Q&A: Constantin Wild Celebrates 175 Years in the Colored Stone Business

SourcingSep 29, 2022

Q&A: Constantin Wild Celebrates 175 Years in the Colored Stone Business

The family business’ fourth-generation eponymous owner reflects on the milestone and the market today.

Colored stone company Constantin Wild has supplied the trade with precious gems for 175 years and found several ways to celebrate, including the publishing of a new coffee table book, an image from which is seen here.
New York—Celebrating a century in business already seems like an incredible feat, so marking 175 years feels almost unfathomable.

And yet German colored stone company Constantin Wild reached that milestone this year.

The company has supplied fine quality colored stones to the trade since 1847, traveling the world to find the best and manufacturing at its facility in Idar-Oberstein.

Current owner Constantin Wild, who shares his name with the company, stepped into the family business in 1984 at the age of 20 following the sudden death of his father.

He joined the company after finishing his GIA G.G. classes, and eventually bought the company from his mother to become the sole owner.

He is the fourth generation of the family to run the company and 10th consecutive generation of the Wild family to be in gem cutting or jewelry-making.

As the business came into its 175th year, Wild knew he had to celebrate, and the company feted the occasion appropriately.

In July, they hosted a three-day celebration weekend.

It started with an informal get-together in Wild’s garden on Friday night, followed by a gala event Saturday evening with performances from the Casino-Salon Orchestra and the Simon Höneß band, a film highlighting its history, and a tour of the company’s “mineral grotto.” The weekend culminated in a farewell brunch on Sunday.

The company also published a beautiful coffee table book called “Gems, Colours & Wild Stories—175 years of Constantin Wild,” taking readers into the world of gemstones using both Wild’s voice and those of other experts in the field.

Through its more than 300 pages, the book traces the journey of stones and the talented artisans who shape them along the way, what makes each colored stone special, facts and figures interested readers might want to know, high jewelry creations, and more.

To hear more about these projects and the meaning of the anniversary, National Jeweler recently interviewed Wild via email.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

National Jeweler: Let’s start by talking about how you celebrated 175 years. You had an event to celebrate the company’s anniversary this summer, and it seems like it was a pretty big to-do. Tell me about it and why you wanted to host it.

Constantin Wild: How many companies have the opportunity to celebrate their 175th anniversary? Half of all public companies disappear within the first 10 years. Only one in seven exists for 30 years, and only one in 20 can celebrate the 50th anniversary.

Constantin Wild GmbH & Co. KG is a family business, and that makes a difference. We combine so much passion and history with the day-to-day operations that we didn't want to let this special date pass without celebrating it accordingly.

Finally, after more than two years of restrictions because of the pandemic, Constantin Wild took the opportunity to welcome longtime friends, business partners, and companions in person again. When so much emphasis is placed on personal consultation and trust, we wanted to take this opportunity to simply say “thank you.”

NJ: You also released a coffee table book to mark the occasion. Tell me about that too.

CW: The gemstone company Constantin Wild has a long tradition to look back on: 400 years and 10 generations of cutters, goldsmiths, and gemstone merchants have shaped the fortunes of this house. Since 1996, I have been the head of our family enterprise, founded in 1847 by my great-grandfather Johann Carl as J.C. Wild IX in Idar.

As we are celebrating our 175th anniversary in 2022, I wanted to create something lasting. That's why I decided to produce “Constantin Wild: Gems, Colours & Wild Stories,” an exclusive book, as an homage to courageous men and women, excellent craftsmen, dauntless adventurers, and the most precious colors of all, which mean the world to me. 

I like diamonds, but I love gemstones. Gemstones have lusher hues, and they have more individuality and more personality. Putting that love on the line, I tried to whisk the readers away into the very special world of rare colors and unique emotions—into my world.

I have the most wonderful profession in the world. I love what I do, even after almost 40 years. “Gems, Colours & Wild Stories” is an expression of that love and passion, and a big “thank you” to all those who share it.

The book was brought out in English in December 2021 by Arnoldsche Art Publishers of Stuttgart and is available at bookshops now. 

 “Uprightness, honesty, commitment, and the highest quality standards are among our core values. They are the foundation of the deep trust and pleasure in working together that have united us with our international customers, business partners, and employees for centuries.” 

NJ: What does it mean to you to be celebrating 175 years of your family’s company?

CW: This special jubilee was also a journey back in time. I have many memories of the company’s 125th anniversary celebrations. My brothers and I were allowed to join my parents at the time, and I was so very proud of my family and our business.

On this occasion, my father, who experienced two world wars, concluded his speech at the time with the words: “Most of all, however, my hope and sincere wish is that never again will a war destroy all hope and success.”

As this hope died on Feb. 24 [with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine], I wanted to do something special for the people who are not as fortunate as we are. We were able to help a little by presenting Tears of Hope, the precious piece of jewelry by Caterina Mureno, for which we donated an excellent 4.58-carat Brazilian rubellite. The jewelry was auctioned, and the proceeds will benefit Ukrainian refugees.

NJ: What do you think it takes to survive in business so long?

CW: The historic town of Idar-Oberstein—the cradle of colored gemstones—where my great-grandfather Johann Carl Wild founded the company in 1847 is the starting point of a far-reaching international network. And a precious treasure lies hidden here—tradition and expertise as the foundation stone of a profound knowledge of gemstones, which our customers and partners have appreciated for more than 35 years.

We know each of our stones by name. We know its history and its origin because every little detail determines its value, and that ultimately lies in our hands. We determine the right cut so that the stone can unfold its magnificent beauty.

Uprightness, honesty, commitment, and the highest quality standards are among our core values—they are the foundation of the deep trust and pleasure in working together that have united us with our international customers, business partners, and employees for centuries. Traditions are crucial to us; they are the essence of our attitude because they are fundamental to our success, here, now, and for the future.

Constantin Wild’s new book, published in time to celebrate its major milestone of 175 years in business
Constantin Wild’s new book, published in time to celebrate its major milestone of 175 years in business

NJ: What are some of the biggest changes to the colored stone market you’ve noticed since you started in the business?

CW: Colored gems are becoming more and more popular over the last 40 years. Internet and easy world traveling helped a lot.

NJ: On the flip side, what’s something you think stays the same about the world of colored stones?

CW: The emotions involved. 

NJ: What are your thoughts about the market now, its health, and its future?

CW: It’s strong and shall stay strong. Inflation times, as in the U.S. and Europe, are always gem-buying times, as people want to shift part of their wealth into a solid form.

NJ: When it comes to fine stones, what are you finding people are looking for or buying right now?

CW: Quality and the unusual. It requires a lot of experience and knowledge to pick the best gems. You cannot go to the market and buy; you have to collect when available.

The task of most customers is no less than to create jewelry in which unique minerals become a work of art. Such unusual and unique gemstones can only be found at a few selected gemstone experts. We offer in a unique way the whole range of the gemstone fascination, from the rough stone to the finishing, under one roof.

A look at two of the pages in Constantin Wild’s new book inviting readers into their world of precious colored gemstones
A look at two of the pages in Constantin Wild’s new book inviting readers into their world of precious colored gemstones

The result speaks for itself—an interplay between man and nature, where craftsmanship and natural beauty combine in unexpected ways to form a new entity.

NJ: What suggestions do you think you’d have for the next generation trying to build a business?

CW: I think we have an outstanding 175 years of history, so we can’t have done that much wrong. Then as now, trust is key. Maintaining that trust is the basis of our business for the future because there will always be market players setting lower prices or making other promises that need to be proven over the long term.

Don’t see gems as a commodity. Don’t use gem trade as a business model—the gem business (will not) make you rich money-wise, but a pleasure and passion to work with beautiful things. This makes you rich in your soul, not in your bank account. Whenever I have money in hand because of selling a gem, I reinvest it in buying another (hopefully upgraded) one.

In German we have the expression “steinreich aber geldarm.” It means rich in gems but poor in money, which is not the worst thing to have in inflation times. 

You need to love gems, have a passion, feel the emotions. Pick, collect, and give back to the market. Be truthful and be yourself. Share your emotions.

 Related stories will be right here … 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

AuctionsNov 23, 2022
This Sapphire Tiara Once Owned by a Danish Princess Is Going to Auction

The Dec. 1 jewelry sale at Bonhams-owned Bruun Rasmussen will have several other pieces of royal jewelry on the block.

FinancialsNov 23, 2022
Movado Lowers Guidance Amid ‘Uncertain’ Retail Environment

Its Q3 sales dipped as inflation took its toll on shoppers in the U.S. and Europe.

MajorsNov 23, 2022
De Beers Jewellers Is Popping Up in Connecticut

The temporary store is the result of a collaboration with Betteridge.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

CollectionsNov 23, 2022
Piece of the Week: Rembrandt’s Turkey Charm

Charm fans will gobble up this festive “Piece of the Week” pick.

Weekly QuizNov 18, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
AuctionsNov 22, 2022
Jewelry Recovered from Sunken ‘Ship of Gold’ Heads to Auction

The S.S. Central America sank in 1857 off the coast of South Carolina, carrying tons of gold from the California Gold Rush.

IndependentsNov 22, 2022
See the Greek Jewels Going to Auction for Charity

Several Greek jewelry designers have donated pieces to the annual Hellenic Initiative silent auction.

Brought to you by
Diamond Shoppers’ 2022 Holiday Wish List

Give your customers the best diamond buying experience this holiday season.

Events & AwardsNov 22, 2022
Hodinkee to Receive Gem Award for Watch Excellence

Plus, see this year’s list of nominees for the Jewelry Design, Media Excellence, and Retail Excellence awards.

TechnologyNov 21, 2022
Version 2.0 of the NDC’s ‘Assure’ Directory Is Now Live

Assure is the program the Natural Diamond Council launched in 2019 to test lab-grown diamond screening devices.

MajorsNov 21, 2022
JK Findings Acquires Intercept Silver & Jewelry Care

Intercept Silver & Jewelry Care distributes anti-corrosion and anti-tarnish products.

MajorsNov 21, 2022
David Yurman Just Opened a Palm Beach Outpost

It’s located on famed shopping street Worth Avenue.

EditorsNov 18, 2022
9 of My Favorite Pieces from the AGTA Spectrum Awards Editors’ Day

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator’s highlights include a chrome tourmaline ring, a giant opal necklace, and an American mined stone.

CrimeNov 18, 2022
Jewelry Store Security Guard Killed in Armed Robbery

Police in Calumet City, Illinois are looking for several suspects involved in the robbery of a jewelry store in the River Oaks Mall.

MajorsNov 18, 2022
AGS Adds Sumit Dangi to Board of Directors

Dangi is global chief financial officer and treasurer at Jewelers Mutual Group.

CollectionsNov 18, 2022
Piece of the Week: Tabayer’s ‘Oera’ Pendant

The brand’s signature shape is rendered in an autumn-appropriate color palette.

GradingNov 17, 2022
GIA Labs Report Receiving 2 Moissanites Submitted as Diamonds

The discoveries were outlined in the Lab Notes section of the fall 2022 issue of Gems & Gemology.

MajorsNov 17, 2022
Boucheron’s Magical Holiday Campaign Has Landed

“Boucheron Wonderland” showcases best-selling styles, high jewelry, and some familiar faces.

MajorsNov 17, 2022
At eBay’s New Pop-Up, Pre-Owned Luxury Goods Are Currency

The temporary space in New York’s Diamond District lets shoppers trade in one authenticated luxury item for another.

SourcingNov 17, 2022
De Beers’ Oct/Nov Rough Sales Total $450M

As in September, the company’s sales were up slightly year-over-year but down month-to-month.

GradingNov 17, 2022
Professor of Artificial Intelligence Among Additions to GIA Board of Governors

Lake Dai, who teaches at Carnegie Mellon University, joins the board alongside Rosy Blue Managing Director Russell Mehta.

AuctionsNov 16, 2022
One More Big Pink Diamond Heads to Auction, With $35M Price Tag

It follows a few other notable fancy color diamonds at auction this fall, with mixed results.

CollectionsNov 16, 2022
There’s a New Jewelry Destination in Greenwich, Conn.

Serpentine Jewels has branched out from its private jeweler beginnings to a ready-to-wear collection and a Connecticut townhouse.

WatchesNov 16, 2022
Rolex Names New Group President

A filing made in Switzerland shows Nicolas Brünschwig now holds the top position at one of the most popular brands in the world.

Events & AwardsNov 16, 2022
These Pearl Jewels Won the 2022 CPAA Design Competition

The Cultured Pearl Association of America held its 13th annual International Pearl Design Competition this fall.

WatchesNov 16, 2022
Accutron Watches Has Its Very Own Whiskey

The watch brand partnered for the second time with Hudson Whiskey on a limited-edition blend.

ColumnistsNov 15, 2022
Creative Connecting: Managing Customers’ Expectations During the Custom Design Process

A great custom design experience starts with listening to your customers, Duvall O’Steen and Jen Cullen Williams say.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy