Friday, April 29, 2022

Y is for Yellow Diamonds (Gemstone Folklore)

Welcome to the 2022 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Gemstone Folklore. Because I love stories about shiny things. Read the introduction to the project here.


I have already written about diamonds earlier in the challenge. Yellow diamonds gain their color from nitrogen being trapped in their crystal structure. They are the most common among the colored diamonds.

The death of the demon Bala
Myth from India

This myth is from the Garuda Purana, a Hindu religious text written in Sanskrit. Manuscripts originate from the 9th-10th century CE, but the myths themselves are likely much, much older.
This story takes place at a time when there was a fierce battle raging between the gods and various demons. The most fearsome duel ensued between the god Indra, and the demon Bala. Bala's body was radiant and no weapon could pierce it; at his laughter, pearls fell from his mouth. Seeing that he could not kill him, Indra praised him, and asked for a boon. Bala agreed to grant a wish for the gods - and they asked him to sacrifice himself. Bala gave his life willingly as a sacrificial offering. Indra struck him with a thunderbolt, shattering Bala's body into pieces - and because of the merit earned by voluntary sacrifice, various parts of the body, falling to the ground, became gemstones. 
Bala's eyes turned turned into sapphires, ears and blood into rubies, bone marrow and nose into emeralds, tongue into corals, teeth into pearls. His semen produced silver, his urine turned into copper, from his sweat came brass, his nails gold, his blood mercury, his marrow crystals. The gods fought over the gems, and as they flew in the air with their chariots, many gems scattered, landing in places where they are still mined today. Bala's grieving widow, Prabhavati, transformed into a river, uniting her body with her husband's, and polishing the gems that came from him.
The text says that yellow diamonds, coming from Bala's body, were especially reserved for kings. They were also sacred to Indra, for doing the original sacrifice.

Sources: The death of Bala here, more lore about diamonds in the Garuda Purana here. Find another text here.

If you could pick a colored diamond, what color would you go for?


  1. The first time I saw a yellow diamond, was in the movie "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days". It's a pretty colour, though not one I'd usually choose... I think black diamonds, if I really have to choose one. LOL.

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: Y

  2. How wonderful to be so radiant nothing can pierce you. I really like this tale. And what a wonderful explanation for the gemstone mines. I really like that his widow turned into a river - how great their love must have been. Yellow diamonds are lovely, but I think I'd choose a blue/green one - it's not a color I've seen in other stones.

  3. Yellow has never really been my color, though I love orange. My former engagement ring, which my ex forced me to buy myself, has three large black diamonds and four little clear diamonds.

  4. I'm not sure I'll ever look at silver or copper in the same way again...