|A black jasper cuff, carved in Panthère style, catches the discerning eye. It was the work of a glyptician, or gem sculptor, a highly trained artisan who turns rough stone or jewels into dazzling works of art.|
The art of glyptic, using intaglio and relief techniques, is an ancient skill, well practiced among the Greeks, the Egyptians and others. It was used in making cameos, popular during Roman times and the Renaissance and again in the 19th century
Tourmaline fish by Dreher
|Few glypticians are known to the public. Most work behind the scenes, hired by jewellery houses when their skills are required. The houses will not identify them.|
The little town of Idar-Oberstein, Germany, two hours west of Frankfurt, has 500 years of tradition in carving gemstones.
|Glypticians like Gerd Dreher or Manfred Wild made their names by crafting animal sculptures, usually for private orders. Masters are able to obtain the best raw materials and command prices that triple the value of the stones they use. Every material requires specific training, as well as specialized tools.|