The History of Gem Therapy and Planetary Gemmology
by Howard Beckman, GIA, PG
Modern science recognises the potencies of gems in their technological uses, such as the use of crystals in watches, computers, and lasers. However, their subtle uses to cure disease, balance human emotions and infuse other potencies to the wearer are not recognised by western science and medicine. Thorough study of this subject has shown that the Vedic uses of gemstones in astrology and medicine have been proven by the experiences of countless people, both in ancient and modern times. The science of planetary gemmology is used as a most effective healing tool within the eastern, or sidereal, system of astrology. Over a billion people throughout Asia and the world take advantage of this system to counteract imbalances throughout their lives, whether they be physical, mental, or spiritual.
In the histories of the Indian (of India), the Greek, Egyptian, as well as the Jewish cultures, gems were valued for their abilities to heal and also to enhance the lives of the wearers. Our Western system of birthstones traces its origin to the Breastplate of the High Priest, also known as the Breastplate of Aaron. In the Bible, Moses gave specific rules governing the "Breastplate of Judgement" which was set with 12 gems. Each gemstone was engraved with a name of one of the tribes of Israel. Through archaeological research and excavations we find that man has always collected gemstones and had some knowledge of their uses and potencies. There is evidence of systematic mining in Egypt over 7,000 years ago, as well as in the Oxus Valley of Afghanistan.
However, no other culture had such extensive knowledge of the use of gems as did the ancient Indians in their scriptures. The Vedas contain the most complete storehouse of knowledge of gems, their description, potencies and prescriptions for effective usage. The instructions on their uses and prescriptions are found especially in the texts of the "Jyotish" and the "Guruda Purana." They give detailed descriptions of the uses of gemstones as remedial measures to counter imbalances in an astrological horoscope by the wearing of gems on the body, as well as the uses of gems in preparing elixirs and medicines to be taken internally. Kings and queens wore gems on their crowns originally for the occult powers they imparted, rather than as a show of personal wealth. Gemstones were used as a basis for directing the subtle forces of nature, to increase the wearer's powers and abilities to achieve desired goals. Such desires included wealth, influence and popularity, preventing physical disease and averting disasters.
Gems were said by the ancient rishis and seers to be able to avert negative influences of planets and to increase positive ones. The colours and vibrations of specific gemstones directly correspond to the colours and vibrations of various planets in our solar system. Everything in the universe is influenced by and sensitive to colour. The degree of influence they have on people is dependent upon the particular colours' emanations and absorption rate. The gems create their effect by both the absorption and reflections of the vibratory rays. They are extremely sensitive and contain radioactive crystals which can increase the cosmic rays received by the planets. When worn as rings or pendants they actually create an electromagnetic field around the person, but just as electricity works differently according to the particular equipment it is used to run, these rays work differently in different bodily constitutions.
Energy is the composition of the elements of nature as vibrational rays and wavelengths. When gemstone therapy is utilised the gems pick up and transmit a specific wavelength to the body. The body in turn transforms these rays into chemicals and elemental particles it can use to better function both on the physical and emotional levels. The different planets and their gemstones will be discussed at length in this section. The gems are incredible repositories of their cosmic powers and their force is always positive. However, care must be taken that the correct gemstones are worn. Gems should be recommended by a qualified vedic astrologer, tantric, or ayurvedic practitioner as their effects are powerful and can cause detriment if incorrectly applied.
The Curative and Spiritual Powers of Gemstones
In the same way as medicines cure a disease by cumulative vibrational qualities, gemstones can counteract afflictions caused by the negative planetary effects. There are also medicines made from gems' ashes (bhasmas) and powders (pisthis) which have been used to cure disease by taking internally. The results have been astounding and referred to as "the ancient editions of modern isotopes".
There is also a method of placing a high-quality gem in a solution of diluted alcohol and placed in darkness for approximately 7 days, which allows the vibratory force of the gem to permeate the alcohol solution. This solution is then used as medicine. The gemstone loses no potency so this medicine may be made again and again with the same gem.
Another process is to place a gem in water in a glass jar in the sunlight. This will allow the water to absorb this vibratory force, helped by the rays of the sun. A qualified ayurvedic doctor can mix different gem waters or tinctures for use by patients. Furthermore, there are hidden potencies of another nature within gemstones. Such potencies may be unlocked by clairvoyants to see into other realms and to increase spiritual growth of the "higher self". In readings by the well-known clairvoyant "Edgar Cayce" he was adamant about the efficacy of gemstones for physical, mental, or spiritual benefits. He also stated that gems will not affect all people the same way and, therefore, a qualified person must make the diagnosis for application of a gem.
The human body is made up of the seven colours of the rainbow. Whenever there is a lacking within the body of any of these colours disease becomes evident. These colours are stored within gemstones in great abundance and are never depleted or used up, even after many years.
Once a person receives a recommendation for wearing a particular gemstone it can be purchased from a dealer of gemstones or a jeweller. It should be noted that the gems must be of natural origin and must not have been treated with heat or irradiation in a laboratory. Such treatments are widely used in the industry to improve the colour or clarity of stones, thus making them more saleable. Although this may make a usually less attractive stone more pleasing to the eye, it effectively negates the stone's inherent energies, rendering it useless for therapeutic applications.
Almost all rubies and sapphires are "cooked", as it is called in the trade, together with most topaz, members of the quartz family, such as amethyst and citrine, spinels, garnets, tourmaline, peridot and a host of other gemstones. This practice has been going on for a long time and the "gem treaters" have become so advanced in their work that it is very difficult to discern. There is no loss in value, indeed the monetary value is generally increased by improving the gemstone's visual qualities.
Natural gems are getting rarer and it's important that the buyer looking for a "healing gemstone" either be an expert gemologist, or know the person they are buying from, including their qualifications to examine gems for treatment.
"Synthetic gems" (man-made under laboratory- controlled conditions) are useless for gem therapy Synthetic or natural gems that have been heat-treated may have some therapeutic value in regards to colour therapy, but just as much benefit could be obtained by wearing coloured glass, so why spend money on a gemstone for this purpose? Coloured lights and clothing would be just as effective from a viewpoint of colour therapy Gemstone therapy has power and influence over the body and mind far beyond this.
I have been in and around this business all my life and, as a qualified gemologist, know that even most jewellers and dealers cannot easily tell the difference. In actuality most really don't care either way, as they look at gems as a business for adornment or fashion, not as tools to effect healing. In our family we go to great lengths to obtain natural, untreated gemstones and must travel the globe in search of them.
Another treatment which is used, mainly with emeralds, is oiling the stones. Each gemstone species has what we call in gemological terms R.I., or refractive index. This is a scale used in an instrument called a "refractometer" which measures the angles at which light bends in various gemstones. In a gem which generally has many fractures or other imperfections (such as emeralds do), if an oil can be used to "fill" the fissures which has the same refractive index as the gemstone itself, the imperfections become almost invisible. When light hits the imperfections in the gem it bends at another angle, but if the cracks are filled with an oil (such as cedar oil or balsa oil which have almost the same refractive index as emerald), then the light will not change its course and the crack will not be seen. Eventually this oil seeps out of the stone and the stone will show the imperfections.
There are also less sophisticated treatments such as wax or plastic impregnation. These are to improve the appearance of the gemstone, generally used with stones cut in the domed or "cabachon" style, such as coral and turquoise.
As you can see it is important to purchase from a reputable person, as well as get the recommendation from a knowledgeable practitioner. I have had the experience that many astrologers recommend gems to clients, and also obtain them, yet do not have the gemological knowledge or experience to know how to examine the stone. As a result they may, inadvertently, cheat their own clients, as they are being cheated by unknowledgeable or unprincipled dealers.
I have personally had the unenviable position of having to inform a person that their gem is not what its supposed to be when brought to me for gemological evaluation. Many times I've seen people who have bought gems in "source" countries and, not only was the stone either treated or a completely different gem than was purported, but it was of a quality so poor that it would cause harmful effects.
Gems are extremely powerful, as I've repeatedly stated and low quality stones can cause an opposite effect to that desired. Gemstones should always be "beautiful". This is their prime attribute. If a stone looks unattractive you can be sure it's not suitable for therapeutic purposes. If you cannot afford the high price of a good quality ruby, then it is much better to get a good quality rubellite (red tourmaline) or red garnet. However, the size would need to be somewhat larger in the substitute stones to compensate. The same goes for all gems. Choose fine quality in a substitute gemstone (generally referred to as "semi-precious") rather than a low quality primary gemstone.
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