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Idar-Oberstein
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IDAR-OBERSTEIN
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CORALYN & DWIGHT at a MOSEL WINERY
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Started the event with champaign.

 

In October 2013, we visited the German city of Idar-Oberstein, the birthplace of Munsteiner's Fantasy cut gemstones.  Here are some photos of highlights of the trip.  We have plenty more photos, so if you'd like to see more, just e-mail Coralyn with your request and she'll e-mail you more.

The next two pictures are of a gemstone called "ruby in zoisite".  The pink part is indeed ruby, although relatively opaque, and the green part is know as zoisite.  Zoisite is the gemological name for Tanzanite.  Tanzanite starts out green and must be heated to obtain that purplish blue hue that we are all familiar with.  It is amazing that they can carve these stones, mostly by hand, and come up with such a beautiful product.

ROUGH STONE OF RUBY in ZOISITE
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About the size of a basketball

LARGE VASE CARVED of RUBY in ZOISITE
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Note: in interior of the vase is indeed hollow; walls no more than 1/8" thick

 Next, we have a beautiful large sphere (definitely bigger than a basketball) made from red jasper.  This sphere is a solid piece of rock. The first photo shows the different stages of the production.  It starts out as a big piece of rough stone. Then it is roughly shaped into a round shape on which to work.  This is interesting in that the process is similar to the subject of calculus, where ever and ever finer the facets on the ball eventually becomes to a smooth surface.  Final product is a smooth surface ball.

STAGES of ROUGH to finish SPHERE of RED JASPER
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FINISHED PRODUCT: RED JASPER SPHERE
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The next three photos illustrate the fineness of carving items from rock crystal (clear pieces) and agate (the yellow/brown bowl).  Again, as with the ruby in zoisite, the two bowls are wonders of craftsmanship.  Imagine how focused one has to be to work with stone, where one slight slip of a tool could ruin a piece.  Again, these bowls are less than 1/8 inch in thickness.  In the rock crystal piece, the lines you see in the piece are inclusions (or blemishes) that are very normal in rock crystal, especially in rough that has to be big enough to yield a large bowl.  Such rough rock is rare. 
 

The 3rd piece is a couple of clowns with an ice cream cart.   The clowns are carved from rock crystal and the cart is a piece of rose quartz with a canopy of red agate.  It also has rubies, sapphires, and emeralds as gemstone accents; constructed using 18K yellow gold.

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The next series of pictures are from the Henn Gallery.  The first is a pair of owls carved out of one piece of aquamarine.  It probably took the gem carver a good 6 months or more to carve these birds.  Notice how many little feathers are carved into the stone and the lovely talons.  These are probably 6-8 inches in height. 
 
Then we have a ruby pagoda with a solid ruby Buddha created with 18K gold.  The piece is about a foot tall, sitting on a black onyx base. 

Then we have the Manhattan Skyline with individually carved buildings of various types of quartz ... rock crystal, smoky, rose, amethyst, citrine, and rutilated.  This is actually a very large piece, at least 4' in length, and pretty much to scale.  It runs from the tip of Manhattan up to the south edge of Central Park.  This project was quite the undertaking as the exact heights of each building are not in the public domain of information.  They had to go by the number of floors, assuming each floor is a particular height. 

Finally, there is the centerpiece of hand-carved amethyst and rock crystal with 18K gold irises.  It is stunning.  Look at the detail in each petal and the leaves.

And, last but not least, is the gem artwork that we purchased.  We got two cats, one carved out of rock crystal quartz and one out of smoky quartz.  The blue eyes are aquamarine with onyx centers, backed with foil.  The gold eyes in the smoky quartz are yellow sapphires with onyx and foil.  Notice the fine fur and facial details.  Amazing!   Luckily, these cats don't cost us much to maintain.

AQUAMARINE OWLS from ONE AQUAMARINE CRYSTAL
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18K Gold

RUBY and GOLD BUDDHA
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MANHATTAN built out of QUARTZ
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AMEHYST and GOLD IRISES on ROCK CRYSTAL BASE
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ROCK CRYSTAL QUARTZ
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Aquamarine and Onyx Eyes

SMOKY QUARTZ CAT
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With Yellow Sapphire and Onyx Eyes

The last gallery we visited was the Munsteiner Gallery.  Tom and Berndt Munsteiner are know world wide for their amazing fantasy cut gemstones.  Pictured are two rings where the gemstones have been cut as "fantasy" cuts.  Such cuts are typically a series of concave or cross-hatched marks on the bottom side of the stone.  The details you see in the two rings are the underneath facets.  (For those who came to our November show, you saw some of their work.)  We also see Berndt polishing a rough piece of stone on a wheel, an old fashion method still used today.  It is a very effective method for smoothing out rough. 

Not only do the Munsteiners specialize in fantasy cuts, but they also do art on a large scale.  In the second photo, of creams yellows and browns, is a chapel window they are creating.  We don't recall how many little pieces that are used, but the pieces are of agate (small squares, triangles, and rectangles) are pieced together forming the design.  Each piece is 1.2mm thick (not very).  The entire piece will be glued to glass. 

Then there is the jewelry section.  Here is Coralyn "in her element" looking over all the jewelry they have in inventory.  We purchased some pieces for our own inventory.  Their website is:   www.munsteiner-cut.de     . 

Last but not least is the end of the trip ... an amazing dessert of crème brulee, blueberry sorbet, fruit, and chocolate stick.  This one dessert is one serving.  Amazing!  Needless to say, sculptures and jewelry weren't the only things we picked up along the way (ie, ate too much!).

BERNDT DEMONSTRATING HOW TO POLISH STONE
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TANZANITE & AGATE RING
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Faceting done on the bottom of the stone

TOURMALINE RING
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Faceting done on the underside of stone

AGATE CHAPEL WINDOW
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CORALYN IN HER ELEMENT - MUNSTEINER JEWELRY
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WE EACH HAD THIS DESSERT!!!!!!!!!!!
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