has been mined along the Nahe River Valley in Germany since
the 1400's. The Nahe River was used to power the grinding
wheels for stone cutting in Idar-Oberstein. When the agate
deposits were depleted along the Nahe River in the 1800's,
the gem cutters in Idar-Oberstein started importing material
from Brazil. Exploration led to discoveries of amethyst,
citrine, tourmaline, topaz, and other gemstones.
Idar-Oberstein is still known for the finest agate carving
in the world, today Idar imports a huge range of other gem
materials from around the world for cutting and carving
in Germany and Asia. Cameo master carvers and modern lapidary
artists flourish along with rough dealers who scour the
world for the latest gem discoveries for export.