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John Dyer's 'Internal Fire' Takes First Prize At Idar-Oberstein Gem-Cutting Competition

A "hauntingly beautiful" flame-shaped Brazilian citrine — conceived and meticulously faceted by American John Dyer — took first prize at the 46th German Award for Jewellery and Precious Stones. The awards ceremony took place in Idar-Oberstein on November 27.


Judges unanimously gave top honors to Dyer's "Internal Fire," an 88.17-carat red-orange gem that measures 52.6mm (2.07 in.) long by 20mm (.78 in) wide. The competition's theme was "Light My Fire," and Dyer's interpretation was right on point.

Explained Dyer, "The theme 'Light My Fire' didn’t immediately suggest anything to me so I prayed, asking God for inspiration about what to cut. From there on, it was an unfolding process."

The master gem cutter, who has won nearly 50 cutting awards since 2002, believed that an orange gem would fit the "fire" theme best.

"With this in mind, I searched through my stock of rough, and one deep orange citrine stood out," he said. "Once I had ground it clean, it was indeed a flame shape and so the process of cutting the gem was begun."

Dyer revealed that the look of a flame is achieved by the use of a unique faceting pattern on the underside of the gem.

"It has little flame-shaped internal facets on the back, which reflect light individually with varying intensities so that they look like flames shooting upwards as the gem is moved," he said.

The original rough gemstone weighed 335.50 carats, and the end product represented about one-quarter of that weight. The Edina, MN-based Dyer explained that the rough gem also yielded about 18 finished carats of smaller gems from sawn off pieces. The cutting process took four days.

One judge called the gem "hauntingly beautiful." Another said it was "a perfect gem which leaves no questions unanswered, executed with knowledge... The striking use of light refraction distinguishes this sensual yet powerful competition piece.”

The prestigious biennial competition in Idar-Oberstein brings together the work of top gem cutters from around the world. Judges consider the concept, realization of the theme and quality of craftsmanship to determine their winner.

Below are other impressive works from Dyer's portfolio...


46.22ct Bolivian ametrine in a StarBrite™ round cut.


6.82ct Sherry zircon in a Regal Radiant™ cushion cut. Mined in Tanzania or Kenya.


16.58ct Oregon sunstone in a ZigZag cut.


11.52ct Blue topaz StarBrite™ cut.


A 3.17ct StarBrite™ cut oval pink spinel.


3.82ct Afghani tourmaline rectangle with concave faceting.