Nava-ratna or Nava-mani refers to the nine gemstones related to the nine planets used in Vedic Astrology. These nine planets are Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. Nava means ‘nine’ and ratna or mani means ‘gem’ in the Sanskrit language. Besides wearing a setting of one astrological gemstone in particular, a ring, pendant or bangle can be set with the nine gems corresponding to the nine planets which can also be helpful.

The size of such gems in a ring setting are usually quite small but they can be set with favorable effect in a pendant or bangle setting since the size and design are less limited. Sometimes, a double row of gems is used which can be very beautiful and quite powerful. Naturally, only flawless gems of good quality should be used in order to deliver maximum benefit. In a pendant or ring setting, there is a particular traditional design which is most commonly used but other designs can also be effective

Nava-ratna gems are generally divided into two groups, precious and semi-precious. There are six precious stones — diamond, blue sapphire, yellow sapphire ruby, emerald and pearl. There are three semi-precious gems — coral, hessonite and cat’s eye. This categorization is not so much related to value and market appeal but it refers more to their influence on the human body and its chemistry, the mind and its psychology and the electromagnetic field which surrounds the living being.

A Nava-mani set piece can deliver all the benefits of all nine planetary gemstones simultaneously. It is not so much a concentrated focus on a particular planet or a specific problem but rather, it is more an overall preventative measure. Essentially, it is a talisman designed to ward off negative energies and effects and to strengthen the positive influences that the nine planets and their respective gemstones are meant to deliver. One can wear it in expectation of good health, prosperity, increased happiness and peace of mind.

All gems are set with an open-back setting allowing the energy and potency of each stone to be carried through into the body of its wearer. In India, the famous Nava-mani or Nine Gem Setting, has been worn for thousands of years by Kings, Queens and royalty. Each gem represents some particular aspect of life and taken together, all aspects of human life in total are improved and enhanced by wearing a Nine Gem set piece.

The Nava-Mani or Nine Gem Setting — A Tale of Origin

By Drew Lawrence

In ancient India during the times of rajahs, shimmering pink stone palaces, colorfully decorated elephants and legions of gleaming horse-drawn chariots, a lone prince named Madhu arrived at the palace of a king. The king had a beautiful daughter approaching marriageable age. When the foreign prince and Princess Rasa saw each other for the first time, their eyes were locked in loving embrace. They had each found the one they were looking for and in their hearts, nothing would come between their love for each other.

Surreptitious twilight trysts allowed their love for each other to blossom and deepen. But Madhu had to go away and seek his fortune that had been lost when his father’s kingdom was invaded by a powerful king and his army. He promised he would come back to marry the maiden, Rasa, his true love, in one year’s time. To symbolize his undying love for her, he gifted her with a pure, peerless white pearl. He said, “This is my heart which I leave with you. Keep it safe and wear it upon your breast next to your heart. And in this way, our hearts will always be together until my return.”

A year went by but the prince did not return. A messenger arrived one day with a message for Princess Rasa. He told her he had been sent by Prince Madhu and handed her the handwritten message. Madhu told her it would take another year before he would return with enough wealth upon which her father would consent to their marriage. He said that since he did not want her to worry or fret, he was sending a beautiful green emerald to calm her mind and strengthen her health and well-being. And when he would return, they would have the pearl and the emerald set into a beautiful golden setting.

Another year went by and again the prince failed to return. Again, he sent a messenger with a message that read, “My fortunes have taken me to the other side of the known world, my love, but know that my love for you is undying and unshakeable. I have heard that your father’s kingdom is suffering through difficult political times. Please accept this red ruby. Hide it somewhere upon his throne and it will bestow power and dominion and restore his kingdom to its former glory. I will be with you soon, my love — only one more year. And then we shall set the pearl, the emerald and the ruby into a jeweled piece for you, unlike any other. I love you.”

A year passed. Again Madhu did not come. Again a messenger arrived for Rasa with a note and a gem. It read, “My love, I am sworn to do battle with the enemy of a king who has been a great friend to me. I owe him this much for his many kindnesses. I will return to your side in one’s year’s time and we will be wed and be together forever. Please accept this red coral stone, which burns with the passion of my love for you. It was harvested from the very bottom of a vast sea they call Meditteraneo. This red stone is known to possess the power to defeat enemies and expose conspirators. It is also a wonderful purifier for the blood. Wear this for your protection, my love, and when I return in one year, we will have the pearl, emerald, ruby and coral set into a magnificent piece the like of which no one has ever seen in all of India.”

A year went by. Once again, Prince Madhu did not appear. Once again, a messenger arrived for Princess Rasa with a note and a gemstone. It read, “My dearest love, I miss you terribly and my heart is heavy with separation from your lotus feet. I am sure you have now grown into a beautiful young woman. I yet strive to restore my kingdom and wealth to win your hand with your father’s blessing. I have heard that your mother has died from illness and you are disconsolate. I feel your pain and your sorrow, my darling, even though the tallest mountain ranges may separate us. I send you what you most need at this time — a flawless blue sapphire, whose unparalleled color is reminiscent of the deepest seas I have crossed in my many voyages. Wear this rare gem for it will remove your sorrow and sadness caused by your mother’s soul’s departure to the heavenly realms. May your heart be light, my love. We will be reunited in one year’s time. My love for you has no beginning and no end. When I return, we shall have the pearl, emerald, ruby, coral and blue sapphire set into a flawless hammered golden bangle whose beauty will diminish even the crowns of famous queens. Take heart, my love.”

A year passed and instead of the prince appearing, only a messenger came in his stead. The princess knew the messenger had been sent by her love even before he had stated his business. The note read, “I have made a large investment of gold with a merchant from the Orient. I must remain here to watch over my investment and reap the profit when the time comes. Please try to be patient for one more year. I have heard that your father’s treasury has been depleted by the many demands of government. So I have sent a stunning yellow sapphire, which will help restore wealth and abundance to the kingdom. Hide it somewhere in his treasury and quietly witness the return of wealth and plenty. When I see you next, I will commission the goldsmiths to fashion a dazzling charm set with the pearl, emerald, ruby, coral, blue sapphire and yellow sapphire which will be the envy of all women of wealth and means everywhere. I love you forever.”

A year crept slowly by. The spiritually devout princess was beginning to blame God for the separation from her beloved. Though making her daily prayers and offerings in the temple, her heart was less devotional. She told God, “I know he is not coming. You’ll find yet another way to punish me.” As in the past, a messenger arrived from her prince with a note and a gem. The message from Madhu said that God was testing their love for each other and they must pass this most difficult trial. He told her not to blame God for their separation. This was a result of their own past karma. He told her that according to the sacred texts, the mystical cat’s eye gem he had sent her was similar to the one worn by God Himself. “Wear the cat’s eye and stay close to God, my love. When I return, we shall have the pearl, emerald, ruby, coral, blue sapphire, yellow sapphire, and cat’s eye set into an exquisite gold setting that will rival the beauty of the sun himself. We will be reunited in a year’s time. My heart beats with yours.”

Six months passed. News and rumor floated upon the wind telling of a great battle in a kingdom beyond the towering Himalayan mountains. The word was that her valiant Prince Madhu had been killed while fighting bravely in that very same conflict. Though his death was not confirmed, Rasa feared the worst and was plagued by nightmares and dark forebodings. Were they real or imagined due to the shadow of her sorrow? As the year drew to a close, a messenger arrived once more with a note and the gift of a gem from her true love.

Madhu said, “My dearest heart, you may have heard that I was killed in battle. In fact, I was severely wounded and left for dead. But I have now fully recovered with my fortune intact and begin my journey homeward to you. I will be there as soon as is humanly possible. But I must lead a caravan of my animals, wealth and valued goods from many lands across the nearly impassable Himalayas and keep it safe from thieves and bandits. I have sent you a valuable hessonite to remove your fears and pacify your mind. Wear it in peace and joy. When we meet at long last, we shall have the pearl, emerald, ruby, coral, blue sapphire, yellow sapphire, cat’s eye and hessonite fashioned into an incomparable gold setting that will be a fitting tribute to our loyalty and devotion for each other these many years. Soon we will be together.”

Almost a full year passed. One day the king, the father of Princess Rasa, approached her with an offer of marriage from a wealthy royal suitor. The king told her that he had accepted the proposal and the astrologers were fixing a favorable date for the marriage. The color drained from her face, her mouth went dry and her heart stopped beating. This could not be. Her true love was to come soon. Rasa told her father that she could not marry this man since her love, Madhu, was on his way to her side. Her father told her that she must stop holding onto this absurd fantasy that she would marry a poor, destitute prince who was without a kingdom and whom she hadn’t seen in eight years. Upon hearing this, the princess became disconsolate and unable to eat. She resolved to fast until her death.

Three days later, there was a great hubbub in the kingdom as a large caravan of men, goods and animals had arrived from the north and was wending its way up the main road toward the palace. The princess looked out her window and saw her love sitting aloft in a canopied howdah atop an elephant leading the caravan that coiled behind him through the main road of the town.

“He’s here!” Rasa shouted. He’s here!” She scurried down the stone steps with her bare feet barely touching the stone to the ground floor of the palace. Bursting through the gates, she met her love at long last who came down the trunk of the bull elephant as he alit upon the ground on bended knees. They embraced.

Chests of valuable, rare and foreign gifts were brought into the palace at Prince Madhu‘s command. Beholding the incredible caravan and the fabulous wealth before him, the king, Rasa’s father, gave permission for their marriage, which sanctioned the long-held hearts’ desire of the fateful lovers.

Madhu turned to his love and presented her with a flawless, colorless diamond, saying, “My beloved Rasa, this is the symbol of our love restored and my pledge of love to you for the rest of our lives together upon the earth. This peerless diamond will be set in a magnificent pendant along with the pearl, emerald, ruby, coral, blue sapphire, yellow sapphire, cat’s eye and hessonite, all sent by me each year as a pledge of my undying love for you. This matchless pendant will adorn your beautiful breast and rest gently upon your loving heart from the day we are married.

From that day forward, even to the present, the nine gem setting called the nava-ratna or nava-mani has adorned thousands of people from all walks of life for the purpose of securing wealth, love, marital happiness, peace of mind, success, health, victory, divine favor, power, fearlessness and the fulfillment of all desires.