Among the various known Indian lapidaries the "Ratnapariska" or "Knowledge of gems", can undoubtedly be considered as the father of all lapidiaries. Indeed, India is generally regarded as the cradle of precious stones and the science built up around them. There are three categories of persons among the ancient Indians who had to be in possession of the "Ratnapariska": the merchants as a directly interested party; the prices, because a great lord had always to be capable of judging a precious stone; and the poets, whose descriptions of the palaces and the courts place on view - as it were - all the jewels that were so abundant in India. The Indian lapidaries are of a very particular type, and this certainly not as regards their structure, because they follow very precise canons of description (origin, quality, defects, virtues, price), but rather on account of the conviction that works are very often the gift or punishment of a divinity and therefore harbingers of good fortune or bad luck as the case may be. The ancient Indians were a people of profoundly held beliefs, a people who often combined culture with legend. It therefore seems only appropriate to quote here what the "Ratnapariska? has to say about sapphires: "...where the Singhalese gently agitated the stems of young lotus flowers with the tips of their fingers, there fell the two eyes of Daitja, which were of a deep blue colour, of a splendour similar to that of a lotus in flower. For this reason the lands that extend along the banks of little streams, with an uninterrupted line of plumage forests in flower, abound in the sumptuous sapphires that are their glory".