Gemstones have always been, since time immemorial, heavily charged with meaning and have even been regarded as magical objects. For that reason they have also been an art medium since the early modern age and have shaped as art symbols - in the form of the crystal - both Romanticism and Modernism, for example in the works of Caspar David Friedrich, Lyonel Feininger and many more. In the latter half of the twentieth century, not only have such artists as Bernd Munsteiner, Ute Eitzenhöfer and Bernhard Schobinger rediscovered the gemstone; through the Hochschule für Edelstein und Schmuck Trier/Idar-Oberstein and other similar specialist institutions it is also undergoing a revival in today's art production - right up to Damien Hirst.
This publication spans an arc from stone-cutting in the early modern age to the (gemstone) art of the twenty-first century. A large section devoted to illustrations – featuring art historically important works – encompasses the diversity of contemporary positions for the first time.