Vintage Modernist Munsteiner Jewel

July 16th, 2011 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Want to own a piece of historical art jewelry? We are pleased to showcase this wonderful handmade Modernist brooch/pendant of 18k yellow gold set with diamonds and a fabulous red fantasy cut tourmaline weighing 10.05 carats, created by the brilliant lapidary artist, Bernd Munsteiner.

Classically trained in Pforzheim and working in Idar Oberstein, Munsteiner became famous in the gem world during the 1970’s for his innovative gem cutting. His stated mission- “I try to show in my stones how human life is reflected in the structure of minerals.”

Bernd Munsteiner

Using high quality gem materials, he pioneered wonderful abstract sculptures, true works of art characterized by unusual shapes highlighted with reverse facets and grooves carved into the flat planes of the gem, creating unique reflective patterns never before seen in gemstones. He also became known for focusing on gem inclusions in his compositions. His award winning work opened the door on a whole new field of lapidary art where artists like Wallace Chan could explore entirely new ways to work with inclusions and light within transparent gems.

His family continues his work to this day. Among other awards, Mr. Munsteiner received the coveted Life Honorary Member Award from the American Gem Trade Association in recognition for his lasting contributions to the time honored field of the Lapidary Arts.

Master goldsmith Patrick Irla crafted this classic example of Modernism around Munsteiner’s great tourmaline. From the provenance provided by the original owner, we know the stone was cut prior to 1987 and the brooch created prior to 1989.

If you would like to acquire this work of art, inquire at 951 682-2325 or email

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