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Gerd Dreher
Master Gem Carver


lhc131tn.jpg (13613 bytes)According to numerous connoisseurs Gerd Dreher is the finest hardstone carver ever. This may sound like hyperbole; but for many years I have searched unsuccessfully for any hardstone sculpture that is equal.  Gerd’s grandfather Herman Dreher (1876-1960) began the family tradition of excellence and some of his work was produced for, and sold as, “Fabergé.”

Paul Dreher (1910-1968), Gerd’s father, continued the family’s high standards and, in collaboration with Georg Wild, produced the finest carvings available in that period. From time to time some of Paul’s work has been mistakenly attributed to the house of Fabergé.

Gerd Dreher was born in Idar-Oberstein, Germany in 1943 and has been producing his realistic animal masterpieces for about 20 years now. In addition to his sculptural genius, Gerd is a careful  naturalist and this devotion to natural realism in muscle, sinew and motion is partly what sets his carvings apart from that of others. His library of videotapes of animals-in-action is massive, indeed.

From the forthcoming book Mineral Masterpieces: The Gem Carvings of Gerd Dreher by Joel A. Bartsch, Curator of Gems and Minerals of the Houston Museum of Natural Science- “His ability to capture warmth, personality, and even movement in cold, hard, stone is the result of precise attention to even the minutest details and an understanding of the full range of motion which plants and animals possess. He breathes life into stone by endowing the
lifeless chunk of rough with what  he envisions in his mind’s eye. This ability to animate the inanimate is the result of a highly creative mind combined with a lifetime spent observing the animal kingdom.  The positioning of each carving reflects nuances of movement which are captured first by his discerning eye, translated by a creative, detail-oriented mind, and bestowed upon the rough stone through his mastery of the lapidary arts. Dreher looked at [a piece of] rough for more than a decade...and one day he saw it...‘The mouse itself was sitting there all along... it just  took me more than ten years to see it’”

Enjoy the photographs of these three rare carvings. Dreher masterpieces are very difficult to acquire and his lifetime production of, perhaps, a total of 500 objects is mostly privately held.

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Lawrence H. Conklin
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