Many industries came into existence under the patronage of the Gupta rulers. The manufacture of textiles of various kinds was among the more important industries of this time. It had a vast domestic market since textiles featured prominently in the north-south trade within the whole of India and there was considerable demand for Indian textiles in foreign markets. Silk, muslin, calico, linen, wool and cotton were produced in great quantity. Ship building industry also developed during the Gupta period. This helped in trade and colonisation. Among the various industries that flourished in the Gupta period, mining and metallurgy certainly occupied the top position. The Amarkosha gives a comprehensive list of metals. Of all the metals, iron was the most useful and blacksmith were only next to the peasants in the rural community. The most eloquent evidence of the high stage of development which metallurgy had attained in the Gupta period is the Mehrauli iron pillar of King Chandragupta II. Ivory work, stone cutting and carving and sculpture were in great demand.
The cutting, polishing and preparing of a variety of precious stones -jasper, agate, carnelian, quartz, and lapizlazuli were also associated with foreign trade. Pottery remained a basic part of industrial production though the elegant black polished ware was no longer used instead an ordinary ware with a brownish slip was produced in large quantities some of it being made to look good with the addition of mica in the clay. Guilds continued as the major institution in the manufacture of goods and in commercial enterprise. There were guilds not only of traders and bankers but also of manual workers like weavers and stone cutters. These guilds enjoyed sufficient autonomy to manage their own affairs and participated effectively in the economic life of the people. They had their own property and trusts worked as bankers, settle disputes of their members and issued their hundis and even coins.