It’s like something out of a fairy tale: at the end of September a Pakistani fisherman pulled a collection of 29 gemstones, some 80 years old, out of the Indian Ocean. Thanks to the imprint of a company stamp he was able to identify Wilhelm Constantin Wild of Idar-Oberstein as the original owner. The fisherman decided that the gemstone collection, being part of family history, should make its way back to Germany. He also thought it would be a nice token of friendship between Muslims and Germans. Being an upright man, he waived his right to a finder’s reward. In a particularly touching gesture, he said he would like to fill the empty compartment with some pearls, making the family a present of them in lieu of the tiger’s eye which was now missing from the collection.

“At first, it wasn’t at all clear how or when my grandfather’s collection would be able to find its way back to Idar-Oberstein”, says Constantin Wild. But with the aid of an international logistics company, the collection, which has a high sentimental value for him, soon set out on the journey home. This very week, the entrepreneur received the extraordinary package from Pakistan.

Once it has been examined to verify its genuineness, he will be handing the collection over on loan to the German Gemstone Museum. “Later, of course, the find will be given a place of honour in my treasure chamber”, says Constantin Wild.

Details still to be clarified

It will now be possible to examine exactly how old the collection is. Early assumptions suggest that it was probably put together between the First and Second World Wars, since Idar and Oberstein did not actually amalgamate until 1933. At any rate, the stamp with the impression ‘Idar-Oberstein’ originates from the time after the amalgamation. The high-quality workmanship which can be seen in the photos is a clue indicating that this was one of the earlier issues of this kind of collection, for in later years these were mass-produced cheaply, finding their way out into many parts of the world.

Exhibition at the German Gemstone Museum

Anyone wishing to inspect the gemstone collection him or herself will be able to admire it very soon indeed at the German Gemstone Museum in Idar-Oberstein. It will be on view there as ‘object of the month’ until the end of November.

It was clear to Constantin Wild that the warm-heartedness and sincerity of the finder ought to be rewarded. He intends to transfer a finder’s reward of 1000 dollars to the Pakistani fisherman as a down payment on a new fishing-boat, in the hope of improving the life of this honest man and his family.

Wilhelm Constantin Wild (1866 - 1956)
Antique Gemstone collection with the Foto of Wilhelm Constantin Wild. The fisherman replaced the missing Tiger's eye with a pearl as a token of friendship
Gemstone collection with 29 gemstones found in Indian Ocean back home in Idar-Oberstein
German gemstone museum - Deutsches Edelsteinmuseum Idar-Oberstein
The honest finder: fisherman Abdullah with his children