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Gold Navaratna Ring with Precious & Semi-Precious Stones

18th century

overall diameter: 2.4cm, weight: 5.9g, ring size: 9.25 (US), S (UK)



UK art market

This beautiful and highly wearable talismanic finger ring comprises a scalloped gold band set with the navaratna stones in kundan settings. Additionally, the band or hoop has been set with pairs of tiny ruby cabochons and a pair of small turquoise cabochons. The stones are set all the way around the ring.

Among the stones are a yellow topaz to represent Jupiter, a ruby to represent the sun, a coral to represent Mars, a pearl to represent the moon, and a sapphire to represent Saturn.

Untracht (1997, p. 309) says that in Dravidian south India, the navaratna gemstones are used as a rosary but elsewhere in India, they are used as a talismanic device. The nine gems have multiple meanings and associations. One is that each gem represents the nine celestial Hindu deities and the nine ‘planets’ . According to Untracht, rings set with the navaratna stones are a ‘much favoured ornament’ in India.

The correct construction of a navaratna ring could take a very long time. Says Untracht (p. 309): ‘Before commissioning such a ring from a goldsmith, one first brings the selected stones to a priest, who blesses them. At an auspicious time, they are then given to a goldsmith who will set thing in high-quality gold (22 karat). According to orthodox practice, when the gold setting is ready, each of the stones corresponding to a planet is set in the correct order of priority and position, at a time auspicious for the planet. If this procedure is followed, the process might take more than a year to complete.’

The ring is stable and ready to be worn. The patina and styling suggest an 18th century dating and possibly earlier.


Bala Krishnan, U.R., Jewels of the Nizams, Department of Culture, Government of India, 2001.

Barnard, N., Indian Jewellery, V&A Publishing, 2008.

Untracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.

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