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Reading & Writing
08/15/22
I love the written word and have dreamed, since I was a girl, of being a writer. On some level, I’ve probably always been one. Writings in the form of journals, notes, and ideas clutter my offices, desktops, phone, nightstand — essentially every available surface, electronic and otherwise. I write newsletters, proposals, and reports. I post on social media, write letters and emails, and I sometimes write for the monograph series. My aspiration, I have come to realize, was really for something more — my dream was to be an author.

About three years ago, Joel Bartsch approached me about publishing a catalog to accompany an exhibition of Dreher animal carvings at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I declined, as while I loved the carvings, I had a lot on my plate and publishing a catalog didn’t seem all that interesting. Later that year, I visited Patrick Dreher in Idar-Oberstein, and he told me about the exhibition, which was to include several never-before-shown pieces carved by his grandfather Paul Dreher.

As we ogled pieces created by four generations of Dreher carvers, Patrick piqued my interest with details of the family history and the surprise emergence of dozens of Paul’s carvings, collected by Werner and Evelyn Stern. I called Joel to see where the project stood. They had hired a woman to write the text and Jeff Scovil was taking the pictures, but they still needed a designer and publisher. Discussions carried on into the beginning of the pandemic, which coincided with submission of the manuscript.

While the story flowed okay, it did not deliver on some of the things that gave the story depth: there was no new material on Idar-Oberstein’s relationship to Fabergé; Paul’s service in World War II was barely mentioned (at the family’s request); similarly skirted was the story of the remarkable Werner Stern. In the 1930s, he was an attorney in Oberstein and member of a prominent Jewish jewelry-manufacturing family. Werner’s uncle Moritz Stern had been Fabergé’s contact in Oberstein before World War I. Werner and his family were driven out of Germany in the wake of the Kristallnacht. His brother Richard was interred for a short time in Dachau, the family’s home was burned, and Werner himself assaulted during the pogrom. Yet, amazingly, Werner returned to his homeland in the late 1940s, even before Paul, who had been captured and was a prisoner of war in Russia, had returned. I wanted to explore the connection between Fabergé and Idar-Oberstein and to better understand the mettle of Paul Dreher and Werner Stern. And most of all, I was interested in the exhibition’s central figure Paul’s son (Patrick’s father) Gerd Dreher, who was a visionary artist, craftsman, and naturalist.

The months that followed became a personal journey, not just through the marvelous legacy of Dreher gemstone animal carvings, but also through the rich history that made them possible. As I noted in the book, Joel, “by design or accident, gave me the incredible opportunity to delve into the Dreher story, indulging numerous delays and digressions, and allowing me, under the guise of producing an exhibition catalogue, to explore big ideas such as the nature of art, forgiveness, and human resiliency. I am grateful, and not for Joel alone. I had the privilege of bouncing my ideas off polymath Terry Wallace, who is a gifted author and is willing, like all of my best teachers, to unequivocally deem an idea worthless. I and this narrative have benefited immeasurably from his ‘kibitzing’.” While it is up to others to decide whether I have earned the author honorific through this project, I know that it has changed me, and I hope that this book has done justice to the Dreher legacy.

Thus I am pleased (and a little nervous) to announce the release of the new book Dreher Masterworks, written by Gloria Staebler and Terry Wallace, and illustrated by the incomparable Jeff Scovil. The book can be purchased through our website or the Museum Store at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Lapis in Germany has a few copies as well. If you are interested in a signed copy, Terry Wallace and I will be at the East Coast Gem & Mineral Show (Dave Bunk Minerals’ booth 126a). Patrick Dreher will be at the Houston Museum that same weekend signing books. If you can’t make the East Coast show, we are planning signing events at the Denver and Tucson shows that will include Jeff Scovil and hopefully Patrick Dreher. We’ll have other titles available at all of these venues as well, as we are not the only ones who have published gem and mineral books in the last 18 months.

Next on Lithographie’s calendar is the Agate monograph, which will be followed by a monograph on Tsumeb. If we can find an angel (line for the divine), we’ll do an expanded edition of the latter and print it in 7-color. If you have photos that you would like considered for either publication, please drop us an email. We’re looking forward to getting back to our monograph series and to hopefully seeing you either virtually or in person very soon.

In Gratitude,
:-) Gloria Staebler
Publisher


Catching Up
12/07/19
When last we updated, we were working to get Michael Bainbridge's long-awaited book The William W. Pinch Collection at the Canadian Museum of Nature to press and our Rubellite monograph on deck. A year later, I am happy to report at least one success — Rubellite has been printed and is en route to our enormously patient subscribers and customers.

In the decade since our 2002 Tourmaline monograph went out of print, we've had customers requesting a reprint. But changes in the world of tourmaline, in printing technologies, and in our aesthetic and customer base demanded a new approach to the subject. I had been thinking maybe an Elbaite monograph and approached Skip Simmons with the idea. Skip was game, but he thought we could provide better perspective on the ever-evolving tourmaline group (to which 19 new species have been added since 2002) if we looked at the Rubellite variety of tourmaline instead. Ultimately our all-star Rubellite team put together an outsized volume, which includes plenty of new information and insights and is loaded with high-quality photographs. We think you're going to like it.

"That's great," you're saying, "But what about the Pinch book? We've been waiting forever!" I promise you that Pinch is still in the works and is nearing completion. I back-burnered the Pinch book for personal reasons that in hindsight I don't thoroughly understand, but it felt at the time that it was what I needed to do.

The moment this newsletter hits the ether, I will be back on Pinch, working on it until it is completed. It was pretty far-advanced when I put it down, and I hope to have it available for Tucson. Either way, we'll keep you posted. If you've pre-ordered the book and don't want to wait any longer, I totally understand. Please email us and we'll send you a refund.


Thank you!
Thank you once again for your support, especially in the last several years. You've been with us in sickness and and in health, through the joy and pain, and your being there means more to me, to my family, to all of us at Lithographie and Lithos, than you can imagine. We're a family business, and you're most definitely a part of it.

:-) Gloria Staebler
Publisher


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