Good Show

The 20th edition of Intergem, Idar-Oberstein’s colored gemstone show, held in October 2004, reflected renewed interest in the subject, with show attendance up dramatically over 2003 figures. The boost in foot traffic not only translated into good sales but also prompted dealers to consider signing up early for Intergem 2005.

Full parking lots were one obvious signal of strong interest. Day one and day two logged 10% attendance gains, with day three up 25% over 2003 numbers. Visitors from Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Austria, and France were well represented, and the Asian buyers were back after an almost complete absence in 2003.

What were they buying?

According to Constantin Wild, business was good for fine single stones. The best sellers were anything pink (especially kunzite, morganite, and topaz), orange stones such as Mexican opal and mandarin garnet, and greens such as tourmaline, tsavorite, and demantoid garnet.

As usual, there were a number of educational programs in conjunction with the show, presented by some of the better-known local gem artists. On hand for intimate discussions were Bernd Munsteiner, creator of the fantasy cut, promoting his book and museum exhibition, “Reflections in Stone,” and gem carver Erwin Pauly, talking about “Gemstone Carving Throughout History.” Franca Bauer presented “Healing Stone Science Through the Centuries,” and Werner Kühni spoke on the “Physical and Psychological Effects of Gemstones.”

One can find diamonds at this mostly colored stones show. And Mike Podobrin, marketing director for the Diamond Promotion Service, was there to “talk about coal.”

One of the after-show highlights is the annual Saturday evening extravaganza, dinner with live jazz, and jewelry fashion show, held at the architecturally intriguing Mercedes-Benz Autohaus showroom.

The show hosted 127 exhibitors, 63% of whom were from Idar-Oberstein and the surrounding villages. Another 24% were from other areas of Germany, and the remaining 13% came from countries including Australia, Belgium, France, Great Britain, India, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Thailand, and the Czech Republic. According to Intergem organizers, dealers noted that the high number of visitors and the relatively small booth sizes meant that some clients were turned away.

Free beer for everyone at the fair restaurant Beerbar is an annual tradition, with most out-of-towners expecting some sort of Oktoberfest festivities. However, the Beerbar is created specifically for show-goers: Most are surprised to learn that Oktoberfest really takes place only in Munich. All other Oktoberfest celebrations are merely imitations.

Accommodations in Idar-Oberstein are somewhat limited, so plans should be made soon to attend Intergem 2005, slated for Sept. 30 through Oct. 3, 2005.