Gemstones have long been associated with the nine planets and are believed to have therapeutic powers that shape our destiny by bestowing health, success, energy, warding off adverse influences and more. No wonder then, sales of astrological gems have been flourishing during the pandemic.
Culturally, the purchase of an astrological gemstone to change one’s circumstance, luck or destiny has traditionally been a large part of Indian culture. This sentimental belief has been a huge force, driving sales of astrological gems not just in the country, but in other Asian jewellery markets such as Thailand, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka.
Ever since India went into one of the world’s most rigid lockdowns in March 2020, the sales of astrological gems have witnessed a sharp spike. Despite pay cuts, job uncertainty and fiscal losses, many Indians still found it crucial to dip into their savings, to invest in a birthstone or Vedic gem.
“During the last two years of the pandemic, we have seen a huge jump in sales for Ruby or Maanik, Emerald or Panna, Blue and Yellow Sapphire or Pukhraj, all of which come with robust health benefits. Additionally, Diamonds are purchased often for the purpose of astrological intervention,” observes Dr. Saurabh Gadgil, Chairman of PNG Jewellers.
“The ideal size for these gemstones to be effective would be anywhere between 3 carat and 7 carats, as prescribed by the family astrologer or pundit,” notes Vaibhav Dhadda, the proprietor of Jaipur Jewels. “Furthermore, these gems are always set as finger rings that have an open back, letting the gem come in direct contact with the skin. There are other astrological nuances: for example, emeralds are always set in gold and worn on the little finger, pearls are always embedded in silver, and so on…” he elaborates.
Sales figures revealed increasing demand for healing crystals and gemstones. In April 2021, India imported gems and jewellery worth $2.19 billion. While this trend is speculative considering we may be nearing the endemic phase of this health crisis, it is still estimated to have exponential growth in the near future.
Matter Of Faith
What logic explains this buying rationale? “During times of distress, struggle and hardships, there is a larger inclination amongst the common man to lean towards a higher energy, or power. During this time people always tend to cling on to support of whatever higher energy they believe in. In this regard, we have seen that astrology plays a very important part to impart hope, and sometimes sense a direction. People want to know what is going wrong with their lives, what is it that they can do, how they can change things,” Gadgil explains.
Dhadda accurately notes that other than questioning our own mortality—the pandemic has also contributed to matrimonial delays, fertility issues, a decrease in young student’s academic performance—dilemmas that traditionally made us turn towards ‘gem fixes’ in any case. The pandemic has only cemented the already existing belief system.
At a time when the public should be relying on vaccination drives and medical interventions to combat a mutating virus, why do people turn to astrology and gemstones instead?
“Well, it is a personal belief and a matter of faith,” Dhadda says, “Several of my clients approaching me to buy an astrological gemstone are doctors,” he laughs!