Which country has the noblest history

Idar-Oberstein and its historyMetropolis of precious stones

SEND DATEThu, 7/9/2020 | 8:15 pm | SWR television RP

You don't hang it on the big bell, but when it comes to processing gemstones, you are among the best in the world. Jewelery designers from Idar-Oberstein work for the finest jewelers in the world.

Gemstone cutter with tradition

The gemstone industry in Idar-Oberstein has a tradition of over 500 years. Precious stones have been found in the Saar-Nahe region for centuries. In Oberkirchen in Saarland and in Idar, agates and amethysts were extracted in mines. Agate cutters and goldsmiths, gemstone cutters and engravers, later also diamond cutters, processed raw gemstones into artistic pieces of jewelry.

Traveling the world as a gemstone dealer

At the beginning of the 19th century, the local gemstone deposits decline. Quite a few people from the Hunsr├╝ck are looking for happiness in South America. The German emigrants will soon be sending raw gemstones from Brazil to their homeland for processing. Gemstone traders from Idar-Oberstein still travel around the world to get the best raw materials. Your contacts are your capital.

The gem industry in crisis

The gem mine in Idar, on the other hand, is now a visitor mine - mining is no longer worthwhile. The lack of own raw material deposits, high wage costs, strong competition from the Far East as disadvantageous location factors make the gemstone industry in Idar-Oberstein to create.

From mass-produced goods to exclusive niche products

But the Idar-Obersteiners have a great locational advantage: the knowledge of precious stones, accumulated over half a millennium. There are companies that can not only survive in global competition, but are leaders. These include so-called "hidden champions" who serve certain niches in the world market. Their discretion is even greater than their competence. Only insiders know that some artists in the region work for the finest jewelers in the world.

Artists, visionaries, adventurers

Playful artists create incredible objects out of precious stones. Gemstone dealers travel every corner of the world in search of the best stones, entrepreneurs have worked their way up to the top of the world with the knowledge they have accumulated over 500 years. Jewelry designers can find facets from the precious minerals that have never been seen before. Idar-Oberstein is a very special place. With ingenuity, courage and a thirst for adventure, people succeed in developing new visions in a crisis and surviving on the market.

A film by Utz Kastenholz; Internet version: Lydia Egger

Status: January 20, 2020, 9:05 a.m.