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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.

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