Gemstones and India
India's history is full of gemstones, riches and tremendous wealth. Rumors of India's wealth traveled around the world, and stories of flourishing treasures lured visitors from afar, both invited and uninvited. India's land and resources were so vast that the nation was often referred to as the Golden Bird, with much of their wealth and fame generated from the mining of natural gemstone deposits located throughout India. Since before recorded history, India has been a leading source for precious gems, producing some of the finest gemstones we see on the market today. It has even been said that India may have been the original gemstone source to begin with, though this broad assumption has yet to be proven.
Tamil Nadu is one of India's 28 remarkable states. Covering over 50,000 sq miles, it is the 11th largest state and as of 2012, Tamil Nadu had the 2nd largest state economy in India.
Tamil Nadu intersects with India's infamous gemstone belt, which traverses Eastern and Southern India. Tamil Nadu is home to several large districts and industrial cities, all of which play major economic roles; some of these grand cities are sources for many of the world's finest gems. Gem traders and explorers have long been intrigued with India's numerous gemstone deposits scattered throughout Tamil Nadu.
For centuries now, mining has been a flourishing business in Tamil Nadu and still to this day, Tamil Nadu's gems are being sold, traded and worn all over the world. Not too long ago, a 9.7 kilogram aquamarine mined from Tamil Nadu was sold by Indian entrepreneur, K.C. Pandey, for an astonishing 250,000 Euros to a private museum.
City of Karur
The city of Karur is located within the state of Tamil Nadu and is the main city of Karur District. Karur is one of the oldest cities in Tamil Nadu with a recorded history stretching back over 2000 years. Hindu mythology suggests that Brahma began the process of creation in Karur, which is often referred to as the "Place of the Sacred Cow".
In 1874, Karur overcame British rule and gained its municipality. Over the years, Karur's stance and ranking as a municipality elevated until finally in 1988, Karur earned its title as a special grade municipality. The city of Karur is quite well known for its production of textiles such as linens and wall hangings. What many have now forgotten is that the city of Karur is also a successful exporter of some of the world's finest gemstones.
Karur is known to produce great quality sapphire, moonstone, amethyst, jasper, beryl and aquamarine. The rich gemstone history of Karur was unraveled when archaeologists unearthed ancient gemstone jewelry that was over 2000 years old. It was later revealed that the gemstones embedded in the jewelry were native to the local mines of India.
Karur was an abundant center for trading and has been since the Sangam period. It is even speculated that Karur may possibly have been the world's center for jewelry-making and gem-setting, with the gems being sourced locally and the gold being imported from nearby Rome.
In 2001, the Geological Survey of India provided a summary of gemstones native to Karur and a brief synopsis of the geological conditions in which they were found. In the Karur district, abundant supplies of sapphire, ruby, sillimanite cat's eye, aquamarine, moonstone and garnet were some of the different varieties detailed in their report. All of the gemstone mining territories were dispersed along the granitic terrain of Karur and all the deposits had high grade metapelites and pegmatites, which are ideal conditions found in most mining environments.
City of Kangeyam
Another mentionable city of Tamil Nadu that has been known to produce great gems is the city of Kangeyam. Located in the heart of Tirupur District, Kangeyam is a well known commercial hub, and because of its close proximity to neighboring industrial cities, Kangeyam is a popular center for trade. With most of Kangeyam's trade being focused on agricultural goods and textiles, Kangeyam is not usually recognised as a precious stone supplier. Much of its credited fame is owed to a surplus of mystical moonstone.
Kangeyam is renowned for its abundant primary deposits of moonstone. Moonstone deposits are found in Kangeyam's man-made tunnels and natural underground limestone caves. Miners in Kangeyam have been using the technique known as "host rock mining" to carefully harvest and extract the gems. This technique of mining is used when gem deposits have formed alongside a "host" rock, and in order to free them, one must chip away gently to extract them from their natural surroundings.
The mines in Kangeyam offer more than just moonstone. Several other varieties of precious gems are also native to Kangeyam, such as great quality ruby, spinel and garnet.
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