If this great selection of extravagant gemstones is to continue to find its way into Constantin Wild’s treasure chamber, one man is indispensable: Gernot Weber. As a gemstone cutter he carries the heritage of the gemstone metropolis within him.
JOURNAL: Idar-Oberstein is regarded as the absolute gemstone metropolis. How did that come to be?
Gernot Weber: Agates were discovered here for the first time in the 15th century. The wild Idar stream, which flows right through the town, quickly gave rise to numerous cutting-shops, in which my forefathers were able to process the stones. Later, jasper and rock crystal were discovered too. When the domestic deposits began to decline at the beginning of the 19th century, the people of the Hunsrück set off out into the great wide world and discovered many other kinds of stone there. But the stones were always processed back at home.
JG: Idar-Oberstein is the only gemstone centre in the world where all kinds of gemstone are processed and traded in. Why does that work so well here?
GW: In this town, small though it is – at first glance – there is a vast amount of knowledge. Over centuries, a broad base of expertise covering all the aspects of the world of gemstones has been built up. To benefit from it, the whole industry turns to us. Not least for our renowned tradition of German craftsmanship.
JG: As a gemstone cutter you have a perfect command of your craft. What exactly does this demanding profession entail?
GW: It’s a well known fact that the first step is always the most difficult. It goes without saying that I too had to learn my trade in a course of training that lasted many years. There’s far more to my profession than just cutting. At the beginning of each job you first need to ask yourself the questions: what raw material am I actually working with? How can I best cut and shape this stone? To create wonderful jewellery items from complex stones too, you need not only craftsmanship, but also a very fair portion of creativity. And that variety is exactly what I like about it so much.
JG: Mr. Weber, thank you for the interview.