02 Oct Diamond Mining Invented in India
Diamonds were first mined in India. Huge deposits of diamonds were found in Central India and it gradually developed as a precious stone. India till the 18th century was the only country where diamonds were found and were later on exported to other countries.
Various ancient books have mentioned the use of diamond as a tool and have also mentioned the exquisiteness of this sparkling stone.
The earliest known reference to diamond is a Sanskrit manuscript, dated from 320-296 B.C., but Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years but most likely 6,000 years.
The words used for diamonds in Sanskrit are “Vajara,” meaning “thunderbolt” which was the weapon of Lord Indra (god of rain and thunderstorms), which reveals much about the spiritual properties attributed in ancient India to diamonds.
Indians were well aware of the physical properties of diamond-like its durability, ability to cut other hard surfaces, sparkling effect, and the refractive property. Various ancient books have mentioned the use of diamond as a tool and have also mentioned the exquisiteness of this sparkling stone.
“Diamonds were first recognized and mined in central India where significant alluvial deposits of the stone could then be found along the rivers Penner, Krishna and Godavari. It is unclear when diamonds were first mined in India, although estimated to be at least 5,000 years ago,” says Wikipedia.
In 600 B.C. the Mahajanapada Empire had its own units of currency, and it’s own units of measurement for diamonds. The ancient Indians used a Tandula as a unit of measure, which was equivalent to the weight of a grain of rice. Their currency was called the Rupaka, and according to a price list written in Sanskrit in the Third century, a diamond that weighed 20 Tandulas was worth 200,000 Rupaka.
In the fourth century B.C., the rules for the assessment of precious stones, the Ratna Pariksa was codified. Ratna Praiksha—an ancient science on testing gemstones—was used by Kosadhyaksha (Superintendent of Treasury) in order to control business of pearl, diamonds and all important gems in the ancient times.
It was mentioned in Arthasastra (“The Lesson of Profit”) by Kautiliya (also known as Chanakya), a minister to Chandragupta of the Mauryan dynasty in northern India. This manuscript is dated to 320-296 BCE.
India remained the world’s only source of diamonds until the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in the 18th century. Golconda served as an important centre for diamonds in central India.
Diamonds then were exported to other parts of the world, including Europe. Early references to diamonds in India come from Sanskrit texts.
The Arthashastra of Kautilya mentions diamond trade in India.Buddhist works dating from the 4th century BCE mention it as a well-known and precious stone but don’t mention the details of diamond cutting.
Another Indian description written at the beginning of the 3rd century describes strength, regularity, brilliance, ability to scratch metals, and good refractive properties as the desirable qualities of a diamond. A Chinese work from the 3rd century BCE mentions: “Foreigners wear it [diamond] in the belief that it can ward off evil influences”. The Chinese, who did not find diamonds in their country, initially used diamonds as a “jade cutting knife” instead of as a jewel.
By Prachodayat Team