Brihat Samhita

by N. Chidambaram Iyer | 1884 | 135,584 words | ISBN-13: 9788171104215

This page describes emeralds (marakata-lakshana) which is the eighty-third Chapter of the English translation of the Brihat-samhita. This work, written by Varahamihira in the 6th century, is classified as jyotisha literature, also known as Indian astronomy. It contains however, also content regarding astrology, palmistry, agriculture, gardening, perfumes, medicines and various other encyclopedic topics.

Chapter 83 - On Emeralds (marakata-lakṣaṇa)

1. Emeralds (marakata) of the colour of the parrot, the leaves of the bamboo, the bark of the plantain and the flower of Śirīṣa, and of good quality will conduce to prosperity if they are worn by men on occasions of worship of the Devas and the Pitṛs.


Emeralds are to be valued in the same way as rubies. According to Buddhabhaṭṭa. the five chief gems are diamonds, pearls, rubies, emeralds (marakata) and sapphires. Sapphires must be examined in the same way as rubies. Mahānīla is a gem which when put into milk turns it blue. The price of a ruby weighing a Māṣa is the price of a sapphire weighing a Svarṇa.{GL_NOTE::}

Svarṇa = 1 Karṣa = 16 Māṣas = 80 Raktikas =[?] about 175 grains Troy.

Vaidūrya (the cat’s eye gem) is of the colour of the tail of the peacock, the leaves of the bamboo or the wing of the king-fisher. It is to be valued in the same way as sapphires.

Karkeṭana gems are bright, glossy, pure, yellow and heavy. The usual test of its superiority is to cover the stone with gold leaf and put it in fire. The gem will become black but will not lose its gloss. The whole Earth might be given for this gem.

Crystal gems are while like the stem of the lotus or the conch-shell.

Corals are glossy, pure and red. The wearer will become wealthy and will be freed from poison.

Rudhirakṣa gems are green in the middle, white all round, as bright as sapphire, of the shape of the fruit of the Pīlu tree (Carea arborea). It will make the wearer wealthy and well-served. For further particulars regarding gems, the reader is referred to the works of Buddhabhaṭṭa.