The return of the gemstone collection of my grandfather Wilhelm Constantin Wild to Idar-Oberstein last year was an occurrence I found especially moving. Do you remember? In September a Pakistani fisherman found the leather coffer dating from the mid-20th century in a bag together with some other gemstones in the North Indian Ocean near Karachi. What moved me was not only his decision to send the collection back to Germany – but also the touching gesture he made in replacing the missing tiger’s eye with a pearl.
Exclusive exhibit at international trade fairs 2018
The story of the honest finder attracted plenty of attention in the media. Having been on show in Idar-Oberstein for some months, the collection is now setting off again on a world tour: visitors to the international fairs in Tucson, Hong Kong, Basel and Idar-Oberstein will be able to admire the valuable specimen book on location. The exemplary collection shows the fascinating facets of coloured gemstones – from ruby, sapphire and emerald to agate, lapis lazuli and malachite.
30 January to 4 February: first time at the GJX in Tucson, Arizona
I’m looking forward to presenting this much travelled gemstone collection personally in Tucson, together with my current collection. My tip: make an appointment right away, so that you can take your time and enjoy an exclusive peek into my grandfather’s leather coffer (Group Pavilion, Stand #4000).
It’s like something out of a fairy tale: at the end of September a Pakistani fisherman pulled a collection of 29 gemstones, some 80 years old, out of the Indian Ocean. Thanks to the imprint of a company stamp he was able to identify Wilhelm Constantin Wild of Idar-Oberstein as the original owner. The fisherman decided that the gemstone collection, being part of family history, should make its way back to Germany. He also thought it would be a nice token of friendship between Muslims and Germans. Being an upright man, he waived his right to a finder’s reward. In a particularly touching gesture, he said he would like to fill the empty compartment with some pearls, making the family a present of them in lieu of the tiger’s eye which was now missing from the collection.
“At first, it wasn’t at all clear how or when my grandfather’s collection would be able to find its way back to Idar-Oberstein”, says Constantin Wild. But with the aid of an international logistics company, the collection, which has a high sentimental value for him, soon set out on the journey home. This very week, the entrepreneur received the extraordinary package from Pakistan.
Once it has been examined to verify its genuineness, he will be handing the collection over on loan to the German Gemstone Museum. “Later, of course, the find will be given a place of honour in my treasure chamber”, says Constantin Wild.
Details still to be clarified
It will now be possible to examine exactly how old the collection is. Early assumptions suggest that it was probably put together between the First and Second World Wars, since Idar and Oberstein did not actually amalgamate until 1933. At any rate, the stamp with the impression ‘Idar-Oberstein’ originates from the time after the amalgamation. The high-quality workmanship which can be seen in the photos is a clue indicating that this was one of the earlier issues of this kind of collection, for in later years these were mass-produced cheaply, finding their way out into many parts of the world.
Exhibition at the German Gemstone Museum
Anyone wishing to inspect the gemstone collection him or herself will be able to admire it very soon indeed at the German Gemstone Museum in Idar-Oberstein. It will be on view there as ‘object of the month’ until the end of November.
It was clear to Constantin Wild that the warm-heartedness and sincerity of the finder ought to be rewarded. He intends to transfer a finder’s reward of 1000 dollars to the Pakistani fisherman as a down payment on a new fishing-boat, in the hope of improving the life of this honest man and his family.
It’s not only German television that has shown interest in the ‘Tour de Wild': a few days ago the Japanese singer and TV star Saori Yuki came on a visit of discovery together with a TV team. She herself is a great gemstone fan and really got her money’s worth in my home town of Idar-Oberstein!
Jens Hübschen sets out to retrace the history of the stones, in the gemstone world of Idar-Oberstein in the rocky Nahe region.
I have said it time and again: Idar-Oberstein is one of the most beautiful places in Germany. And gemstone fans are particularly likely to agree with that. After all, my home town was the cradle of the gemstone industry! A team from the German TV station SWR recently set out to retrace that fascinating history. For what began centuries ago with the first agates, found in volcanic rock, and rapidly brought forth the very best gemstone cutters and goldsmiths, has also managed to make a successful transition into the modern age. But how is that possible? In this documentary, I open the doors of my treasure chamber and chat a little about my fascinating world of gemstones – and about my beloved Idar-Oberstein.
it’s worth having a look behind the scenes in the world of luxury. One thing’s for sure: it has many facets. A few weeks ago Professor Ho, who lectures in ‘luxury studies’ at a Chinese university, journeyed to my home town of Idar-Oberstein, bringing a high-carat delegation with her, to learn everything there is to learn about gemstones.
Raw stones, cutting-shop, perfectly cut end product: my company headquarters is the perfect place to take a look behind the scenes in the world of luxury – and that includes the exquisite buffet! The group was particularly taken with the Gem Room, in which I present exclusive customers with a fine selection of particularly rare and valuable gemstones.
On a brief excursion to the historic Weiherschleife I showed the group the origins of the gemstone industry. From the 15th century right on into the 20th, gemstones were processed on big sandstone grinding wheels – using only the force of the water from our very own Idar stream.
A visit to the marketplace in Oberstein, where there are regional delicacies of all kinds, put the finish on our perfect day.
A truly wonderful day. I look forward to a luxurious wiedersehen!