Jewellery made from garnets was exported to Rome and other places from Arikamedu in Puducherry, which served as an ancient trading centre and harbour.

From Garibpet to Rome Garnets exported 2000 years ago traced to TelanganaPhoto by K Schmetzer; Source: The Gemmological Association of Great Britain
news Research Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 14:40

Garnets mined from Garibpet in Telangana were worn by Romans many centuries ago. A paper published in The Journal of Gemmology recently identifies Garibpet as the source of the garnets that were used to make jewellery which was exported from Arikamedu in Puducherry to Rome and other places nearly 2,000 years ago.

Garnets are a group of silicate minerals that have been used as gemstones since the Bronze Age. The word garnet comes from the 14th century Middle English word gernet, meaning ‘dark red’.

According to modern theories, the paper states, Arikamedu served as an ancient trading centre and harbour that connected the east coast of India with the western world from the 1st century BC to the 7th century AD. It was also one of the main bead producing localities in India. Thousands of stone and glass beads have been excavated from the region.

Garnets, like the ones from Garibpet, were very popular among the stone beads and came next only to the quartz variety. For the study, the researchers analysed samples from Garibpet and Arikamedu to establish the correlation.

It was earlier thought that garnets were sourced from Odisha and Rajasthan in India, Bohemia in Czechoslovakia, and Sri Lanka, The Hindu reported.

Since bead production stopped in the region in the early 17th century, researchers think that the samples examined were manufactured before that period.

Local authorities don’t seem to be interested in the findings.

“However, the stratigraphy of Arikamedu is extremely complicated and the different levels are difficult to date. We tried to collaborate with the director of Pondicherry Museum, but unfortunately, he had no interest at all,” Karl Schmetzer, lead researcher and author of the paper, told the publication.

Several of the world’s most famous diamonds have been mined from the present Telangana and Andhra regions. The Kohinoor is said to have been mined in approximately 1100 in the Kollur mine in a village in Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.

A few years ago, researchers from the Centre of Exploration Geophysics, Osmania University, identified around 21 new potential diamond zones in Mahbubnagar district and in villages near Gulbarga and Raichur.