“During the Permian Period, our region was exposed to extreme hot temperatures." Gigantic lava flows from the earth’s core forced their way to the surface. In its lava flows, bubbles were formed that were filled with gases. Minerals then began forming inside during the cooling process. Quartz, amethyst, rock crystals, jasper, carnelian and the famous multiform agates all grew here. They form the basis of this unique gemstone industry.
The mining and shaping of gemstones is an activity that stretches back to the Middle Ages. One man, one year, one metre is how miners over previous centuries toiled their way into the hard magma stone. Always on the hunt for gemstones. Numerous geodes with amethysts and other quartz are still visible in the rocks even today. It is incredible to think that geodes, which are so fascinating today, were once inferior at the time when there was active mining for gemstones, meaning that they simply landed on the slag heap. The first grinding shop was built around 1520. Initially, only local finds were processed. Due to limited resources, a real industry only began to develop in the 19th century, after a large deposit of agate was discovered in Brazil and then exported to today’s EdelSteinLand. Drive, courage and a sense of adventure were the forces that brought people from Hunsrück to Brazil. Exporters established themselves in Brazil, and importers set up business in EdelSteinLand. In the course of this development, numerous new mills were built and new processing methods created, with the help of which it became possible to shape and sculpt harder gemstones. Around the year 1870, water-powered grinding mill operations reached their peak. In 1900, the switch was made from hydro-power to electricity, and Idar-Oberstein and the neighbouring towns of EdelSteinLand became the international centre of gemstone craftsmanship.
Even today, crude gemstones from all over the world are forged by the hand of man into famous gems, which are then transformed around the world into the most splendid jewellery. In EdelSteinLand, an industry flourishes – often hidden behind inconspicuous walls – that is beyond compare anywhere in the world. The cut from Idar-Oberstein is a sign of excellence for the quality of the stone.
The fascination and mystery associated with gemstones is more tangible in EdelSteinLand than anywhere else in the world.