Craftghar : Indian Handicrafts, Ceramic  Home & Kitchen Items

Agates of Cambay


Agate bead command a good market in the countries of Middle East and African coast. Agate products are flower vases, ash trays, bangle, mortar and pestle, necklaces, paper weights, buttons, rosaries, lamp shades, earrings, rings, bracelets, chains, bowls, cufflinks, pendants etc. Carnelian stone was supposed to contain all the five elements of nature earth, wind, water, fire and space inside. It is acclaimed to be the most pious stone on earth. Blood is most extensively used variety of agates, used to make jewelry as well as products. The other common agates include White king, Khyaldar Grey, Yellow, Navrang, Moss, Red Jasper – Red colored stone, Fancy, Black agate, Sfatik (Crystal), Rose Quartz etc.

This is the first in a series of stories Grin is doing on unique crafts and materials that have GI (Geographical Indications) in India. We believe that in a world where everything, including the human brain, seems artificially replicate, there is an urgent need to locate unique ideas to special communities and peoples. Grin believes in a globalization of diversity, where every region and people are able to keep their distinct identity while embracing the world — this is the exact of opposite of the steam-rolled idea of standardized globalization. This piece is about the Agates of Cambay, special Carnelian stones that are known as ‘the most pious’ stones in the world.

These beautiful stones have been mined and polished at Khambat or Cambayin the western state of Gujarat at least since 1,500 AD. Even though the Cambay area does not have mineral deposits, the stone is brought from the Rajpipla Hills about 200 kilometers away. Some archaeological records show that this gemstone work may have been happening in this region for 4,000 years — since the Harappan era. From Gujarat, these stones travel to popular markets across the Middle East and Africa — they are used in everything from making rosaries to jewelry and home decorations.The Carnelian stone is renowned as the ‘most pious stone’ in the world, no doubt because of its extensive use in rosaries. While the blood-colored stone is most popular, Agates of Cambay also come in yellow, moss, rose, black, white and grey hues.

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