When one dreams of jewels
Rough, plain and obscure colors: nothing special at first sight. Gemstones are
like that in their raw state, as they are processed in Idar-Oberstein and along
the German 'gem road'. They have made the area world-renowned. Among these gems
are Azurite, Calcite, Turquoise, Citrine, Tigereye, Rhodonite, Opal, Sodalite,
Amethyst und Malachite, which, when cut, are not only a treat for the eyes but
are wonderful to touch as well.
Although the gem mines in the Idar-Oberstein region were exhausted long ago
(commercial mining between 1375 and 1875), and the raw stones must now be
imported from all over the world, there are days when crowds of passionate
mineral collectors swarm the quarries of the area. It must be a very special
experience to dig a geode out of the earth with one's own hands. For the
"unlucky" ones, there is the mineral market every weekend. A tip: before you go
treasure hunting, read the pertinent brochures which you can get at the tourist
offices because looking for gems in a quarry can be dangerous.