The Legend of Himalayan Motherlode-Historical, Cultural and Economic Significance of T he Padder Blue Sapphire
Keywords:Padder, sapphire, mines, history, cultural significance
One of the purest forms of aluminium oxide, the Padder Sapphire, a blue gem variety of the mineral corundum, is considered to be the hidden wealth of Kishtwar region. Found in the upper reaches of the remote village of Padder, it is supposed to be of the best quality in the world, second to none. At once, unknown and unexploited, found in abundance with the locals, it came to be known as the wealth of Padder from the 19th century onwards, when it was gifted by General Zorawar Singh to Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir. At present, the Padder sapphire is one of the most expensive gemstones in the world. However, it is known for more than its sheer and brilliance. It has, associated with it, deep historical, cultural, astrological and traditional legends and beliefs which lend to its significance. This paper, thus, makes an attempt to study the historical, cultural and economic significance of the Padder sapphire and bring to the fore the many facets of the Padder sapphire.