Germany’s Jewelry Centers

Two of the most famous jewelry and gemstone centers – Germany’s Pforzheim and Idar-Oberstein – have launched new projects to restore luster and add domestic and foreign customers to their troubled businesses. Both have long histories as major suppliers of the international jewelry industry. Pforzheim traces its start as a jewelrymaking center to 1767; Idar-Oberstein celebrates 500 years as a gemstone industry this year. But their historical importance has faded over time. “The gemstone and jewelry industries are facing difficult times, like so many other industrial sectors in Germany and elsewhere in Europe,” says Rainer Brüderle, minister of commerce for Rhineland-Pfalz, the state where Idar-Oberstein region is located. Recession in Europe (especially in Germany), lower domestic sales, rising costs, foreign competition and reluctance to adapt by using new technology, in
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