Constantin Wild: Gems, Colors & Wild Stories

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Reviewed by Richard B. Drucker, GIA GG, Honorary FGA

Constantin Wild:Gems, Colours & Wild Stories 175 Years of Constantin Wild Reveiwed by Richard B. Drucker, GIA GG, Honorary FGA ISBN 978-3-89790-626-6 US $210, £138 312 pp, 412 illustrations, hardcover in slipcase This is a unique book in the way it was produced and laid out. The last book that I reviewed for the GemGuide was on the collection of gems and jewelry of the Smitsonian Museum in the USA. This is a perfect followup as it reminded me of reading that book, this time regarding the world-class gems in the collection and history of the Constantin Wild company in Idar-Oberstein. The book is primarily written by Nina Hald about the Wild Family history and its current owner Constantin Wild, following the legacy of more than 10 generations and now marking its 175th anniversary. As the literature states, the company was founded in Idar-Oberstein in 1847 and has left a mark on the world of gemstones. Constantin is the great grandson of the company’s founder. I met Constantin in 2011 in Brazil when we were part of a small ICA group that toured several cities and mines. For me, this book also brought back memories as I viewed the Brazil photos that appear in the book and recall the taking of most of the photographs. With Nina Hald as the lead writer producing the bulk of the content, several guest authors were asked to contribute a page or a chapter. I was honored to be one of the guest au- thors along with Vivienne Becker, Katinka Champion, Maria Doulton, Çiğdem Lüle, Katerina Perez, and Gary Roskin. The book is not just about the Wild Family and business. It covers the history of Idar-Oberstein and the 400 years of stonecutting. When it does discuss the family business, the passion, the mission, and the love of gems is apparent. Throughout the book are photos of some of the most magnificent gems that have been cut and sold or still in the personal collection of Constantin Wild and the Wild Company. There are actual letters, archives, photos of the past that chronical the 175-year journey. Stories of the quest for demantoid, the search for special gems, and the collaborations with famous jewelry icons like Carl Fabergé grace the pages. We learn of his own challenges getting in and out of countries with certain gemstones. The events of World War II were quite interesting and how that affected the company being there in Germany. At the onset of the war, all the Wild Company gems and assets were confiscated. Customer lists and documents all vanished. Conte Wild hid guns in his basement and had two hours to vacate. In 1946 he was allowed to return, only to find everything destroyed and stolen. Fritz Wild spent the rest of his life trying to get compensated by the German Government, unsuccessfully. The company had to be rebuilt from scratch. As the book chronicles the history from the 1800s and the founding of the company by Carl Wild IX to present, Constantin tells of how, when he was only 20 and at the GIA, his father died. His mother took over the company and began traveling most of the year and many trips to the US, four or...

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