium product and establishing an internationally accredited Laboratory to issue reports and certificates on gems to build buyer and consumer confidence.

Repositioning Strategy

The repositioning strategy aims to build the image and awareness in selected markets, of Sri Lanka as a major jewellery production center.

By organizing attractive national pavilions at major trade fairs in target markets  and launching an international media campaign targeting both the trade and consumers  in selected markets . Sri Lanka can be repositioned as a jewellery manufacturing hub.

Marketing and Promotion Strategy

To support the specific strategies aimed at accelerating export growth , it is also essential to undertake a focused approach to marketing and promotion of gems and jewellery from Sri Lanka , not only to grow sales in existing markets such as USA , Germany, UK, Japan, but to augment these with sales from new markets such as India, Russia and China.

Establishing the proposed Gem and Jewellery Trade Promotion Council , a public private partnership that will unify the industries marketing and promotion activities by carrying out these activities in a planned , organized and coordinated manner will maximize the impact of limited resource .

Developing FACETS SRI LANKA rapidly into a major international event is also important.


Substantial investment in fixed and working capital is required to achieve the forecasted growth . The lack of access to debit finance via the financial sector coupled with high rates of interest is a major constraint. Access to competitive financing can be facilitated by providing collateral support for fixed and working capital loans by establishing a credit guarantee fund, mitigate the financing cost by introducing an interest rebate scheme  and by permitting banks to grant precious metal loans (e.g. Gold Loans).

Human Resource Development

The shortage of skilled cutters and craftsmen is a major constraint that impedes the development of the industry . Around 1000 persons will have to be trained per annum in gem cutting, jewellery making and gemmology to meet the increased demand for trained/skilled personnel. Establishing an accredited school of excellence , offering a scholarship scheme for students who enroll in training programs and carrier prospects awareness programs are some of the actions that are required.

Rapid implementation of these proposed strategies to increase the global competitiveness of the industry could accelerate the current growth of 13% to 22% , which would lead to reaching $ 1 Billion by 2010.

Forecasted Total Exports from the Gem and Jewellery Industry

News in Brief

The National Gem and Jewellery Authority “NGJA” participated at the “Sri Lanka National Treasurer Exhibition ” organized by M/s Ryokusei Japan Company in Shizuka , Japan with the collaboration of Sri Lanka Embassy in Japan, from 21st to 23rd March 2008. The main objective of this event is to promote fine quality gems of Sri Lankan origin in Japan. The 393-carat Star of Lanka” and the 105-carat Cats eye “Ray of Treasurer” were displayed at the exhibition .The exhibition drew large crowds and the image of Sri Lanka as a leading producer of fine quality gems was further enhanced.

The Kimberly Process Workshop

The representatives from the NGJA attended the Kimberly process workshop held in March 2008

Sri Lanka : The Competitive Advantage

Sri Lanka possesses competitive advantages in South Asia in terms of :

  1. Location

  2. Investment Entry

  3. Fiscal Incentives

  4. Human resources and quality of life

  5. Duty free access to India, Pakistan and EU

Situated at the center point of major shipping routes to South Asia and Far East , Colombo is already a transshipment center and a hub port.

Sri Lanka hopes to leverage on its locational advantage by implementing a policy framework to position the country as a ‘services hub’ to the Indian Subcontinent . Based on this concept the main activities to be carried out over the next few years include:

  • Positioning Colombo as a regional hub for communications/IT/BPOs

  • Expansion of the port of Colombo as a center for transshipment

  • Expansion of the Colombo International Airport

  • Promotion of Colombo as a regional financial center

  • Construction of a new Airport in the South

Investment Entry

The Board of Investment (BOI) is the primary entry point for foreign investment into Sri Lanka. The procedures are simple and transparent, providing ease of entry.

Fiscal Incentives

The Sri Lankan Government offers a wide range of incentives for investors. Incentives are offered for export oriented manufacture and services, infrastructure, agriculture and for rural economic development and investors may be eligible for incentives provided by the BOI.

When an agreement is signed with the BOI, the incentives granted and commitments made , cannot be changed by successive governments.

Sri Lanka : The Opportunity

Did you know that Sri Lanka is:

The country closest to the most number of communication satellites (15No5) in the Indian Ocean.
Excellent for the IT/BPO Industry

The World’s No. 1 producer of solid rubber tires for off-road vehicles.
We produce the rubber as well

The country whose software runs the stock exchange in Malaysia, Croatia, Mauritius and even Boston.
We produce the development skills and knowledge

Home to Sir Arthur C Clarke , father of modern satellite communications and author of “2001-A Space Odyssey”.
Our Quality of life is excellent.

The World’s No 1 producer of quality Tea’s and host to the World’s largest Tea Auction.
Our tea gardens are the best in the world

The country that has produced the World’s largest Blue Sapphires.
Our range of gems is vast

The country in which “The Bridge over the River Kwai”, “India Jones Temple of the Doom”, ” Tarzan- Ape Man” and many others were filmed.
Our countryside is exquisitely beautiful

South- Asia’s No 1 in human development with literacy levels of 92% and a life expectancy of 72 years.
Our people are our greatest assets

South Asia’s No 1 transshipment hub.
We have been a trading post for centuries

One of the first countries in the world to introduce universal adult suffrage and produced the World’s first Woman Prime Minister.
We respect democracy

There are many more areas in which our country excels; The potential and opportunities are limitness.

The Bridge that brought fame to Sri Lanka

Fifty one years ago on December 18, 1957, was released a cinema classic that made Sri Lanka famous as an ideal movie location and boosted the island’s tourism image.

Scene from the film Bridge on the River Kwai Filmed in Sri Lanka

Today it is mainly the older generation of Kithulgala who cherish fond memories of the shooting of the Bridge on the River Kwai directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. Many have talked about the movie but only a few remember the making of it in Sri Lanka. The film was a Theatrical smash-it won seven academic awards and grossed 10 times its $3 Million cost .

In addition to the Hollywood team, four Sri Lankans figured prominently in the making of this cinemascope film .They were Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Abeydeva ,Willie Blake and Chris Greet.In addition to being an assistant cameraman in this Columbia Pictures Production, Willie Blake was also the chief cameraman of the documentary film made on the shooting of the Bridge on the River Kwai. Gamini Fonseka and Vijeya Abeydeva worked as assistant directors.

I had the priveledge of associating with the Gamini for over 25 years and also working under him when he was the Governor of the now demerged North-East Province.

“We as young men were extremely fortunate for having had the opportunity to work under directors like David Lean”. He used to say “One gets a better start in one’s film career by getting behind the camera rather that by getting in front of it.

Sri Lankan Chris Greet got a title billing in this cinemascope movie starring , William Holden ,Alec Guiness, and Jack Hawkins.

Some locals in Kitulgala gave up their job to work on the bridge. Everyone in the area was so thrilled and excited about it . They have never seen anything like that in their entire lives.They were engaged in the project for six months. Many Sri Lankans were recruited as extras for the film.

It was the first time in Sri Lanka that a film company bought an entire train and destroyed it. The train was one of those that ran on the then narrow gauge kelani valley line.The wooden bridge that spanned the Kelani river at Kalugotenne, Kitulgala was named after the actual steel and concrete bridge on the river Kwai in Thailand .Yet it was the Kitulgala bridge that brought the real Kwai Bridge back into the lime light .It revived painful memories of hundreds of those that died building the Burma-Siam Death Railway in world war II.

In fact there were two bridges built over the Kelany at Kalugotenne . One was built in order to film a scene which shows the bridge collapsing while under construction . While this was being built one worker was injured.

An Indian company undertook the contract to build the main bridge . The sub contract was given to a local firm . The villages in the vicinity who worked on the project earned nearly seven times more than what they were paid a day for tapping rubber trees.

However when the day came for the big blow up, the police chased the villagers away from the vicinity . The people could not comprehend why the bridge that was built at a massive cost ,was to be destroyed along with the train. As they watched from a safe distance. They saw the Japanese troop train passing the bridge twice , nothing happened. As it approached the middle of the bridge for the third time , a thundering explosion shook the area and broke the bridge in to two. The steam locomotive was the first to hit the water followed by the rest of the train.

The Real Bridge over the River Kwai, now a tourist attraction

The villagers were allowed to go to the spot only after an hour after the blast. The carriages which were in the water almost formed a bridge spanning the river . Young boys walked on the half sunk carriages , picking up khaki uniform dummies made of rubber. The dummies were Japanese soldiers being transported by train to the battle front in Burma.

The entire film was shot on location in Sri Lanka and the Mount Lavinia Hotel was among the places where filming was done. This country figured in the story itself , which was linked to actual events in World War II. [During the war the Mount Lavinia Hotel was a place of rest and recuperation for Allied troops and Kandy was the headquarters of the Supreme Commander South-East Asia , Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten.]

Writer-Producer Carl Foreman optioned French Novelist Pierre Boulle’s little known original novel “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and wrote a script which he sold to producer Sam Spiegel. Next Calder Willingham altered it and finally Michael Wilson put it into shape. Screen writer Robert Bolt also had a hand in it during the shooting here.

The story centers on a group of British Prisoners of War who built a bridge for the Japanese Army to move their troops across the river Kwai to the Burma front. One of the prisoners escape and returns to blow up the bridge on the very day it is opened for traffic.

According to a film critic Michael Sragow , writing in the Atlantic Monthly, this movie is “Far More ‘Real’ than any equivalent nineties blockbuster except  Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List”

A few years after the film was made , a forest restaurant in Pottenstein, Germany, built an exact replica of Kitulgala’s Kwai Bridge. The Minature bridge spanned the river Putleach where it was some 25 feet wide at Pottenstein it became the restaurant’s main attraction . When a button was pressed , a model Japanese Train passed over the bridge and a phonograph played a famous song whistled by the prisoners in the Japanese Camp on the River Kwai.

A real Japanese steam locomotive that used to pull troop-trains along the actual bridge over the River Kwai can be seen today at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

70 thoughts on “Navaratna Rings, Gemstones ,Jewelry ,News

  1. babu nair says: date of birth is 21.7.1968.time.6.45 AM. STAR.ROHINI. Can wear navarathna ring? if I can wear how ..what are the habits I should follow and avoid.please describe me clearly .

  2. babu nair says: date of birth is 21.7.1968.time.6.45 AM. STAR.ROHINI. Can wear navarathna ring? if I can wear how ..what are the habits I should follow and avoid.please describe me clearly .

  3. saji says:

    My date of birth is 12/11/1980. time 06:02 AM hrs
    place : kollam kerala ,INDIA

    Should I wear Navratna.
    pl quote reason also

  4. saji says:

    My date of birth is 12/11/1980. time 06:02 AM hrs
    place : kollam kerala ,INDIA

    Should I wear Navratna.
    pl quote reason also

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