Idar-Oberstein Gemstone Mine (Steinkaulenberg) 2016

Idar-Oberstein Gemstone Mine (Steinkaulenberg) 2016

Coordinates: 49°43’36” N, 7°16’43” O
Show mine length: 400 m
Opened from: 1978
Renovation: December 2015 – March 2016
Equipment: 300 lamps, 1200 Watts of total power
Location: Idar-Oberstein, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

1. Introduction
Idar-Oberstein is one of the oldest towns in Germany. It is a town of many different sights, which turns it into one of the most popular destinations for both natives and visitors. One of the most interesting tourist attractions is undoubtedly Gemstone Mine in Steinkaulenberg.

2. Aim of the project
The gemstone mines in Steinkaulenberg are the only gemstone mines in Europe accessible to the public. You will see sparkling rock crystals, amethysts, smoky quartz, calcite. For that reason the operators, Edelsteinminen GmbH, in cooperation with the city of Idar-Oberstein, set themselves the target of improving the presentation of the show mines and saving them from destruction in the long run. This could be realized by completely replacing the traditional illumination through an LED lighting system produced and installed by Cave Lighting™.

3. The project
Just after our first visit to the gemstone mines in Steinkaulenberg, we found out that the installation of a new lighting system had become necessary. The previous system, from the 1980s, was no longer sufficient to cope with the safety requirements and repairing was not economically viable anymore.

The Cave Lighting™ team started the project in December 2015. As mentioned above, a completely new general -, safety – and effect lighting system using LED technology was installed. A total of 300 spotlights, which can partly be operated by remote control, was installed as well as a new distribution board, an eleven-meter-long fibre glass reinforced bridge as well as an optical fibre network. The system is linked to the operation building via fibre optic and can be monitored from there by a control unit. The effect lighting is supplemented by three multimedia elements. During construction works the previous wooden bridge built over the subterranean lake was replaced by a fibre glass reinforced plastic construction too. The total costs of the project amounted to approximately 200,000 EUR, including planning costs, with the eligible costs being subsidized at 80 per cent by the Land of Rheinland-Pfalz.

Cave Lighting™ would like to take this opportunity to express its gratitude to Pullig Computersysteme from Idar-Oberstein for providing the multimedia elements as well as to the team from the municipal work yard, which helped to redesign the exit area.

4. The result
Mayor Frank Frühauf considers the money to be well invested, “for this mine is unique in Europe and it is a major tourist attraction of our town”. The new lighting system makes it now possible to effectively showcase this gem.  A convenient side effect is the substantial energy saving using LED technology.

In the subsequent guided tour through the visitor gallery the guests were able to get an impression of the successful implementation of the building project as well as of the new LED lighting. Thanks to the building measures and the new LED illumination the mine guides are now able showcase the exhibits during their presentations through special lighting effects. The illumination is supplemented by multimedia elements, illustrating among other things the miners´ working methods. The visitors were highly impressed by the new lighting system and State Secretary Stich liked the presentation so much that he is going to visit the gemstone mines again during the summer holidays together with his family.

Written by Anna Toplak

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