The history of Idar-Oberstein, as the city of gemstones goes back to 500 years ago, when first deposits of agate were discovered. Over the centuries, gem cutters settled in Idar-Oberstein and advanced their expertise in gem cutting and goldsmith while the city was undergoing a mining boom. In the beginning of the19th century, the agate stone reserves started to run down which lead the city into a crisis. Depleting reserves forced the gem merchants of Idar-Oberstein to look for alternative resources and they managed to find agate and other minerals in Brazil. This was the start of a new era for the city: an important hub for gem dealers, gem cutters and jewellery makers.
Hans D. Krieger legacy goes back to the18th century; the family goldsmiths and agate cutters are registered in the city’s history as early as 1720. In 1935, Hans D Krieger started his career in diamond cutting and made his first jewellery piece following a customer’s order in 1964. This was the beginning of his journey in manufacturing exquisite high jewellery which made the name became synonymous with high quality. The company has exponentially grown over the decades and today under the management of Andreas Krieger, Hans’ son; it has become one of the most significant manufacturers of diamond and gemstone jewellery in the world.
Last month, Tracey and I had the opportunity of visiting Hans D. Krieger in the heart of Idar-Oberstein. Our journey started from Frankfurt airport, and after 90 minutes of scenic drive, we arrived at Marienhoeh Hideaway & Spa in Langweiler, Rhineland-Palatinate. Our journey followed by a superb meal at one of the most exquisite restaurants in Kirschweiler, Veeks restaurant. Veeks owner’s passion for food and gemstones has led him in developing gemstone/diamond gins and liquors. Checkout instagram highlights for more videos of our trip.
Entering Hans D. Krieger headquarters in Idar-Oberstein the next morning, we were immensely impressed by the facility. First stop was the beautiful private showroom with an open deck, minimalist decoration with breathtaking art pieces.
The facility tour continued with visiting every single department and the most impressive aspect was that everything is done in house, under one roof.
Diamond and Gem Cutting:
Hans D. Krieger takes pride in cutting and polishing their diamonds and gemstones on site. Using Sarin mapping device gives them the best outcome and yield of the rough, following by their experienced diamond cutters on site to cut and polish the rough diamond. There is a gem cutter on site as well, shown here cutting an aquamarine.
For every piece, diamond and gemstone is first sent to CAD department. First step is measuring the stones and their proportions to make sure they are the right fit for the design. Afterwards the design is also imported into CAD for maximum precision before the casting is done.
From melting gold/platinum to casting trees, every single step of the way is done in house. First the cast or mold is made in silver by the jewellery artisans, from there it get duplicated in rubber and wax . After few time consuming steps, the casting tree is ready. Usually the process takes about 24-48 hours depending on the metal.
Diamond/Gemstone setters and jewellery artisans:
Every single piece is set in house at Hans D. Krieger facility, from pave setting to large diamond/gemstone there are different experienced setters that set jewellery here by hand with utmost precision.
Polishing, Plating and Engraving:
After the setting, jewels are sent to polishers to polish them to perfection, also checking the setting for any issues. For white gold, there is an extra step of rhodium plating, which by adding the alloy of rhodium, the white gold turns from gray (its natural color) to white. Engraving is done on every single piece, both HDK logo as well as the metal mark.
Hans D. Krieger currently has 55 employees. The diamond and jewellery manufacturing team in collaboration with teams of skilled designers, experienced sales/export/import, marketing and admins, are running a smooth and ultimately efficient operation. Due to the strong sales and positive outlook of future growth, company management has decided to further expand the operation by building additional manufacturing facility in the same location to support the growth and to consolidate the manufacturing process.
At the end of the extensive tour, we were given access to the inventory room, where we had the chance to select trays of jewellery, try them on and share the joy with our audience.
After touring Hans D. Krieger, I personally have a deeper understanding of craftsmanship and tremendous appreciation and respect for the quality of the pieces that I had the opportunity to hold and try on. I hope this article also gives you a better perspective on what goes into creating one small piece of jewellery; vision, expertise, time and material.
Both Tracey and I are grateful to Andreas and the team at Hans D. Krieger for their warm welcome and the time and effort they put into showing us around the facility. Their outstanding hospitality during our stay in Idar-Oberstein along with the best of German culinary is a memory that we will cherish forever. Our last night in Idar Oberstein was well spent at Weinkonzept Sebastian Stueber restaurant, a hidden gem in the city of gems where we enjoyed a private dinner with a curated menu.
We look forward to seeing Andreas Krieger and Hans D. Krieger team in Geneva for Haute Jewels Geneva; March 26-April 2 2023, Fairmont Grand Hotel.