Precious stones played a significant role in the spiritual and literary life of Indian societies dating back to the early historic period. Gems served as symbols for cosmic purposes or as talismans in several post-Vedic religious practices, including Hinduism and Buddhism, and traditional Sanskrit texts reflected their importance as insignia of rank in courtly life.
Jewellery was adorned by both men and women, at all levels of society, and in particular, by royalty. For the Mughal rulers, in addition to opulent turban ornaments and ceremonial court objects, everything from huqqa mouthpieces to bracelets for pet falcons were encrusted with diamonds, pearls and coloured gemstones. Indigenous jewellery was also absorbed into the fashions of the invaders who arrived in the 8th century.