Constantin Wild - The Value of Colors - wild about gems

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english edition







Treasure seeker. Gemstone adventures


From the waters of paradise: the fire opal


Renaissance from Africa


The most feminine gemstone of all? The moonstone


Idar-Oberstein – how hard-working adventurers turned a stony village into a gemstone metropolis


It’s the better ruby! The spinel


An underestimated star: the garnet


Since 1847. Tales of the ‘Wild’ – 400 wild years


A mineral with the character of an aristocrat: the hauyn


The promise of eternal summer: the peridot


The Value of Colours: ‘More than just rare’ - ‘Beauty is it’







The Value of Colours: more than just precious


Beautiful, and ever more rare: the imperial topaz


Cutting arts. Many-faceted craftsmanship


A lucky stone from the mermaids’ treasure chest: the aquamarine


Sky-blue like day and night


The empress and the stone of the rainbow: the tourmaline


The world’s most beautiful lemon: the canary tourmaline


Neon blue to neon green: the Paraiba tourmaline


The victors’ stone


Auf Wiedersehen - goodbye - au revoir - до свидания - 再會 - ¡adiós!




welcome Dear gemstone lover ... The history of my family goes back to the 16th century. At that time, my ancestors were already working as goldsmiths and gemstone cutters and merchants. In 1847 in Idar-Oberstein, my great-great-grandfather Johann Carl Wild IX founded the manufacturing facility I have the honour of running today, representing the fourth generation of my family in doing so. The unbroken tradition of over 400 years is proof: I have the most wonderful profession in the world! 004

My job keeps me close to nature and culture, almost all over the world, and everywhere I go I meet interesting people. Not only that. I live and work with the most beautiful and valuable gifts made to us by nature millions of years ago (though in many cases she certainly hid them well). ‘The Value of Colours’: coloured gemstones are so inspiring because they’re so individual. Every one is unique. Minerals that seem unprepossessing reveal fascinating

colours in innumerable hues. The human hand turns these into the finest stones in an endless number of shapes and cuts. Coloured gemstones are as diverse as the people who wear them. Each one is inimitable. Its type, colour and cut give it its own very special personality: vivacious or reticent, casual or elegant, melancholy, sensual or blithe, conspicuous or subtle. It’s not only Mother Earth who guards these wonders of nature – my own ‘treasure chamber’ (commonly known

as the safe) does so too. I always feel something of a frisson when I open it. The contents are always changing, and many of the stones have a very special history.

Avowal of a gemstone addict I’d like to take you on an excursion into my treasure chamber ... show you gorgeous gems and tell you stories: about coloured gemstones, their origin and tradition and their beautification from raw mineral to gem.




treasure seeker

my world Gemstone adventures Beautiful women and sparkling precious stones – dealing in fine stones might appear to be an elegant, glittering trade. One tends to imagine a gemstone merchant in a dark suit, with polished fingernails. In fact, the road from unprepossessing mineral to illustrious gem is long and arduous, and more than a little dusty. A typical example taken from my everyday life is a journey that took me from Siberia all the way to East Africa via Sri Lanka. 010

The Urals are where demantoids come from. Demantoid means ‘diamondlike’. More than 100 years ago, this green garnet was among the most popular of gems: Carl Fabergé, star jeweller at the Russian court, worked with this ‘stone of the tsars’. After the revolution it disappeared from the trade and almost faded from the memory of the gemstone industry. Until 1988: that year, I was one of the first dealers to travel to Russia and into the Urals. It was 20 below zero when we landed at Yekaterinburg Airport.

Then we set off with our new business partners in some old military vehicles, rumbling along 250 miles into the taiga. What I saw on that trip was so magnificent that now I travel to Russia again and again.

Horsetails of the Urals As now, for example: I look at more than a hundred stones and examine them for size, purity and colour. The ‘horsetails’ are especially important: these needlelike inclusions occur only in Siberian demantoids and it is they that make them so unmistakable. Lo and behold, I do indeed find a few specimens which fit the bill on all counts – so the tour is off to a good start. From the chill of Siberia ... straight to 012

Sri Lanka. It’s oppressively hot. In the region of Galle, where the mines were flooded for a long time after the tsunami in 2004, I buy some moonstones. And in Colombo I discover some wonderful pre-cut sapphires in yellow and blue. Our cutters back in Idar-Oberstein will turn these into sparkling precious stones. Suddenly, my opposite number puts a handful of grubbylooking pebbles on

the table: “Well, what about those?�

Sri Lanka: the secret of the pebbles Raw spinels! These much coveted stones resemble rubies, but shining red specimens are extremely rare. This is the moment when a good gemstone merchant needs his sixth sense. What lies hidden beneath the crust of these oval stones? Only experience and instinct will help here. I select four of them, each one a risk ...

Back at home, I shall do some careful preliminary cutting and illuminate the stones with a powerful lamp to reveal their quality. Are they pure? What about the colour? In which direction do they shine most beautifully? Which cut will bring out the best in them? It is not until this moment that the value of the

gemstone will be manifested, its shape and character determined, and with them, its chances on the market and the price it may fetch. I have lived with fine stones since the day I was born; I have been in the business myself for more than 25 years – and to this day, I am still fascinated by the almost boundless diversity of coloured gemstones.

Mystic Myanmar And so it is that I am constantly on the lookout for new deposits. In 1991, for example, I was one of the first Europeans to be able to visit Burma, known today as Myanmar, and Mogok, its ‘treasure chamber’. This thirst for adventure is fired by a long family tradition: the history of the Wild family, goldsmiths 014

and gemstone cutters, goes back to the 16th century. My ancestors worked in the old Russian imperial city of St. Petersburg or searched for new gemstones in South America.

Spirit of Africa To conclude this adventurous tour, I fly to Kenya and Tanzania. I want to look at a few mines there: because of the personal contacts, and above all because fair trade is important to me. What are the safety installations like?

What about working conditions and earnings? I have not only examined every gemstone I buy myself several times over; you could also say that I’m on first-name terms with it and familiar with its life history. And it means a lot to me that beautiful women are able to wear my stones with a clear conscience.

fiery stone From the waters of paradise: the fire opal ‘Chalchiuhtlicue’ (pronounced Chalchi-utl-ikwe) is the name of what is presumed to be the largest fire opal in the world. This translucent stone was discovered in January 2006 in the Laureles mine in Yalisco, Sierra Madre, Mexico; its raw weight was 250 carats. The raw stone itself formed an almost perfect cushion. As it already had the ideal shape for a gemstone, the amount of cutting actually required 016

was unusually small. The painstaking cushion cut and the unusual clarity of the stone give the bold orange-red a conspicuous shine and sparkle and bring out the typical character of the fire opal. The gem now weighs 132 carats and measures 38 x 29 millimetres.

A fiery stone from the waters of paradise Back in the time of the Mayas and Aztecs, the precious quetzalitzlipyollitli

or ‘stone of the bird of paradise’, as they called it, was coveted. They believed that the fire opal, with its vivacious sparkle, came from the waters of paradise. For that reason, we have named our stone after the Aztec goddess of water, Chalchiuhtlicue.

fire opal

water goddess

‘Chalchiuhtlicue’ - presumed to be the largest fire opal in the world

Fire Opal Origin: Mexico Colour: orange-red Size and weight: 38 x 29 mm, 132 carats Cut: cushion





Renaissance from Africa Very beautiful – and very rare: everyone is after the new gemstones from Africa Their names herald fantastic colours. And indeed, the canary tourmaline radiates neon yellow, the mandarin garnet a joyous orange; grossulars, or ‘gooseberries’, sparkle in grass-green. Fascinating coloured gemstones such as these have only been discovered in Africa in the last 50 years. I’m not the only one inspired by their beauty. These stunning African treasures have brought about a renaissance in coloured gemstones all over the world. 022

For thousands of years, people have admired and coveted coloured gemstones. Again and again completely new kinds crop up: the lemon-yellow canary tourmaline, for example, was discovered in 2000 in the border country between Malawi and Zambia. The mandarin garnet was found in 1991 in Namibia, and in 1994 in Nigeria. Grossulars have been known as gemstones since the 60s and are found almost all over the world. However, the variety with the most magnificent

colours, the tsavorite or tsavolite, occurs only in Kenya and Tanzania. Its very special, brilliant green is among my childhood memories. At the end of the 60s, when I was still playing with Matchbox cars, I thought my father was away travelling much too much. One day he brought back a radiant green stone. I was thrilled: “What’s that?” He couldn’t find an answer: the new discovery didn’t even have a name! It wasn’t until seven years after its discovery that it was named after the nearby Tsavo National Park.

Superb: the colours of Africa The tanzanite too makes a contribution to the magnificent colours of Africa: it was discovered in 1967 in northern Tanzania at the foot of Kilimanjaro, and has not been found anywhere else to this day. Its colours are bold, ranging from ultramarine to light violet-blue. The tanzanite was celebrated as the ‘gemstone of the 20th century’. If you ask me it puts many a sapphire in the shade. 024

Africa’s most recent gift to the world of gemstones has a bold neon shine in all shades of blue-green: it’s the Paraiba tourmaline, discovered in Nigeria in 2001. But wait a second! Isn’t Paraiba one of the federal states of Brazil? Correct! The first stones of this kind were discovered there in 1989 and named after the place where they were found. But what is now Brazil and Nigeria, on two different continents, was connected together many millions of years ago. It wasn’t until the so-called continental drift

that the super-continent of Gondwana split apart. A glance at the atlas shows that the eastern part of Brazil, bulging out into the ocean, fits snugly into the niche on the west side of Africa. Time and again I’m fascinated by the way stones from Brazil and Africa often look as though they have come from the very same mine! The multitude and fantastic colours of the new stones from Africa inspire artists too: creative goldsmiths design extravagant items of jewellery with

these expressively coloured gemstones – and the demand is enormous!

Selling is easier than buying! However, these fantastic stones do have one major disadvantage; most of them are very, very rare! Some deposits are tiny, whilst others harbour very few stones of gemstone quality. Their beauty and rareness make these stones particularly valuable: ‘more than just rare’. The mandarin garnet, for example, became a star in the 026

gemstone firmament in no time at all. I was lucky enough to acquire a few specimens which had an orange glow and were unusually pure, and unusually large as well at 40 carats and over. I sold these extremely rare stones even faster than I’d been able to buy them – a pity, really ...



The most feminine gemstone of all? The moonstone Blue moonstones – precious and meaningful Classical and extravagant, noble, sensual and mysterious: the image of the fine, smooth moonstone has many facets. And lovers of the moonstone are every bit as diverse themselves.

Classical and artistic On the one hand, the return to conservative values has brought the classical moonstone back into the 030

limelight. About a hundred years ago, in the jugendstil period, this noble stone was already very popular. Its discreet colour and blue shimmer make it ideal for artistic jewellery with a subtle feminine aura.

Mythical and magical ... But there is also another tradition: according to information handed down over generations, moonstone enhances the wearer’s intuition and capacity for empathy. This ‘stone of

lovers and fertility’ symbolises the magic and myth of the feminine. This too makes the moonstone so desirable – and so eternally feminine.

... yet masculine too! At the same time, the moonstone is a very ‘masculine’ stone – its noble colour and discreet elegance make it ideal for cufflinks. I also greatly enjoy wearing my own signet ring, which has the family coat of arms engraved in a moonstone!





A third dimension of the colour blue One thing always holds true: the larger and the more intense the colour, the more valuable the moonstone. Especially fine blue stones exhibit a ‘three-dimensional’ depth of colour, which shows itself particularly clearly when the stone is moved. Specimens of this kind are very rare and correspondingly valuable. We work exclusively with high-quality moonstones from Sri Lanka and the new finds in Tanzania. They are the only ones which shimmer in an extravagant, 034

intense blue or delicate bluish colour on an almost transparent background. Craftsmanship creating mysteries Moonstones are always cut in classical rounded cabochon shapes. Only experienced cutters can adularise the stones, in other words bring out the best in that sensual shimmer of light. Nothing less than true craftsmanship can elicit the most beautiful shimmer from the most mysterious of all gemstones.

Schloss Oberstein (oil painting by August Becker, c. 1847)


city of gemstones

Idar-Oberstein How hard-working adventurers turned a stony village into a gemstone metropolis ‘The world center of colored stones’ – that is how the Jewelers’ Circular Keystone, the largest specialist publication in the industry, describes Idar-Oberstein. The people of our town have earned this title in centuries of hard work ... with diligence and skilled craftsmanship – and plenty of courage accompanied by an almost unquenchable thirst for adventure. With its stony soil, in the border country between France and Germany which has witnessed so many terrible 038

struggles, the hilly Hunsrück has always been a poor area. When, at the end of the 15th century, agates were found here, it was a real stroke of luck. The force of the water in the wild Idar stream made it possible to work the stones. In time, more and more cutting shops sprang up, strung along the Idar like pearls on a necklace. The area around the villages of Idar and Oberstein quickly developed to become the centre of stone-cutting. The cutters were followed by gold

Engraver at the lathe (c. 1900)

Old workshop: agate cutting centre (pre-1900)


and silversmiths, who set the precious stones and designed jewellery with them. As early as the 18th century, both high-quality one-offs and massproduced jewellery were being made in workshops large and small.

From Idar-Oberstein to Brazil: men and women After the agates, jasper and rock crystal were also discovered in the Hunsrück. Our family too had a jasper mine. The stones produced 042

there were coloured with ‘Berlin blue’ and sold as a substitute for lapis lazuli under the name of ‘German lapis’. But the yield already began to drop off in the 18th century. Once again the area became impoverished. Famines were frequent. So it was that many people emigrated at the beginning of the 19th century; some went all the way to South America, including members of my family. Brazil had open-cast gemstone mines, and gemstones were found in rivers!

Paradise! In 1827 emigrants from IdarOberstein discovered the most major agate deposits on earth in the Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil’s large amethyst mines were also discovered by people from the Hunsrück. But where were these finds to be processed? Back at home, of course. So in 1834, the first delivery arrived. Right on into the 19th century, it was exclusively stones from the local area which were processed on the Idar. Then, agates from Brazil – mostly

Kirschgartenschleife (cutting-mill ’cherry orchard’, 1905)

brought from overseas as ballast in sailing-vessels – saved the gemstone industry from ruin.

From Brazil to IdarOberstein: gemstones ... Yet it wasn’t only raw stones that the émigrés sent back to their former homeland: in South America, they also made the acquaintance of churrasco, meat roasted on a spit over an open fire. And that was the forerunner of Idar-Oberstein’s famous spiessbraten. 044

... and joints roasted on spits After 1871 the little gemstone metropolis experienced the greatest upturn in its history. Coloured gemstones from all over the world were cut here, and in 1886, the first German diamond-cutting centre was founded. Up to the present day, a mixture of agates, carnelians and other quartzes such as still serve as jewellery and as a means of payment in various African countries is produced in Idar-Oberstein.

Today, Idar-Oberstein is the only gemstone centre in the world where all kinds of coloured gemstone are processed and traded in. When new deposits or new stones are discovered, it is specialists from Idar-Oberstein whose opinion is sought. Knowledge amassed over centuries and thorough German training produce highly qualified craftsmen who do not merely have a command of cutting. They know how to judge and treat raw stones properly and they also have the creativity and skill to transform 046

complex stones into extravagant works of art. Accordingly, the cutting centres on the German Gemstone Route are still regarded as leaders worldwide; they have been able to maintain their outstanding position in the processing of medium to very fine stones in economically difficult times too.

Arts - research - education Numerous research and education institutions help to ensure that this

continues to be the case: the German Gemmological Association, founded in 1932, has developed to become one of the internationally most renowned institutions of technical and scientific gemmology. As its vice-president, I have a very special interest in the many new kinds of coloured gemstone. The Trier University of Applied Sciences teaches gemstone and jewellery design here. The Research Institute for Mineral and Metallic Materials, Gemstones and Precious Metals (FEE) specialises

in the growing of crystals and the manufacture of optical elements for lasers. That is not all: the German Gemstone Museum and the German Diamond and Gemstone Bourse are also located here.

It’s the people who matter Agate cutters, goldsmiths and gemstone merchants – the history of my family is typical of IdarOberstein. It represents the courage and thirst for adventure which have 048

enabled the people of Idar-Oberstein to survive and achieve success. Whether they adapted to continually changing conditions at home or emigrated, whether they travel today as merchants in the countries of the world and feel at home there, making new finds and opening up new markets – they all work daily to defend and consolidate the outstanding status of Idar-Oberstein.

Idar-Oberstein with the ruin of Burg Bosselstein (12th century) and the Felsenkirche (15th century)


just red It’s the better ruby! The spinel “This ruby is a spinel!” It wasn’t until about 150 years ago that the spinel was recognised as a mineral in its own right. Lo and behold: some well known ‘rubies’ turned out to be spinels, among them the Black Prince’s Ruby in the English Imperial State Crown and the pearshaped stones in the crown of the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria. This got the spinel some bad press. Later on, it tended to be seen as something of a substitute. But for a 052

few years now, this beautiful stone has been getting the appreciation it deserves. Personally, I think the spinel is the better ruby. Why? It’s red. It’s rare. It’s hard. It offers hues from a cool carmine to a warm golden red. And it’s many times more beautiful than a ruby, for its sparkle is mostly clear.

red spinel


Extravagant and classical: red – the colour of love and life, happiness and wealth, warmth and strength

Spinel Origin: Vietnam Colour: deep red Size and weight: 15 x 12 mm, 8 carats Cut: oval




An underestimated star: the garnet Garnets are stars in the gemstone firmament – yet these wonderful valuable gemstones are often underestimated. For many of us, the garnet evokes memories of that brownish-red brooch grandma used to wear. In most cases this will have contained Bohemian pyrope – in the 18th and 19th centuries, the ‘fiery-eyed one’ was very fashionable with the European bourgeoisie. The ‘Bohemian garnet’ was esteemed – yet disparaged as a 058

‘semi-precious stone’: wicked tongues called it the “poor man’s gemstone”. The garnet is still somewhat dogged by its history, being regarded – particularly in Western Europe – as not very valuable. For all that, its large family has more than ten very diverse members, in all shades of green, yellow, orange, red and brown. In the last 40 years alone, three new kinds have been discovered, and they make grandma’s ‘carbuncle’ look decidedly unimpressive: demantoids, grossulars


and mandarin garnets are absolutely first-class stones.

The ‘stone of the tsars’: a garnet! This applies particularly to the demantoid, which literally means ‘diamond-like’. As early as 1900, this favourite stone of the famous St. Petersburg court jeweller Carl Fabergé was surrounded by myth: the ‘stone of the tsars’ was brilliantly green, mysterious and very hard to get. Yet 060

the demantoid, managing without the ‘surname’ of garnet, was known as such to only a few specialists. After the Russian revolution in 1917, the ‘green diamond’ swiftly vanished into oblivion. Shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe I was one of the first merchants to travel in Russia. It was there that I first set eyes on the legendary garnets with their brilliant shine. Their hallmark is their ‘horsetails’, extremely fine, dark needles which run only

through Russian demantoids. So I was able to contribute to the rediscovery of this fine stone by jewellers, and to its quickly becoming one of their favourites. Solitaire or pavé, a small demantoid – specimens of half a carat or more are extremely rare – will give any piece of jewellery an incomparable radiance.

Grandiose colours ... As well as this rediscovery, there have been some quite new finds. In the 1960s, 062

grossulars (‘gooseberries’) appeared on the scene, including the much coveted tsavorite from East Africa and the Mali garnet, from delicate green to pink. In 1991, radiant orange spessartines were discovered in the north of Namibia. Until that time, spessartines were more or less unknown as gems, as specimens of really good colour and quality were hardly available at all. But the mandarin garnet, the

youngest member of the garnet family, wowed specialists and jewellery lovers right away.

... and a sparkle like that of a diamond I too love these magnificent garnets. They sparkle like diamonds, – in colours that seem supernatural, sometimes with an almost neonlike intensity. That gives them a vivacity hardly any other gemstone possesses. Apart from that, they are easy to 064

work with and, with a hardness on the Mohs scale of 6.5 to 7.5, suitable for all kinds of jewellery. Today, these wonderful new garnets are in demand worldwide. The stone suits the optimistic attitude of the Americans and the extravagant style of the Europeans; in Asia the fantastic green hues of demantoid and tsavorite are vastly popular. And I hope that the world of the garnets will produce a surprise or two in the years to come.

Business premises and family residence (stables pre-1800, extended and redesigned 1911, renovated 2003)


since 1847


Tales of the ‘Wild’ – 400 wild years Agate cutters, goldsmiths and gemstone merchants: the story of my family The name of Wild is among those most frequently encountered in Idar-Oberstein. It is borne by several gemstone merchants and cutters, and in one way or another all of us are related by marriage. Members of my family were probably among the very first gemstone cutters in IdarOberstein. Our coat of arms bears the date 1557. 068

The family history has been traced without a break back to the birth of Johann Nicol Wild in 1673. It began in classical manner: the agate cutter married the daughter of a colleague. Their son Johannes, born in 1711, learned the trade of goldsmith. Known as ‘alter Gehännes’, he was one of the founders of the goldsmiths’ guild. His son Johann Carl, called ‘Gehännese Carl’, was also a member. Gehännese Carl’s daughter Anna Eva was widowed at the tender age of 28.

Later, she fell for the young goldsmith Johann Carl Werle, descended from minstrels from Strasbourg. She bore him a son in 1820 – but he married someone else.

Forceful women ... Illegitimate or not, Johann Carl Wild was my great-grandfather. He was raised lovingly under the matriarchal wing and developed to become a man who was every bit as adventurous as he was ambitious and enterprising –

My great-grandfather Johann Carl Wild IX, known as ‘Russ-Carl’ (c. 1880)

Former Winter Palace of the tsars, now the Hermitage museum, St. Petersburg, Russia


just like his father, and his mother too for that matter. At 21, after his apprenticeship as a goldsmith, Johann Carl took to the road and worked as an assistant goldsmith in far-off Hamburg and Hanover. In 1845/46, he betook himself – what a journey! – to St. Petersburg, at that time the centre of goldsmithery. Whether or not he ever made the acquaintance of Peter Carl Fabergé, who first saw the light of day in 1846 as the son of a jeweller in the Russian capi072

tal and was later to become the most famous goldsmith in the world at the court of the tsar, we shall never know.

... adventurous men On his return, my much travelled greatgrandfather was given the nickname Russ-Carl. He didn’t take to that at all, so he had a look in the parish register and counted the number of his ancestors who had borne the name of Johann or Johannes since 1557. Now he called himself Joh. Carl

Wild IX. His goldsmith’s business was flourishing; he entered the gemstone and cutting trade and founded J. C. Wild IX, Idar. He received awards at the world exhibitions in Philadelphia (1876), Sydney (1879) and Melbourne (1880). Considering how onerous and lengthy journeys were in those days, I wonder how often he can possibly have been at home in Idar-Oberstein. At any rate, his ascent was surely only possible with the help of his dynamic wife Caroline, who, quite by the bye, gave birth to nine children.

Schloss Oberstein (colour engraving by CuF Wiesner, c. 1860)

The Kirschgartenschleife (c. 1905)

The Kirschgartenschleife (cutting-mill ’cherry orchard’, c. 1905)

The Felsenkirche (colour engraving by Jacob Danner, c. 1860)


On the way up The youngest son, Wilhelm Constantin Wild (b. 1866), took over his father’s business, which has gone by the name of W. Constantin Wild & Co. since 1901. On land where a cherry orchard had housed the cutting-mill known as the Kirschgartenschleife, demolished about 1910, my grandfather WCW began to put up new buildings in 1911. The property, at Hauptstrasse 103, is still the registered office of the company and family seat to this day. 076

He guided the firm, which at times boasted 150 employees, through war and hyper-inflation, times in which all the debts were bad and all the stocks abroad destroyed. My father Fritz, born in 1905, joined the company in 1928. He founded branches in Pforzheim, Berlin, Paris, London and Milan. In the 30s, long before the aeroplane had become an everyday means of travelling, he visited India and Egypt, still British colonies at the time, voyaged by ship several times to

America and Brazil and often travelled in the East. After the Second World War all the assets had gone, and my father had to start again from scratch. That renaissance was a success; father ran the company until his death in 1984. I was just 20 – so my mother Christel held the fort until I had completed my training. Now it is I who am responsible for the family gemstone venture – in the fourth generation, as manager of the company founded by the ‘bastard’ Johann Carl Wild IX, a.k.a. Russ-Carl.

Raw gemstone auction in the Wild yard (post-war years)

Fritz Wild (r.) and Max Hahn in Egypt (1964)

My father Fritz Wild (r.) with his friend and colleague Max Hahn in Rio (pre-1960)

My mother Christel Wild as an apprentice (1953)

My grandfather W. Constantin Wild (WCW), his wife Wilhelmine nĂŠe Darstein and my father Fritz Wild (c. 1947)



A mineral with the character of an aristocrat: the hauyn “A nice sapphire, don’t you think?” I must admit that I am often amused by the confusion hauyns (or haüyns) always seem to cause. Only genuine experts are familiar with this rare stone; it is one of the few gemstones found in Germany, mainly on the Laacher See, very near my home town of Idar-Oberstein, and in the Eifel region. Volcanoes used to be active there: hauyns are found in pumice stone, dark lava which has solidified to become 080

basalt. The crystals adhere to the rock as small, partly molten pockets or are trapped in cavities as irregular grains. Only very few crystals of gemstone quality weigh more than half a carat.

1807: A French godfather ... The mineral, named after the French crystallographer René-Just Haüy (1743 - 1822), has been known since 1807. Astonishingly enough, the hauyn has only been in use as a gemstone since 1973. Its sapphire-blue colour and

transparency quickly turned it into a much coveted rarity.

... names an arcane sapphireblue German stone Being relatively sensitive, with a hardness of between five and six on the Mohs scale, the delicate hauyn is set in soft metal with a laser. I like it best when it has been set in a necklace, for then the light lends a special emphasis to its radiant blue, its shine and its transparency.



An unusually large small stone: a 3-carat oval-cut hauyn

Hauyn Origin: Germany Colour: blue Size and weight: 11 x 9 mm, 3 carats Cut: oval


treasure trove The promise of eternal summer: the peridot It was the mid-1980s: I was studying at the GIA, the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California, when my father died. I had to graduate fast so as to be able to get started in the family business more quickly: I had to learn all about raw and cut stones, make personal contacts with customers and suppliers, familiarise myself with equipment and accounts, and explore house, workshop and warehouse down to the very last nook. My first lesson: the real treasure is in 084

the raw stone warehouse, not the safe. In countless little boxes, innumerable ‘pebbles’, uncut and unprepossessing, doze on toward their future as valuable coloured gemstones. An apprentice in my own house, I ran into a small treasure there. It was a strange but auspicious encounter: something had got jammed between two drawers. A firm yank – and some greenish stones tumbled out of a small canvas bag and rolled across the floor. Tourmalines? Garnets? I was


scratching my head – but my mother knew the answer at once: “Peridots!”

Surprise find in our very own cellar Peridots – there was a limit to my enthusiasm. I had been familiar with the olivine, or chrysolite (from the Greek chrysos – ‘gold’ and lithos – ‘stone’) since my childhood – my mother often wore a set of peridots. But that was ‘everyday jewellery’. The green stone wasn’t thought of as anything special. 086

Never mind – first of all, off to the cutting-shop with them. What came to light there was indeed a surprise: gold-green crystals of the finest quality! So where were they from? We analysed their colour and purity, had a closer look at the little bag and thought about where father’s last journeys had taken him. It seemed likely that he had brought the stones back from Arizona in the 1970s. Nowadays, we only get stones of comparable quality from China and Pakistan.

In the 80s, the peridot led a shadowy existence, hidden away like the ones I found in that old chest. Once upon a time, the crusaders brought the peridot to Central Europe. It adorned churches and sacred objects; it underwent a further revival in the baroque period. But then its long slumber began. In contrast to its importance among the North American Indians, in Europe the peridot now really only played a notable role in medicine: it was said to promote vigour and the ability to 088

learn, ease sorrow, anger and rage and liberate the wearer from feelings of guilt.

Out of the shadow into the limelight In the mid-1990s its reputation gradually began to change: in the high mountains of Pakistan, at an altitude of over 4000 metres, very fine, brilliant gold-green crystals were discovered. The deposits were large, but mining was painstaking and only

possible in summer. At first, the unequalled beauty of the ‘Kashmir peridot’ made it a bit of a dark horse. Today, it is among the most coveted coloured gemstones worldwide. Its seductive, lush green hues and clarity have made it a strong competitor of the tourmaline and the emerald.

All the greens of the summer The peridot is one of the very few gemstones which come in one colour only. But this stone of the month of 090

August displays the most beautiful green tones of the summer: its range includes olive shades, the famous goldgreen of the stones from Pakistan, a clear yellow green, a light lime green and the bluish green typical of stones from Burma. Very small but beautiful yellow-green stones come from China. And the best thing about this gemstone is that its colour will flatter the complexion of any woman. So what became of the stones from the little bag? Well, our cutters turned

them into works of art – oval, round and triangular. I sold almost all of them that same year – most to the USA, back to their (probable) place of origin. Today, those enigmatic crystals are worth many times more than the price they fetched at the time: the peridot and the colour green are absolutely en vogue.

Saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea), the ‘monarchs of the desert’, in the Arizonan desert

Home of the peridot: the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona


the value of colours ‘Beauty is it’

My favourite stones. The colour, the shape, the cut – each individual stone is simply gorgeous. For people who appreciate the decorative value of high-quality stones. 094

the value of colours ‘More than just rare’


My treasures. More than beautiful, large and rare. Extravagant and valuable – these coloured gemstones are something really special – ‘more than just rare’. For those seeking unique specimens or wishing to invest in coloured gems. 096

Imperial Topaz Green Beryl Morganite Aquamarine Yellow Beryl Kunzite

Rubellite Tanzanite Peridot Aquamarine Pink Tourmaline Blue Sapphire

priceless The Value of Colours: more than just precious Coloured gemstones are unique and individual, and combine real values with conceptual ones. This is reflected in our motto, which in turn has become the title of this book: ‘The Value of Colours’. There are coloured gemstones which really are very special: among them are new discoveries found only in a single place. Some deposits are extremely small; others hold only a few individual specimens of gemstone quality, or only very small ones. Yet others have been 098

known and coveted for a long time – but supplies from the mines are exhausted. All these coloured gemstones have one thing in common: they are very rare – much rarer than diamonds. The new rarities, for example, include Paraiba and canary tourmalines and mandarin garnets. The imperial topaz is a classic, but it is hardly found anywhere at all now. The Russian demantoid is a rediscovered gem, but unfortunately there are only very few crystals of more than half a carat.

‘SHORT’ – coloured gemstones which will increase in value Stones like these are among the most valuable gems of all. Traditionally, the specialist values a gemstone by the ‘4 Cs’: colour – clarity – cut – carat. But there are further criteria which apply to outstanding coloured gemstones. I have defined them and brought them together in the acronym ‘SHORT’: shape – history – origin – rarity – type. There is not a single well known

gemstone which gets top marks in all these categories – but any coloured gem which excels in more than one of them guarantees value which will continue to rise in the long term.

“There’s only one of those in the whole wide world!” Having said that, the material value is only one aspect. The conceptual value of coloured gemstones is at least as important: their great diversity, their endless nuances of colour and the

large number of different cuts put them right up among the most individual decorative and collector’s items. Each coloured gemstone – or each set – is unique: coloured gemstones are, in the true sense of the word, incomparable. Often, their beauty goes beyond the usual assessment criteria – rendering them truly invaluable. A woman who wears a coloured gemstone knows full well that she is the only one to possess that particular stone in that particular shape and colour and that particular cut.

The many stories which have grown up around valuable coloured gemstones make them even more desirable: the demantoid, stone of the tsars and favourite of the famous Carl Fabergé; the pink tourmaline, so much coveted by the last Chinese empress that she bought up almost the entire world stock; the ‘stone of the bird of paradise’ or quetzalitzlipyollitli, as the Mayas and Aztecs called the precious fire opal; and the hauyn, that rare stone found in Germany. Can there be anyone who would not wish to possess such a stone?

brazilian beauty Beautiful, and ever more rare: the imperial topaz What an adventure! Through Brazil aged 22, with my younger brother. Rumbling through remote areas in cars fit for scrap, goggling at unfamiliar animals, trying equally unfamiliar food and haggling with natives. Far from wasting time I was busy with commitments: I was there on business. When my father passed away I was just 20 and right in the middle of my studies. My mother took on the leadership of the company; I had to learn and get going at the same time. 100

From many points of view it was a case of starting from scratch. My father hadn’t had time to introduce me to his business partners around the world as his successor. So it was a good thing, at least, that my name was exactly the same as that of the company! Off I went to Teófilo Otoni, Belo Horizonte and Ouro Preto in the well known Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, down in the south-east of the country: “Hello,” I would begin. “I’m Constantin Wild, son of Fritz Wild.”

imperial topaz

A whippersnapper on a shopping-spree In my youthful exuberance, I thought that as a gemstone merchant I would be able to pick out the most beautiful aquamarines, emeralds and tourmalines and the mine owners would be glad to get rid of them. Not a bit of it! It started with the language: French and English weren’t a problem – but Portuguese? And I had but little 102

experience in valuing precious raw stones. The most important thing was to learn very swiftly that in Brazil you select the customers you want for your best and rarest specimens! That was the deeper meaning of ‘making contacts’! I was lucky: the high reputation of my father, and presumably a modicum of sympathy for the whippersnapper from Alemanha, meant that in the end I came home with a few really beautiful stones. And a few imperial topazes – though they were not exactly people’s favourites in the 80s.

Most valuable: imperial topazes in gold and pink But now I understood why my father had always called the Brazilian imperial topaz his favourite stone! Since that trip, it has been my absolute favourite too: those fantastic reddish-gold hues and that really special sparkle are simply unique! When highly polished, the facets of an imperial topaz flash with a platinum shimmer. And its hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale makes this stone virtually indestructible. 104

The topaz has been known for at least 2000 years. Nevertheless, the origin of its name remains unclear. In Sanskrit tapas means fire; in Greek topazos is a legendary island in the Red Sea and topazion a light-green stone. But the Greek source probably refers to the peridot and the place where it was found, on the island of Zebirget in the Red Sea.


A remarkable gemstone “This combination of attributes is exceptionally rare in natural topaz”, is the verdict of the Gübelin Gem Lab in Lucerne. This extremely rare four-coloured imperial topaz from Ouro Preto features a smooth blend of orange, shocking pink, violet and red. The “notable gem”, with its pearshaped cut, weighs 28.91 carats and is 33 x 13 millimetres in size.

Gemstone as character assassin! Topazes can be colourless, and come in shades of blue, brown and green; it is however the pink and reddishgold hues that have always been regarded as particularly valuable. In about 1800, the yellow stone was still highly esteemed – but then the so-called ‘gold topaz’ or ‘quartz topaz’ began to triumph. This name, now no longer allowed, actually denoted the inferior citrine – spoiling the reputation of the genuine topaz. 108

Today, so as to be distinguished from less valuable quartzes, the latter is sometimes referred to as a ‘precious topaz’. Only rare Brazilian stones, in those coveted red-orange-shockingpink and brownish hues with the golden shine, are known as ‘imperial topazes’. For a long time, this fine stone was strictly for the connoisseurs. In recent years it has looked set to undergo a renaissance. The problem is that meanwhile this most beautiful of topazes, the Brazilian imperial, has become very rare.

Cr 3+ – that imperial touch! In 1735, some topazes found in Brazil were so beautiful that the epithet ‘imperial’ seemed appropriate. Today too, the most valuable stones come from here, and only they bear the name ‘imperial topaz’. That makes them ‘relatives’ of the Burmese jade, for it is only with these two stones, which both get their colour from the rare element chromium, that the noblest are titled ‘imperial’.

A sparkle in my luggage Strictly speaking, the reasons for this represent good news for Brazil: more stringent environmental standards, rising wages and a stronger currency. However, this has meant that many mines with small deposits are no longer commercially viable. In recent years I have grasped every opportunity to acquire Brazilian gemstones, including aquamarines, green and red tourmalines and above all the wonderful imperial topaz. Of 110

course none of us has a crystal ball, but outstanding coloured gemstones from Brazil look likely to become rarer and rarer.


ancient glory The queen’s stone

Weighing a good 18 carats, this deep pink topaz is said to have belonged to Marie-Antoinette. The daughter of the Austrian empress Maria Theresa was married in 1770 – aged 14 – to the French Dauphin Louis, later to become King Louis XVI. Whether the stone actually adorned that famous hand or not, one thing is certain: my father had it re-cut and re-set in the 60s in our workshop, and gave it to my mother as a ring. 114



cutting arts


Many-faceted craftsmanship Dull little rods of an indefinable colour. Dirty grey stones. Glassy green pebbles. The items I unpack after a journey don’t look terribly prepossessing. The road they have to take to become valuable coloured gemstones is smoothed by the highly qualified craftsmen on our premises. Germany has some outstanding specialists when it comes to working on coloured gemstones: Êbaucheurs, stone-cutters, lapidaries and engravers have many 120

years of training behind them and command some very special craft techniques. Stones cut in Germany are among the finest in the world.

Not without risk: the ĂŠbaucheur The first thing in working a stone is the preliminary form of the gem: the approximate shape, the top


face and the underside, facets or cabochon? These decisions bear a high risk: the ‘wastage’ with gemstones is between 50 and 90 per cent. If the ébaucheur makes a poor decision, it may not be a 20-carat gem that emerges from a stone weighing ten grammes, but only a 10-carat one. To be able to work with the due diligence, the ébaucheur needs a strong lamp, a good magnifying glass, an eagle eye, imagination, the ability to think in abstract terms, and courage. Usually, the work of an ébaucheur is a job for 124

which the boss himself prefers to take responsibility. When it’s done, the specialists can set to work.

The stone cutter: round shapes, soft shimmer The stone cutter is responsible for producing smooth surfaces. These include flats and spheres, and

convex, ‘hilly’ cabochons. This profession probably originated in India – an ancient, highly developed culture with rich gemstone deposits. Creating these smooth surfaces means bringing out the shine in gemstones which are mostly opaque. Adularising, the shimmer of the moonstone, depends just as much on the skill of the cutter as does the sparkling asterism of the star sapphire or the cat’s eye effect (chatoyancy) in the chrysoberyl. Colourful, radiant fire opals with their 126

vivacious surface shimmer are also worked by the stone cutter.

Many-faceted profession: the lapidary The lapidary gives transparent gemstones the facets which make them sparkle and shine. The art of faceting has been widely known since the 15th century. It is seen as the consummate art of stoneworking, and it is indeed far from easy to give a three-centimetre aquamarine somewhere near 800 precise facets.


Many cutters specialise in particular stones, with whose special characteristics they are most familiar. Triangular or rectangular facets, step or diamond cut: in spite of modern aids, the lapidary requires plenty of experience and patience, a good eye and a steady hand.

Digging deep or standing proud: the engraver The old term ‘stone carver’ describes the profession of the engraver 130

precisely. It was the Egyptians who created the first figurative depictions, the famous scarabs. The Greeks and Romans too cultivated the art of glyptics. With the emergence of family coats of arms and seals in the Middle Ages, the art of stone carving flourished in Europe.

Three-dimensional work is the classical métier of the engraver. Engravers cut images out of – or into – gemstones which are often multi-coloured: if the motif is a raised relief, the result is referred to as a cameo – mostly seen on a brooch. Images of the most famous cameo crown recently toured the world: like her mother before her, Swedish Crown Princess Victoria wore an antique cameo diadem at her wedding – contributed by French Princess Josephine to her marriage 132

in 1823 to Oscar, the Swedish heir apparent. Intaglio, the ‘negative’ image, is mainly seen on signet rings: here, the motif is cut deep into the stone. Modern stone designs such as step cuts or extravagant floral shapes are also challenging jobs for the engraver.

Teamwork for engraver and lapidary Many gemstones pass through the


hands of a number of specialists. These include stones with mixed cuts: the ‘buff tops’ feature facets on the underside and a smooth cabochon on the top face. They have the same effect as a magnifying glass, through which a vivacious picture of the facets can be seen.

Prizewinning: our concave cut Other coloured gemstones are first engraved and then given facets or a cabochon cut. These include heart136

shaped stones, and the prizewinning concave cut developed for us. Special shapes, for example pear-shaped briolettes or marquises, also call for special craft techniques. As a gemstone merchant who is offered many cut and uncut stones from all over the world every day, I admire the skills and dexterity of German craftsmen – and of course especially those of my own employees.

the blue

A lucky stone from the mermaids’ treasure chest: the aquamarine

A silver-blue twinkle like that of the ocean under an azure sky. A clear blue shine like that of the waves in the sun. A turquoise-blue radiance like that of foaming sea-spray. A steel-blue gleam like that of the sea boiling in the storm. A deep blue sparkle like that of the sea beneath the stars. 138



The seven seas in a gemstone This blue gemstone owes its name to the water of the oceans – aqua marina in Latin. Indeed, the aquamarine features all the colours of the sea, including crystal-clear blue, greenish and greyish blue, intense, almost dark blue, and everything in between. According to the legend, the aquamarine comes from the treasure chest of the mermaids. It has been regarded as the mariner’s lucky stone since ancient times.

Just as the sea encompasses the whole world, aquamarines are found in all the continents. Even in Europe – or at least at its edge: formerly, many stones came from the Russian Urals, which form the border between Europe and Asia.

A stone of the world: at home in all the continents Aquamarines have also been found in Australia and in Asian countries including Afghanistan, China,

Aqua-Spectacles The German word for eyeglasses is brille – and its origin is the beryl: in ancient times beryls were used as magnifying glasses. At the end of the 13th century corrective eyeglasses with beryl lenses were invented in Italy. The Latin beryllus evolved from the Greek beryllos; this gave rise to the Middle High German berille, later brille. 142

India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. In Africa, finds have been made for example in Kenya and Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They also come from the USA, and of course from Brazil. The traditions of these countries, varied as they are, all ascribe positive forces to this stone. The aquamarine promises a happy marriage and is said to make its wearer happy, and wealthy into the bargain – an ideal gemstone, not only for lovers and married couples. 144

By your leave: beryl – one of the best families Like the green emerald, the yellow golden beryl, the pink morganite and the red bixbite, the aquamarine belongs to the large beryl family. It has traces of the element iron to thank for its colour. And it exhibits a clear, pure radiance much more often than its famous green cousin. The world’s most valuable aquamarines shine in an intense deep blue: the

famous Santa Maria aquamarines from Minas Gerais in Brazil are named after the place where they were found. But now the deposits there are more or less exhausted, so it is very fortunate for gemstone lovers that stones of the same seductive hue have been found in Mozambique, in East Africa: this beautiful relative is known as the Santa Maria Africana. I myself have often been to Brazil; now I travel to Africa to make sure I obtain the most beautiful specimens, right where they are found.

People’s favourite stone, all over the world Right across the world, people love the aquamarine. This gemstone is simply an all-rounder: it offers every lover of jewellery her favourite tone of blue. And it’s suitable for any shape: the subtle, classical, octagonal emerald cut, many-faceted cuts in all rounded and pointed shapes, the modern cabochon, and innumerable fantasy cuts. And everywhere, it leaves a lasting impression, whether 146

it’s in a classical necklace or some modern design object. And that of course makes the most difficult question of all even trickier: what’s your favourite?

tanzanite Sky-blue like day and night One size, one cut, two shades of blue. – What a pair! 148



An extravagant combination for lovers of expressive colours

Tanzanite (left)

Aquamarine (right)

Origin: Tanzania

Origin: Katur, India

Colour: blue-violet

Colour: azure blue

Size and weight: 22 x 19 mm, 43 carats

Size and weight: 22 x 19 mm, 38 carats

Cut: emerald

Cut: emerald



The empress and the stone of the rainbow: the tourmaline Much as I travel, all over the world, I hardly ever get time to have a good look at a country. But the palace museum in Beijing was a must: the collections shown there, from many millennia of Chinese empires, are just overwhelming. But what really surprised me was the incredible amount of pink tourmaline I got to see: cut and engraved in ornaments and buttons, vessels and figures, worked into cushions and clothing. I had had no idea! So it was that a European stood in awe in front of 152

wonderful Asian works of art, made from American gemstones. At the end of the 19th century, pink tourmalines were discovered in California. Tz’u-Hsi, the dowager empress of Hsien-feng and last empress of China, adored that stone. Some 90 tonnes were found and brought to the surface – and the empress, very wealthy, bought almost the entire find. She paid high prices, so the search for more centred around the pink tourmaline – the pink-green


‘watermelon tourmaline’, so valuable today, being neglected for the time being and becoming easy pickings for treasure hunters in the years ahead.

Uniquely diverse: a stone in 50 colours ... This true story is not the only one to have grown up around the tourmaline. It owes its nickname, the ‘stone of the rainbow’, to an Egyptian legend, according to which it had to pass by a rainbow on its long journey up from 154

the centre of the Earth and in doing so took on all the latter’s colours. And indeed, the colour spectrum of the tourmaline does offer some 50 nuances: the indigolite shines in blue, the verdelite displays a clear green and the rubellite is radiant in red or pink; and Mother Earth proffers violet, orange, turquoise and black specimens too. Having said that, pure, radiant yellow in tourmalines used to

be as rare as the unicorn – until 2000, when the canary tourmaline was discovered.

... and in changing colours The Sinhalese word tura mali means ‘stone with mixed colours’, and tourmalines do indeed come as two and three-coloured crystals;

Understanding tourmalines Once cut, this gem is not very sensitive – yet the raw stone, which cracks easily, is very much so. However, the real specialists among the gemstone cutters ‘understand’ the tourmaline, difficult though it often is. Their knowledge, experience and ‘sixth sense’ tell them how and in which direction each individual stone needs to be cut. 156

some also display the same light effect as a cat’s eye. In many, the colour changes or seems to vary in intensity depending on the angle of observation or when there is a change from daylight to artificial light. The experts refer to this as pleochroism – multi-colouredness.

Popular not only in the Middle Kingdom

sway today: the tourmaline is among the most esteemed stones in China – like the valuable green jade which has been admired for thousands of years. However, the tourmaline not only has aficionados in the Middle Kingdom: its beauty and diversity make it an object of desire worldwide. Red and green are the most popular colours, and they are united in the two-tone watermelon tourmaline.

The enthusiasm of Empress Tz’u-Hsi for the pink tourmaline still holds

Yet the tourmaline offers new surprises time and again. Two new discoveries


are very beautiful, extremely rare and have values to match: the lemonyellow canary tourmaline and the blue-green Paraiba tourmaline. I do of course also have a few of these extravagant ‘specialities’ in my safe, and would like to show them to you.

Aschentrekker First, though, I have another story. In the Netherlands the tourmaline is referred to as an aschentrekker. The reason: when Dutch trading

vessels first brought back tourmalines from Ceylon, in 1703, children at play noticed that tourmalines, warmed by the sun, attracted particles of lighter material such as paper. From that day on, the practical Dutch used the stone to draw the ash out of their meerschaum pipes.




The world ’s most beautiful lemon: the canary tourmaline In ancient China, yellow was the colour of the emperor – his subjects were not allowed to wear it. Yellow still symbolises the earth and the ‘middle’ today; it stands for glory and progress and is regarded as the most beautiful colour of all. I am proud to be among the few who can offer the canary tourmaline, with its lemon-yellow radiance. For enthusiasts who associate a classical style with an increasingly extravagant taste, this very rare stone is perfect. 164


starring Many-faceted sparkle

Canary tourmaline Origin: Malawi Colour: neon yellow Size and weight: 18 x 14 mm, 14 carats Cut: scissors


copper ... Neon blue to neon green: the Paraiba tourmaline

In clothing fashion, shrill neon colours were special eye-catchers in the 1980s. In 1987, a new gemstone emerged and showed just how fine and elegant neon can be: the Paraiba tourmaline. This blue-green stone has the element copper to thank for its bold shine. The large number of facets enhances this effect and seems to awaken the stone to life and movement. 168



As rare as unicorns

Paraiba tourmaline Origin: Mozambique Colour: neon turquoise Size and weight: 18 x 14 mm, 14 carats Cut: oval


heroic feats The victors’ stone 21 green tourmalines adorn the trophy vied for by 18 powerful squads in Germany every year. Cheered by hundreds of thousands, these young warriors take part in clashes almost all over the country – 34 fixtures in all. At the end, the victorious team is entitled to hold aloft the silver prize adorned with gemstones: the championship bowl of the first division of Germany’s national soccer league, the Fußball-Bundesliga. It was in 1949 that the silver trophy was designed and manufactured by Professor 172

Elisabeth Treskow and her students at the famous Kölner Werkschulen. It was adorned with five large and 11 small green tourmalines, cut en cabochon.

Trophies with tourmalines The bowl, with a diameter of 50 centimetres, weighs some six kilos. The names of all the German champions since 1903 are engraved on the challenge cup. In 1981 it had to be enlarged: it was fitted with an outer ring, four and a half centimetres wide, with

tourmalines The world’s most coveted salad bowl

five more tourmaline cabochons set in gold. Today, the silver trophy, known affectionately as the ‘salad bowl’, weighs approximately 11 kilos. There are 12 other tourmalines which are coveted almost just as much: those that adorn the cup of the German Soccer Association (DFB). This cup was designed in 1964 by the Cologne artist Wilhelm Nagel, also at the Kölner Werkschulen. The DFB-Pokal is 52 centimetres tall, weighs 5.7 kilos and has a capacity of eight litres. Made 174

of sterling silver, the trophy is plated with 250 grammes of refined gold and decorated with 12 green tourmalines, 12 rock crystals and 18 nephrites. The winners’ names are engraved on the base. In 1991 the height of the base was increased by five centimetres – so now there’s room for winners’ names until the year 2020. Even if the tourmalines used here are not suitable as gems, for many young men in Germany they are probably the most coveted gemstones of all.


and lastly

Auf Wiedersehen - goodbye - au revoir до свидания - 再會 - ¡adiós! Dear reader, this is the end of our tour through my ‘treasure chamber’. A long tour – yet there is such a lot you haven’t seen. So much I would still like to show you and tell you about. Take the wonderful yellow sapphire, one of the most popular coloured gemstones in India. There, it has since time immemorial symbolised wealth and health, glory, honour and success, and is also said to have a favourable influence on pregnancy and childbirth. 178

Or the bixbite, the rare red beryl from Utah, which is given its exciting colour by lithium and manganese. Any many more ... That’s why I invite you without further ado to come and pay another visit to my house, in our town of Idar-Oberstein with its wonderful landscape.

Always worth a visit Idar-Oberstein is always worth a visit. Not only because the ‘town of

gemstones and jewellery’ is a true paradise for all who love sparkling gemstones and finest jewellery. Not only for friends of art and culture who wish to visit our unique Felsenkirche.

Art, culture – and joie de vivre Idar-Oberstein and the surrounding country also offer gourmets some exquisite specialities: I have already mentioned the spiessbraten, but there are dishes like gefillte klees, kartoffelwurst and schliffers gereeste,

The German Gemstone Museum in Idar-Oberstein

Spiessbraten from Idar-Oberstein

each as simple as it is tasty. And whether you look north or south, east or west, we are surrounded by the best wine-growing areas: on the slopes of Alsace and the Palatinate, on the banks of Saar, Moselle, Nahe and Rhine, elegant, tangy, extravagant and very individual vines flourish. These epithets seem to suit wines and gemstones equally well, whatever the reason may be ... Up here in the secluded Hunsrück, Idar-Oberstein looks rather off the 180

beaten track – but in fact we are right in among many cultural centres of the ‘Old World’: between the ancient European city of Strasbourg and Frankfurt, the imperial city with its airport, one of the world’s most major; between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the World Cultural Heritage Site of Heidelberg, and Trier, Roman city and the oldest Christian bishopric north of the Alps. Paris, Zurich and Munich are not far either. A correspondingly large number of peoples have shaped us, made us keen

to get to know others from all over the world and cater to their desires. So it is that I look forward to your next visit, signing off with a simple “See you soon”.

Sincerely yours, Constantin Wild

There are still cherry trees in our garden, on the site of the old cutting-mill

imprint Design:

Stefan Lohmeyer • Forty Two: Design • Frankfurt am Main, Germany •

Editorial office:

Kerstin Hendess • Tacheles Public Relations® • Frankfurt am Main, Germany •


Gareth Bartley • Saarbrücken, Germany

Picture credits:

Constantin Wild p. 9, 10, 11 (small & rough), 12-15 (small), 14 (yellow), 33 (rough), 38, 44, 45, 49, 52, 60, 74, 75, 86, 87, 90, 120, 121, 132, 133, 154, 161, 181 • Archive W. Constantin Wild & Co. p. 36, 43 (large), 69, 73, 77, 78, 112, 114, 116, 130 • Jürgen u. Hiltrud Cullmann p. 12 (green), 13 (red), 14 (blue), 15 (colours), 17, 19, 23, 24, 25 (neon yellow), 26 (orange), 27, 31, 32, 33 (blue), 35, 55, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64 (green), 65 (green), 81, 83, 85, 88, 89, 96-97, 101, 102 (orange), 103, 104-105 (stones), 108-109 (stones), 139, 140-141 (stones), 145, 146 (stone), 147, 148, 149, 151, 153, 155, 159, 160, 163, 164, 166, 168, 170 • Heike Rost p. 5, 6, 34, 48, 50, 56, 79, 118, 122, 125, 126, 127, 128, 134, 136 (colours), 137, 176 • Stefan Lohmeyer p. 12 (white stone), 64 (yellow), 65 (pair), 66, 91, 92, 102 (green), 104-105 (green), 108 (green), 110, 113, 117, 136 (blue), 173 • Rost/ Cullmann/Lohmeyer p. 106, 111, 142, 156 • Silvia Krieger p. 46, 124, 131, 162 • Cornelia Heinz p. 94-95 (stones) • Debbie Yonick p. 47 • Graciano p. 112, 116 • Archiv Hosser p. 39, 40-41, 42, 43 (small) • © Wikipedia p. 152 • ICA p. 58, 158 • © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH p. 175 • © Tourist-Information Idar-Oberstein p. 179, 180 • © Fotolia. de: Mytho p. 20, Benoit Sarasin p. 22, Eric Isselée p. 25, 26; Protosom p. 28; Victoria P. p. 70; Stephi (silhouettes) p. 94, 95; jbattx p. 140, 141; Slapper p. 144; marioArte p. 146


© 2011 Constantin Wild • W. Constantin Wild & Co • Hauptstrasse 103 • 55743 Idar-Oberstein, Germany • • All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. • ISBN 978-3-00-035454-0


Crafted and printed in Germany

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