we should make hay while the sun shines. And on Saturday 12 July, the time had finally come to do so, for I had invited several hundred wonderful people to my big summer fete. And one thing can certainly be said about it: Idar-Oberstein has surely never seen such a grand celebration!
Milan, Chicago, New York, LA, Zurich, Rio, Geneva, Dallas, Kiev, Buenos Aires, Tehran, Bogotá, Dubai, London, Taipei, Tokyo, St. Petersburg or Hong Kong: dear friends, faithful companions and business partners had travelled to Idar-Oberstein from all the corners of this Earth to join me in celebrating life. Indeed, my international guests and I spent the Friday evening getting into the mood.
Hong Kong, Tucson, Basel. I love travelling the world. Yet home is still the best place to be. In my garden, where the cherries are already ripe. And if, in addition to that, I have a few friendly people around me – I’m perfectly happy!
Just recently I had a visit from a group of 17 from the Gemmological Association of Great Britain – or Gem-A – one of the leading providers of jewellery and gem education. The trip was organised by Deborah Mazza, who once lived in Idar-Oberstein herself, and Charles Evans, responsible for infrastructure and IT. After all, Idar-Oberstein has been, and still is, Europe’s top destination for gemstone connoisseurs and enthusiasts.
And when I have guests to look after, I leave nothing to chance …
magnificent colours. Intoxicating scents. It wasn’t only the vivid summer bouquets you brought that made the day (and night ;)) of July 12 so special. But above all your smiles, I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did. Here’s to the many other beautiful moments that we will celebrate together!
there are stones which really are something special. And some of them are far rarer than diamonds. I’d like to tell you about just such a stone today because, with me and the imperial topaz, it was love at first sight!
Nomen est omen
Truly imperial: my first encounter with this radiant reddish-gold rarity was back in the 80s, on a trip to Ouro Preto, in the well known federal Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. When I first saw the special sparkle of this stone, I understood at once why my father had referred to the Brazilian imperial topaz as his favourite!
for several years, I have been on good terms with the friends’ association of the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian is a US research and education establishment which comprises a number of museums. In the ‘National Gem and Mineral Collection’ at the National Museum of Natural History, visitors can view what is probably the world’s most famous national gemstone collection. Alongside the legendary ‘Hope Diamond’ and the ‘Star of Asia Sapphire’, more than 15,000 gemstones – also including some sparkling specimens from my own establishment – can be seen there. Continue reading N.Y., L.A.: How my treasures found their way to a famous opera singer …→
anyone familiar with haute joaillerie knows Anna Hu. Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, many other celebrities … indeed jewellery lovers the world over are crazy about her handcrafted pieces.
The former cellist, daughter of one of Taiwan’s leading gemmologists, uses only the best gemstones for her designs, and depends on reliable suppliers. I myself am among those who have had the honour of working with her. The result: a colourful necklace, and in the middle of it, an oval-cut kunzite from my establishment, 59 carats in weight!
gemstones are my profession. My passion. And, yes, they’re all magnificent. But among them there is one which has a really special appeal for me, with its reddish-gold tones and its sparkle: the emperor from Brazil.
The incomparable imperial topaz was discovered in the mid-18th century in Ouro Preto, the ‘home town’ of topazes, in Brazil. Imperial topaz – the very name is magical, isn’t it? Noble too. And yet it’s by no means certain how the stone came to get it. Perhaps the Russian tsars were the force behind it. They were among the earliest and most important buyers of this rarity. Others say that the stone wasn’t named until the time of the Brazilian empire, i.e. between 1822 and 1889. In other words, nobody really knows exactly. Having said that, one thing is certain: today, the imperial topaz is still among the most valuable and most coveted stones worldwide.
the world of luxury is a very special world. And anyone who wants to be there when brand names like Cartier, Chopard, Rolex and others line up and vie with one another to see who has the most lavish and costliest exhibition stand is certainly in the right place at the annual edition of BASELWORLD.
Alongside expensive watches and designer jewellery, my line of business also has its place at this international trade fair. After all, high-quality gemstones often form the basis of these coveted luxury goods. So it was that we were to be found under ‘Gems, Stones and Pearls’.
It’s important to me that my employees are not just familiar with and able to help control the flow of work in Idar-Oberstein, but also that they learn how to deal with customers – especially at fairs like BASELWORLD. They all were a great help to me and always well motivated in spite of the long days and short nights. That’s one of the most important aspects of the whole thing for me – my employees.
With the banks hardly paying any interest at all, a property bubble that could burst at any time, and a volatile share market, gemstones, the smallest form of capital investment, have climbed a long way up the ladder.
For several years, a marked increase in demand has been noticeable in the gemstone trade. Yet that demand is now facing limited resources, as Constantin Wild, the gemstone merchant from Idar-Oberstein, is well aware: “It’s becoming more and more difficult to get hold of high-value stones. Many deposits in Africa and Latin America are already exhausted. Imperial topazes, blue aquamarines and neon-yellow canary tourmalines, to name but a few.” Typically for this market, the price is also affected by the increased demand and short supply: “Prices for rubies and sapphires have multiplied several times over in recent years”, says Wild, who runs the family enterprise of that name, representing the fourth generation of his family in doing so.
Jörg Lindemann, managing director of the federal association of the gemstone and diamond industry (BVED), also sees gemstones as a good investment option – if the conditions are right: “Gemstones are indeed an interesting form of value guarantee. Unlike currency or stocks and shares, the value of gemstones stays constant over generations. Having said that, investors should only consider very high-quality, top-class specimens.” The expert also advises against buying on one’s own initiative: “A buyer needs a profound knowledge of the market if he is to purchase a suitable stone of enduring value. Buyers should have a very clear knowledge of the situation regarding the demand for or deposits of the gemstone in question. A purchase is not to be recommended without a reputable partner.”
any amount of to-ing and fro-ing, lots and lots of people, and in the middle of it all: me and my treasure chamber. As every year, I travelled – laden with sparkling stones – to the ‘Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show’ in Hong Kong.
The Asian market has been gaining in importance in the gemstone trade, and not just since yesterday. Whilst at one time only European countries and the USA were relevant for the sales market, the demand for luxury goods has been growing in Hong Kong, Mainland China and elsewhere – not least because of a financially strong upper level of society that is getting larger and larger. Apart from that, people in China have a great affinity for gemstones. Jade is regarded as a royal gemstone; the Chinese have probably been mining it and using it in jewellery and filigree art carvings since 6000 B.C. Continue reading Treasures of Nature in Hong Kong→
Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona after Phoenix. In February, on the occasion of the Gem & Jewelry Exchange, some 300,000 gemstone lovers came pouring into this desert town. I was among them.
Gemstones as far as the eye can see! During the trade fair, the whole city seems to be in gemstone fever! That’s why it’s always important for me not just to show my customers some magnificent stars in the gemstone firmament, but also to create the appropriate atmosphere. With this stand, in the Idar-Oberstein Pavilion at the GJX, we reckoned we were not likely to be overlooked …
But above all, of course, people’s attention was drawn by the special gemstones I’d brought with me. A sphene like this one is extremely rare. And word got around very quickly that I had this fabulous titanite from Sri Lanka on display! No wonder: the fire (or ‘dispersion’) of a sphene surpasses even that of a diamond. And at over 30 carats, this radiant green stone is suitable for really extravagant items of jewellery. Continue reading 5 exciting days in Tucson→
Light, warmth and creativity. That’s what comes to my mind when I handle this stone. No lesser personality than Goethe himself was of the opinion that orange emanates particularly large amounts of positive energy.
The stone that I’d like to introduce to you today doesn’t just captivate you by its colour, however, but also, and above all, by its weight. This exclusive mandarin garnet tips the scales at no less than 103 carats! A stone like this is absolutely unique. So it’s perfectly placed in my premium line ‘more than just rare’.