beautiful stone

What can now be called the largest mineral and precious stone fair in Europe began almost 60 years ago in a Munich restaurant: At that time there were only 16 exhibitors at the “Mineralienbörse”, a few Munich collectors and jewelery manufacturers bought. The small stock exchange has long since become an event of superlatives: on 50,000 square meters, around 1,000 exhibitors from all over the world present their treasures for three days – for dealers, collectors and artists. But the fair is also worth a visit for anyone else interested in stone and minerals.

Many exhibitors are located in Idar-Oberstein – a center of the precious stone trade

The exhibition space is divided into two main locations: the “Mineralientage” and the “Gemworld Munich”. Stones and precious metals are exhibited and sold as raw materials on the Mineral Days area. There are the blood-red rhodochrosites or the blue opals, white rock crystal and many, many more. There is also the whole range of precious metals, gold – and its subspecies red gold and white gold, silver, copper, brass. The focus is on the unprocessed, but design objects made of minerals can also be found. And for those who are interested in natural history: fossils and meteorite finds, there is not only a lot to see here, the finds can also be bought – even in small, affordable fragments. In the “Gemworld” manufacturers show their range of jewelry and gemstone objects. The special show “The Magic of Stones” is dedicated to the importance of gemstones throughout history: In ancient Egypt, for example, “protective stones” were very common, and the Romans not only sacrificed stones to their gods, but also wore them against various diseases – listen not far removed from today’s Hollywood stars, who love to pull crystals out of their bags on “What’s in my Bag” videos and keep themselves wrinkle-free with jade rollers.

Leisure: Gold crystals grow in rock - in this size they are an absolute rarity and far more valuable than their pure "gold value".

Gold crystals grow in rock – in this size they are an absolute rarity and far more valuable than their pure “gold value”.

(Photo: Anja Wechel/ Munich Show)

The dealers in the “Munich Show” come from all over the world, but a good number also come from Germany: as expected, from the Rhineland-Palatinate community of Idar-Oberstein, a global center of gem trading and cutting. Since the 15th century, trade has been carried out with the agate mined in the area, a colorful shimmering mineral with many delicate colored rings. The grinders gathered at the Idarbach – the grindstones were operated with the water. Some 7,000 cutters specializing only in diamonds worked there, followed by many thousands of less specialized cutters, and of course goldsmiths. Among the many exhibitors from Idar-Oberstein are still mainly dealers, but also artists who finely work the stones with equipment that is reminiscent of dentist equipment.

A highlight this year is the “Fossil World Special Show”

The “Fossil World Special Show 2022” shows fascinating fossils that were brought to Munich for the fair from the British “Dinosaur Isle Museum”. Around 125 million years ago, the island, with its savannah landscape, rivers and flood plains, was a perfect habitat for water-loving dinosaurs with slender, crocodile-like skulls. Two of the dinosaurs that live there can be seen on the “Munich Show”: The Ceratosuchops inferodios, also known as the “horned, crocodile-faced hell heron”. Like today’s heron, it was a predator that hunted in riverine landscapes. Tamer sounds his genus Riparovenator milnerae, translated “Milner’s riverbank hunter” (a tribute to the British spinosaurid expert Angela Milner, who died in August 2021). Incidentally, there’s not only the original bones on display, but also explanations of how the dinosaurs were reconstructed in their Cretaceous habitat – based on drawings by the illustrator Davide Bonadonna.

Free time: showing teeth: a fossil shows how it's done.

Teeth showing: a fossil demonstrates it.

(Photo: Anja Wechsler/ Munich Show)

The wide price range of the offers makes the fair a worthwhile experience even for those who are less interested in history and more interested in beautiful things. In addition to a lot of affordable things, there is also a children’s program that only a stone and mineral fair can provide. For example, splitting fossils is on the program: you have to break down limestone slabs with a hammer to uncover the fossils hidden in them. Visitors can take these with them. Then the little ones can also get involved in sifting gemstones and panning for gold. Not with real gold, of course, but with metal and stones, which you can even take home with you. Or, a more down-to-earth but all the more creative pleasure: soapstone carving. In the “Jurassic World” there is also a dinosaur world and for the slightly older children there is a lot to learn in lectures by the paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim.

“The Munich Show”2022 , Sept. 29-02. Oct., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Am Messeturm Riem, tickets between 9 and 39 euros

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