search
  • Se connecter
    S'inscrire
  • Support à la clientèle en parlant d'anglaise seulement

    Sans frais - USA et Canada seulement:
    1-800-464-1640

    International:
    +66-39303404

  • Changer de langue
  • USD

Idar-Oberstein; German Gemstone History

The Idar Oberstein Church
The Town of Idar-Oberstein

Idar-Oberstein is a small town situated in the Hunsrück Mountains of the Rhineland-Palatine region in the south west of Germany. Despite its diminutive size, it became one of the leading gem-cutting centers of the world, with a history of mining and lapidary dating back hundreds of years.

Positioned on the banks of the Nahe river, the two neighboring villages of Idar and Oberstein are at the center of a region where agate was hand mined for thousands of years. As early as the late 1400s, mechanized mining operations to extract agate, jasper and quartz created employment for gem cutters and stone carvers who flocked to the region.

The river was the main energy source used to power the lapidary machines which were directly connected to water wheels. Using these machines was somewhat awkward as the stone-cutters of the time were forced to carry out most of their work whilst lying on their stomachs. Some of these water powered wheels can still be seen in some of the town's historic buildings.

In the 1800s the agate deposits along the Nahe River began to be depleted, but by that time gem cutting was the mainstay of its inhabitants. To stay in business, they began to import rough stones from Brazil, where discoveries of amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, topaz and other gemstone materials had been made.

Carved Agate Bowl from Idar Oberstein
Carved Agate Bowl from Idar-Oberstein

By the end of the nineteenth century, gems from around the world were being shipped to Idar-Oberstein for cutting by its famous artisans, and there were literally hundreds of cutting houses in the town and surrounding villages. However this very fame led to the end of the industry's heyday - wages in the area became too high to warrant cutting less valuable stones and many gem-cutters were forced to emigrate to Brazil.

However, many of the artisans and their families remained to continue the tradition through the generations, and today Idar-Oberstein is still famous for some of the finest agate carving in the world. The cutters still import a large variety of other gemstones from around the world for cutting and carving, and master cameo carvers and modern lapidary artists alike still flourish, as do the dealers who import rough stones from gem markets around the world.

Idar Oberstein Church
The Town of Idar-Oberstein

One of the most famous families in Idar-Oberstein today is the Munsteiner family. Berndt Munsteiner, known as the father of the fantasy cut, is a third-generation cutter who says he was never asked whether he wanted to be a cutter or not, but simply fulfilled his parents' expectations by training in traditional lapidary techniques with his father Viktor. He went on to become a pioneering artist using the techniques he learned at his father's side to produce remarkable designs that are anything but traditional. In true Idar-Oberstein style, his son Tom carries on the family trade and is known as one of the world's leading lapidary artists in his own right.

  • Première publication: May-26-2008
  • Dernière mise à jour: Janvier-23-2019
  • © 2005-2020 GemSelect.com tous droits réservés.
    Reproduction (texte ou graphique), sans le consentement écrit de GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd) est strictement interdite.
Plus de formes
Pierres précieuses populaires
  • Saphir
  • Émeraude
  • Rubis
  • Aigue marine
  • Zircon
  • Opale
  • Topaze
  • Tourmaline
  • Grenat
  • Améthyste
  • Citrine
  • Tanzanite
Toutes les pierres précieuses (144)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V Z
  • Actinolite Œil de chat
  • Agate
  • Agate Géode
  • Agate de Feu
  • Aigue marine
  • Amazonite
  • Ammolite
  • Améthyste
  • Amétrine
  • Andésine Labradorite
  • Apatite
  • Augite œil de Chat
  • Aventurine
  • Béryl
  • Béryl doré
  • Calcite
  • Calcédoine
  • Charoïte
  • Chrysobéryl
  • Chrysocolle
  • Chrysoprase
  • Citrine
  • Corail
  • Corail de Fossile
  • Cornaline
  • Dendritique Agate
  • Diamant
  • Diaspore Couleur Changeant
  • Diopside Chrome
  • Diopside Étoilé
  • Disthène
  • Druse d'améthyste
  • Druzy Azurite
  • Enstatite
  • Flocon de Neige Obsidienne
  • Fluorine
  • Fluorite avec changement de couleur
  • Grandidierite
  • Grenat
  • Grenat Almandin
  • Grenat Couleur Changeant
  • Grenat Démantoïde
  • Grenat Grossulaire
  • Grenat Hessonite
  • Grenat Malaya
  • Grenat Mali
  • Grenat Pyrope
  • Grenat Rhodolite
  • Grenat Spessartite
  • Grenat Tsavorite
  • Grenat Étoilé
  • Hiddénite
  • Howlite
  • Hématite
  • Hémimorphite Druse
  • Idocrase
  • Iolite
  • Jadéite
  • Jaspe
  • Jaspe Sanguin
  • Kornerupine
  • Kunzite
  • Labradorite
  • Lapis-lazuli
  • Larimar
  • Malachite
  • Maw-Sit-Sit
  • Morganite
  • Nacre
  • Nuummite
  • Obsidienne
  • Oeil de Chat Aigue-Marine
  • Oeil de Chat Quartz
  • Oeil de Tigre
  • Oeil de Tigre Matrice
  • Oeil de chat Apatite
  • Oeil de chat Scapolite
  • Oeil de chat Sillimanite
  • Oeil de chat de la Pierre de Lune
  • Opale
  • Opale Boulder
  • Opale Chocolat
  • Opale Doublet
  • Opale Mousse
  • Opale Noir
  • Opale de Feu
  • Opale en Matrice
  • Opale hyalite
  • Opale œil de chat
  • Perle
  • Pierre de Lune
  • Pierre de Lune Arc en Ciel
  • Pierre de Lune Étoilé
  • Pierre de Soleil Étoilé
  • Pierre de Soleil 
  • Pierre précieuse étoiles
  • Pierres précieuses Jade
  • Pierres précieuses oeil de chat
  • Pietersite
  • Prehnite
  • Pyrite
  • Pyrite Arc en Ciel
  • Péridot
  • Quartz
  • Quartz Citron étoilé
  • Quartz Fraise
  • Quartz Fumé
  • Quartz Mystique
  • Quartz Rose
  • Quartz Rose Étoilé
  • Quartz Rutile
  • Quartz avec marcassite
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Rubellite Tourmaline
  • Rubis
  • Rubis en Fuchsite
  • Rubis Étoilé
  • Rubis-Zoisite
  • Saphir
  • Saphir couleur-Changeant
  • Saphir Étoilé
  • Scapolite
  • Scolécite
  • Seraphinite
  • Serpentine
  • Sillimanite
  • Smithsonite
  • Sodalite
  • Spectrolite
  • Sphalérite 
  • Sphène
  • Spinelle
  • Sugilite
  • Tanzanite
  • Topaze
  • Topaze Imperiale
  • Topaze Mystique
  • Tourmaline
  • Tourmaline Chrome
  • Turquoise
  • Variscite
  • Zircon
  • Émeraude
  • Œil de faucon
Catégories principales
  • Nouveautés
  • Lots de pierres précieuses
  • Pierres précieuses calibrées
  • Pierres gemmes à la pièce
  • Des pierres précieuses d'excellentes qualités
  • Paires correspondant
  • Pierres précieuses cabochon
  • Gemmes, briolettes et perles percées
  • Pierre de naissance
  • Sculptures en pierres précieuses
  • Pierres précieuses fantaisie
  • Pierre précieuse étoiles
  • Saphir non chauffé
Support à la clientèle en parlant d'anglaise seulement

Sans frais - USA et Canada seulement:
1-800-464-1640

International:
+66-39303404

Économisez de l'argent
Pas de frais d'expédition pour les articles supplémentaires!
$ 8,90 Livraison dans le monde

Update Translation
 
Current Value
New Value
GemSelect Gemstones
X Fermer la fenêtre
Colored Gemstones
X Fermer la fenêtre
Colored Gemstones
X Fermer la fenêtre
Colored Gemstones
Taille et poids

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart