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Romancing the Stones:
An Interview With JB

Astrological Gems:
By Dennis Flaherty

Sattvic Gemstones

Valley of Rubies:
A Rare Visit To A Legendary Source Reveals Hard Times In A Hard Land

JB's Search for the Perfect Gem

"Sattvic Gemstones" Article in the Council of Vedic Astrology Journal 2005 by J.B.

The Council of Vedic Astrology (CVA) is a professional organization. J.B. wrote a feature article for the 2005 issue of CVA Journal titled "Sattvic Gemstones" and a sidebar, "The Nine Primary Jyotish Gemstones".


President's Message

Council President Dennis Flaherty made these comments in the "President's Message" on page 5 of the Council of Vedic Astrology Journal:

"It is our vision to provide you with a professional journal with educational articles of exemplary quality, by professional and novice alike, but in addition, each journal will feature a mentoring article by an experienced professional in the field. I am pleased to offer you J.B.'s mentorship in his article, "Sattvic Gemstones," in this edition of the CVA Journal..."

Sattvic Gemstones

This article originally appeared in the Council of Vedic Astrology Journal (www.councilvedicastrology.org), Volume 1, No. 2, 2005, pages 6-11. (c) copyright 2005 Council of Vedic Astrology. Reprinted with permission.

By J.B., GIA Graduate Gemologist

When I first started in the gem business, I had very little understanding of the esoteric power of gems or the astrological benefits of gemstones; in fact I was quite skeptical about such matters. My beginnings in the business, however, did have cosmic underpinnings. In the summer of 1979 I was student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and was participating in a two-month meditation retreat held at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, along with several thousand other practitioners of Transcendental Meditation. I had been to similar assemblies in the United States and Israel and I was happy following the spiritual path.

Maharishi's organization had recently purchased the Fairfield campus of Parson's College in a remote agricultural region of southeast Iowa characterized by rolling hills and vast golden cornfields. Maharishi encouraged us to move to Fairfield to establish a spiritual community and to meditate in large groups. My heart was very settled due to all the meditation going on. When someone mentioned the possibility of importing rubies from Thailand I had a clear "Aha!" experience, and knew immediately that dealing with gems was to be my dharma and Fairfield was to be my home.

Learning the wholesale gem business was not easy, especially based in rural Iowa. I studied at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica and received my Graduate Gemologist degree in early 1981, but it took almost twenty years to successfully master all aspects of buying and selling colored gemstones. Hard as it was to learn, however, the wholesale gem business proved to be a great blessing; the experience and the income generated provided support for what became my real passion--jyotish gems.

As I said, I was a skeptic at first, but in 1982 as I was struggling to find my feet in the business, an 8.68 carat white oval-cut sapphire came across my desk while on a buying trip to New York. It was the most beautiful white sapphire I had ever seen, but it was the strong spiritual energy it possessed that caught my eye. At the time white sapphires were beginning to increase in value, so it was a good commercial investment, but I had an impulse to keep this one for myself and actually wear it. Now, jewelry wasn't my style--all I had on was a wedding ring. So this was a very unusual thought for me. Having agreed to buy it, I wrapped the gem in paper and stuffed it in my wallet with the thought: 'let's see if this is good for me.' Almost immediately, my partner Steve called from Fairfield to say he had a request for a substantial amount of semi-precious stones from a Mid-West jewelry manufacturer. A second subtle impulse prompted me to ask the dealer from which I had bought the sapphire if he could help, even though he didn't normally trade in those kinds of semi-precious stones. Turned out he had exactly the right stones, left over from an old order. We made $7,000 net profit on that deal, more than my last year's entire annual income--a huge windfall! I thought, that's interesting, I wonder if the gem had anything to do with that?

That night, on another impulse, I decided to place the white sapphire under my pillow as I slept. This again was a completely unique thought. It was well before any astrologers in the West were recommending this as a way to test the suitability of a gemstone. I was rewarded with a blissful night of fully wide-awake consciousness. A divine golden light provided a background for all my dreams and during the non-dream state as well. When I awoke I decided that this stone was definitely for me and I had a pendant made to wear it around my neck. But it wasn't until several years later when I had my first Vedic astrology reading that I understood exactly why it worked so well. As a Virgo rising, a white sapphire (a substitute for diamond/Venus) is good for both income (second house) and spiritual experiences (ninth house) which is exactly what happened. In subsequent years I added a beautiful four carat clear green emerald and, on the advice of an astrologer friend, a one and a half carat diamond. In both cases, I had immediate financial and spiritual results. In the case of the diamond, as soon as I taped it on my finger to try it out, I got a phone call that resulted in a $40,000 gemstone order from a very esoteric group in the Far East that wanted to purchase Jyotish gemstones.

By 1989, as well as developing my wholesale business, I was regularly supplying customers with Jyotish quality gemstones. Based on their experience and mine, I became fully convinced of the amazing power of these gems to improve people's lives. Much to the dismay of my wife, who shies away from the flamboyant, I added a second diamond and a higher quality emerald to my pendant. Fortunately for her peace of mind, it has always remained hidden from view under my shirt. More financial and spiritual benefits came with each stone. Urged on by a desire to find the best possible quality stones, I searched the planet for better and better sources for gemstones. At the same time I made an interesting discovery.

It is common among Vedic astrologers to recommend a minimum of two carats and sometimes five carats or more to have an effect. This has led many people, especially those with limited budgets, to favor size over quality when selecting a gemstone. In order to get the magic number of two, four, five carats or more, they sometimes go for inferior quality stones. I believe this is a huge mistake. I believe the effect of the gem is a result of the particular frequency of vibration of the color of the gemstone and is modified by the purity or clarity of the gemstone. Gems take pure white light, or pure potential consciousness, and transform it into colored, life-changing energy. For this to happen, it is vital that the gems are as flawless as possible and of good color. Experience has convinced me that the importance of high quality far outweighs that of size; and that increased size only matters if all other factors of quality, color and clarity are equal. In my opinion, a high quality two carat stone is much more effective than a four or even ten carat one of poor quality. In the case of certain expensive gems such as diamonds or rubies, one to one and a half carats of high quality will suffice. Furthermore, I believe that poor quality gems may actually produce mixed or negative results.

Another important thing I discovered is that not all gems, no matter what their obvious external qualities may be, are equal. After many years of poring over thousands, probably millions, of gems, I have developed an intuitive sense that some gems are more special than others. The best way that I can describe this is that I can "taste" the quality of gems deep down in my abdomen. Some have a definite "sweetness" which I would describe as more sattva present in them. I noticed that these stones always sell more easily and produce the best effects. People are naturally attracted to this sattva. Along with Vedic astrologer, Andrew Foss, for the past two years, I have been conducting a research project to determine which gems produce the best results based on the above criteria.

The initial results are very positive. From it I hope to develop guidelines to help everyone select the most effective gemstones for their clients. We plan to publish the study and the results will be posted on our web site, www.AstrologicalGem.com, so keep in touch.

J.B. is one of America's leading suppliers of high quality, Jyotish gemstones recommended by some of the world's top Vedic astrologers. As senior gemstone buyer for America's premiere jewelry and gemstone television shopping network, he travels the world and is responsible for purchasing tens of millions of dollars of loose gemstones per year. He is also one of the nation's primary experts in colored gemstones and is frequently quoted in the trade magazines. His company, on the web at www.AstrologicalGem.com, is based in Fairfield, Iowa and can be reached at 1-800-559-5090.

The Council of Vedic Astrology published this article, "Sattvic Gemstones", in its 2005 CVA Journal. It also featured J.B.'s sidebar "The Nine Primary Jyotish Gemstones." Also, see the President's Message. Reprinted with permission.

Sidebar: The Nine Primary Jyotish Gemstones

By J.B., GIA Graduate Gemologist

Surya - Sun - Ruby - Sunday

Ruby is the gemstone for Surya/Sun.

The best rubies come from Myanmar (formerly Burma). Vietnamese grades into Burma and is similar. Fine Thai ruby, although extinct at the mines, is also acceptable.

Color: Red, to slightly violet - red, to slightly pinkish - red. Clarity: Rubies are a type two gemstone. Some minor inclusions using a loupe at 10x are acceptable, but gems should be eye flawless. Clarity should be VS1 or better.

Size: Fine Jyotish quality Rubies (as well as diamonds) are more powerful than other gems and most people do not require a minimum of two carats. 1.00 carat to 1.50 carat is the minimum for Rubies.

Cut: Look for good symmetry.

Shape: Oval, Cushion, Round, Emerald cut.

Enhancements: Regular heating is OK. Because the Sun is a hot planet, regular heating of rubies does not spoil their effects. Unheated rubies are super rare and desirable, although not required.

Beware: Avoid Beryllium diffusion heated rubies of Madagascar and Tanzanian origin, new lead-glass heated rubies (which are of poor quality, heavily treated and unstable), and glass filled cavities on back of gem. Also avoid brownish and overly dark tones.

Chandra - Moon - Pearl - Monday

Pearl is the gemstone for Chandra/Moon.

Natural pearl of good quality is virtually extinct. Chinese tissue nucleated pearls are very effective, comparable to natural pearl, available in exquisite quality, and affordable.

Color: White or cream-white.

Luster: Very important, top luster is super shine, appears glowing from within.

Clarity: Smooth skin, no pits or blemishes.

Size: 3.00 carats up to 10 carats +.

Shape: Round or virtually round.

Enhancements: Can be bleached; avoid these.

Beware: Dull chalky luster, flat bottom, dimples or surface blemishes. Avoid Japanese Akoya pearls; very thin nacre renders them near useless.

Mangala - Mars - Red Coral - Tuesday

Red Coral is the gemstone for Mangala/Mars.

Choose natural, Red Coral from the Mediterranean or Sea of Japan, which is deep, slightly orange-red color and has no significant blemishes on top and is also clean on the bottom.

Color: Deep, even red with orange secondary; called 'oxblood' in the trade.

Clarity: Avoid pits, blemishes and cracks. Coral has natural growth rings.

Shape: Usually cut in cabochon cuts: oval, round and cushion. Avoid unsymmetrical shapes.

Size: 3.00 carats and larger.

Beware: Dyed coral is common in India and elsewhere. Plastic-filled is also common in India. Avoid splotchy color and areas of lighter color.

Budha - Mercury - Emerald - Wednesday


Emerald is the gemstone for Budha/Mercury.


Color: Slightly bluish or yellowish green. Deeper green is more powerful but do not sacrifice clarity for color.

Clarity: Emeralds are the most heavily flawed Jyotish gemstone. Emeralds are designated type three in clarity, the only Jyotish gemstone in this class. Chromium, the mineral that makes emeralds green also makes them flawed.

Therefore, it is very, very difficult to find nearly eye flawless emeralds, but these are the best for Jyotish. The rule is clarity first, then as much color as your budget will allow. Emeralds with top clarity and light color are far better than those with more inclusions and darker color. Clarity first and foremost! Buy the clearest emeralds possible. Called 'crystal' in the trade, super clean emeralds from Colombia and Brazil are acceptable, as are some Zambian emeralds, if not too dark in the crystal.

Shape: Emerald cut, oval, cushion, round.

Size:2.00 carats and larger. If exceptional in color and clarity, then smaller is OK: Minimum 1.00 carat.

Enhancements: All emeralds are "oiled" with oil or synthetic resins. Look for the clearest clarity and buy from someone you can trust.

Beware: Avoid heavily treated emeralds. Some experts can determine the level of the treatment as minor, moderate or heavy. Minor treatment is OK. Be very careful of hidden cracks that can affect the durability of the emerald during setting, and after while wearing, especially in the corners. Do not buy Emeralds with black inclusions.

Guru - Jupiter - Yellow Sapphire - Thursday

Yellow Sapphire is the gemstone for Guru/Jupiter.

Unheated Yellow Sapphire from Sri Lanka (Ceylon), of top clarity and fine lemon yellow color, is most desirable. Some gems from Madagascar and Tanzania are acceptable too. Yellow Sapphire from Burma is nearly always too light.

Color: Fine strong yellow is most powerful. Light colors are less powerful and very light is not desirable for the best results.

Clarity: Eye Flawless, VS1, very slight inclusions with no black inclusions, cracks or milkiness.

Shape: Oval, cushion, emerald cut, round.

Size: 2.00 carats or larger.

Enhancements: Yellow Sapphires should be unheated. Avoid regular heat treatment which frequently makes these gems a more golden to orange color.

Beware: Avoid Beryllium Diffusion heat treatment, eye visible inclusions and very light or pale yellow color.

Shukra - Venus - Diamond - Friday

Diamond is the gemstone for Shukra/Venus.

Diamonds are more powerful, when of high quality, than the other Jyotish gemstones. Diamonds of one carat or more are desirable.

Color: Choose a colorless or near colorless Diamond. Color grades D-E-F are colorless; G-H are near colorless. These are the most desirable colors.

Clarity: Choose clarity grades of VS1 or better: this means very minor inclusions that are difficult to locate by a trained diamond observer with a 10X power loupe.

Shape: Round, Emerald cut, Princess cut, Radiant cut, or Oval.

Size: 1.00 carat or larger. Most people do not need two carats or larger.

Certification: Gemological Institute of America, GIA, certified diamonds are preferred.

Beware: Avoid black inclusions, even minute ones at 10X. Also avoid: extremely thin or very thin or thick girdles; medium to strong blue fluorescence; fair to poor symmetry; overly deep diamonds, which are dark in the center; and any laser-drilled or filled diamonds.

Note: Any of the square or rectangular shapes are a good value. Emerald, Princess, or Radiant cut, sell for a discount of up to 20% compared to Round cut.

Shani - Saturn - Blue Sapphire - Saturday

Blue Sapphire is the gemstone for Shani/Saturn.

It is very important for Saturn gems to be eye flawless and not heated. The best come from Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Madagascar and Myanmar (Burma). Blue Sapphires from Kashmir are king, but extinction of the mines has driven the price to many multiples of a comparable sapphire from other good locations. The premium price for Kashmiri Blue Sapphires does not yield better results for Jyotish effect.

Color: There is a large range of color from pale grayish blue to deep pure blue, with slight violet secondary. The best range is a light to medium, fine 'cornflower' blue which is not too dark. Look for 'sweet', pleasing colors.

Clarity:Blue Sapphires should be eye flawless, the more flawless the better. Minor rutile silk inclusions are acceptable and prove no heat. Avoid any but the most minute crystal inclusions, no cracks or cloudy quality. Avoid moderate to significant color zoning. Cleaner is better for Saturn gems.

Shape: Oval, cushion, emerald cut, round.

Size: 2.00 carats minimum

Enhancements: Avoid heated, Blue Sapphires of all types. The Garuda Purana states that heated Blue Sapphires are very bad for the wearer.

Avoid: Blue Sapphires that are very dark blue to nearly blackish blue in color.

Rahu - Hessonite/Gomed - Saturday

Hessonite/Gomed is the gemstone for Rahu.

Hessonite means imperfection and this gem is moderately included. Look for clearest, nearly eye-clean material that is bright.

Color: Hessonite is a grossular garnet which is found in two main types today: light peach color and a more dark reddish brown color. The latter is also called cinnamon stone. Both types are also known as Gomed or Gomeda. Both are effective for Jyotish.

Clarity: Hessonite is a type two gemstone that borders on type three. This means more inclusions or flaws are normal. However, Hessonites that are eye flawless or only have very minute inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye are desirable.

Shape: Emerald cut, oval, cushion, round.

Size: 2.00 carats and larger.

Enhancements: None. This gem is never treated if it is eye clean.

Note: Some people prefer the lighter type Hessonites and others the darker type. The wearer should decide based on their personal preference.

Ketu - Cat's-Eye Chrysoberyl - Tuesday

Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl is the gemstone for Ketu.

The best quality comes from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and should have a clear transparent body, and a good sharp eye, with no visible inclusions.

Color: A greenish yellow or yellowish green.

Clarity: Should be eye flawless, no cracks.

Shape: Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl always comes cabochon cut in round or oval shapes. The bottom is almost always lumpy which is OK. But look for overall good symmetry.

Size: 2.00 carats and larger.

Phenomenon: The eye is a line of reflected light which appears to float on the surface of the gem. It should be very straight, sharp and bright.

Enhancements: Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl is generally not enhanced, except for the rarely irradiated type.

Avoid: Weak or pale eyes (the line of light). Stay away from crooked bending eyes, cracks or significant visible flaws.

Beware: There is a type of Cat's Eye that is irradiated in a nuclear reactor and is dangerously radioactive. Beware dark chocolate body colors; these are nearly always irradiated and should not be worn. Natural, untreated Cat's Eye is yellowish green or greenish yellow, never chocolate brown color.


Generally, Jyotish gemstones should be as flawless as is possible for their species. This will vary by degree, depending on the species. Not all Jyotish gems can be equally flawless.

Always avoid any of these clarity problems: Cloudy or milky appearance; grainy or sandy appearance on the surface or inside the gem; cracks or large significant flaws; and black inclusions. The enhancements listed above give a guideline on treatments.

Buy gems from someone you know to be knowledgeable and trustworthy. If the price seems too good to be true, there probably is something wrong that you are missing. Shop and compare quality. Get expert advice if needed. All gemstones are not equal. The type and quality of the gemstones listed above have been found to be the safest and most effective for best results. The better the quality, the better and purer the effect the gemstone will have on the person who wears it.

J.B. is one of America's leading suppliers of high quality, Jyotish gemstones recommended by some of the world's top Vedic astrologers. As senior gemstone buyer for America's premiere jewelry and gemstone television shopping network, he travels the world and is responsible for purchasing tens of millions of dollars of loose gemstones per year. He is also one of the nation's primary experts in colored gemstones and is frequently quoted in the trade magazines. His company, on the web at www.AstrologicalGem.com, is based in Fairfield, Iowa and can be reached at 1-800-559-5090.

The Council of Vedic Astrology published this sidebar, "The Nine Primary Jyotish Gemstones", in its 2005 CVA Journal. It was part of an article by J.B. titled "Sattvic Gemstones." © copyright 2005 Council of Vedic Astrology. Reprinted with permission.

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