Speaker in the Spotlight: Q&A with Patrick Dreher

Master Carver, member of the Board of Trustees of the German Gemstone Museum and board member of the Federal Association of the Gemstone and Diamond Industry, Patrick Dreher is one of the highly anticipated speakers at the Gem-A Conference 2017 not to be missed.

Within his lecture on ‘Generations of Mastery’, Patrick Dreher will be delving into the history of Idar-Oberstein and why the town gets its reputation as a gemstone metropole. Patrick will take attendees back in history, exploring the generational legacy of the Dreher family as well as exploring how an animal carving is produced.

Gem-A caught up with Patrick Dreher to secure some exclusive insider knowledge and to find out what inspired him to pursue a career in master carving…

Q. How, when and what originally inspired you to pursue a career in carving?

I grew up in a gemstone carver family with a very long tradition working with gemstones; the history of my family goes back 13 generations. The first generation were agate cutters and the last 5 generations have been gemstone carvers. So it was more or less clear that I would follow in our family business. For me it was an easy decision to go this way, because I like nature, animals and even more so, gemstones. When I was younger I would often watch my father working, fascinated. After my first carving experience as a young child, I was sure I wanted to go on in the profession.

Q. Where do you find inspiration for your commissioned carvings?

Nature and animals themselves are the best inspiration for our art objects. Gemstones also often “tell” us what they want to be or become. It sounds a little funny; how can a stone tell you what it wants to be? Before we start one of our art objects, we look for the right gemstone and examine its features. We get to observe the stone, formulate an idea and analyse what will be the best “use” for the stone and what animal wants to come out of the stone. With expensive stones like aquamarine, we have to take care that not too much is cut from the stone. We try to keep these gemstones as big as possible in terms of their dimension and weight.

Speaker in the Spotlight: Q&A with Patrick Dreher - - Frog Carving
Speaker in the Spotlight: Q&A with Patrick Dreher - - Frog Carving
Multicolour tourmaline toad, ©Bill Larson. Photo by Robert Weldon.

Q. In your presentation at this year’s Gem-A Conference, what should we expect to hear and learn from you?

I will be presenting a lecture concerning the history of Idar-Oberstein and my family. The focus upon these subjects will be the shortest in my lecture; it will only be a brief overlook. The second half of my lecture will demonstrate to visitors how a gemstone carving is produced. I want to show them the step by step motions from start to finish whilst explaining the most important steps. The final part of my lecture will consist of a slide show showcasing a variety of finished carvings we have produced in the last year.

Q. What one word or phrase would you use to describe both yourself and the mission of your work?

“The passion” for gemstones and wildlife. The combination of beauty found within gemstones, mother earth alongside the living beauty of animals.

Speaker in the Spotlight: Q&A with Patrick Dreher - - Star Fish Carving
Speaker in the Spotlight: Q&A with Patrick Dreher - - Star Fish Carving
Strawberry starfish ©Bill Larson. Photo by Robert Weldon.
  • ‘Generations of Mastery’ by Patrick Dreher will take place Sunday 5 November 2017 at 09:45 – 10:45am.
  • To purchase your tickets to the Gem-A Conference 2017 and full listings of the programme, please visit the official website here.


Interested in finding out more about gemmology? Sign-up to one of Gem-A’s courses or workshops

If you would like to subscribe to Gems&Jewellery and The Journal of Gemmology please visit Membership

Cover image Patrick Dreher and Silverback Gorilla ©Dreher family. Strawberry starfish and tourmaline toad, ©Bill Larson. Photos by Robert Weldon.

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