Idar-Oberstein is a small town situated in the Hunsrück Mountains of the Rhineland-Palatine region in the south west of Germany. Despite its diminutive size, it became one of the leading gem-cutting centers in the world, with a history of mining and lapidary dating back hundreds of years.As early as the late 1400's, mechanized mining operations to extract agate, jasper and quartz created employment for gem cutters and stone carvers who flocked to the region.
In the 1800's the agate deposits along the Nahe River began to be depleted, but by that time gem-cutting was the mainstay of its inhabitants. To stay in business, they began to import rough stones from Brazil, where discoveries of amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, topaz, and other gemstones had been made.
Carved Agate Bowl from Idar-Oberstein
By the end of the nineteenth century, gems from around the world were being shipped to Idar-Oberstein for cutting by its famous artisans, and there were literally hundreds of cutting houses in the town and surrounding villages. However this very fame led to the end of the industrys heyday - wages in the area became too expensive to warrant cutting less valuable stones, and many gem-cutters were forced to emigrate to Brazil.
However, many of the artisans and their families remained to continue the tradition through the generations, and today Idar-Oberstein is still famous for some of the finest agate carving in the world. The cutters still import a large variety of other gemstones from around the world for cutting and carving, and master cameo carvers and modern lapidary artists alike still flourish, as do the dealers who import rough stones from gem markets around the world.
Hans Urlich Pauly is a well known gem engraver working at Idar-Oberstein .
“Art is like a religion for me - the Latin word ‘religio’ means connection with God. One of the most precious aspects of the work that I do is in the spiritual realm. Art is my connection to Spirit. Within me lies the talent to intuitively capture images, and bring them into reality. Most of the images within me have a spiritual connection. The pictures that flow through my mind’s eye move me to transform them into tangible symbols. One of the most powerful experiences for me is to meld an image that I have been carrying inside, with the corresponding stone. The color, structure, and form of the stone itself speaks to me. I am in dialog with the materials of the earth.”
Hans Urlich Pauly's sons continue their father's tradition.
Erwin Pauly has developed new techniques in carving, that have never been made before. In the 1960's the abstract carvings has been a milestone in modern carving. In the 1970's Erwin Pauly developed new ways of portrait carvings by relief shadowing techniques. In the same time Cameos with the combination of relief- and intaglio techniques were created in his Atelier. The 1980's brought his revolutionary "Free Form Cameos". Erwin Pauly left traditional ways of cameo carvings in shapes like round, oval, or octagon. His design from now on was the basement of the form of the cameo. He also changed the expression of faces and hair by reducing details. These new cameos gave designers, goldsmiths, and jewellers new inspirations for spectacular frame designs. The "Free Form Cameos" have also been Erwin Pauly's answer to uncontrolled mass production via ultrasonic techniques of cameos.
Times are changing. The steady growing worldwide demand for Erwin Pauly Cameos needed new concepts for the market. Andreas Pauly, his second son, Bachelor of Economics and also German carver, developed the so called: "Erwin Pauly Design-Line". This is a limited edition of cameos, preproduced by ultrasonic method and hand finished by the master and his team. Signed on the back side and sold with individual certificate the "Design-Line Cameos" represent the highest quality standard besides his handcarved unique art pieces. Erwin Pauly's company today is a team of 8 specialists in Veitsrodt near Idar-Oberstein and three free lance Master Carvers working with one target: ALWAYS REACHING THE HIGHEST STANDARD IN DESIGN & QUALITY.
Gerhard Pauly, gemstone carver and designer for jewellery and gemstones, graduated at the New Academie of Idar-Oberstein in 1993, joined the company in October 1993. Erwin Pauly is president of the Carver's Society and Chairman of the newly founded Carver's Guild in Idar-Oberstein. He is also responsible for education of young carvers.
Born on 15 February 1934
1949 - 1951 Skilled workers exam
1957 Master Examination in Idar-Oberstein
1958 Foundation of his own Atelier
Exhibitions in Germany, Europe, USA, Canada, and Japan