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Sad News: Oppi Untracht has passed away


We have just received the news that Oppi Untracht died last week. Dr
Erhard Brepohl, a senior statesman among goldsmiths, sent this
from Germany:

"It is our sad duty to announce the passing away of our relative and
long time friend,


on July 5th, 2008 at the age of 85, after several years of fighting
against a serious illness…"

“We know those who live in the heart of others never die - and so it
is with Oppi.”

Tim McCreight, Charles Lewton-Brain

My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

I felt it only right to respond to this post in order to let his
family know how much of an impact his work has had on my own life.
His Jewellery “bible” was the first reference book I ever bought. His
sharing of knowledge was what got me into the trade in the first
place. I thank him for this… May he be remembered in his work.

Gwen Doran.

To All,

We are sadden by the news of Oppi’s passing…We, too, have used his
books as “The Reference Source/Bible” for many years. The depth of
and documentation is incredible… It was our pleasure to
actually have him attend one of our Metal Arts Guild meetings years
ago and what a speaker & inspiration he was! This now reminded me to
check my copy of “Jewelry-Concepts & Technology” and sure enough he
had been gracious to autograph it…So, I say to all what he wrote to
me -“All the Best!!” To his family, we send our condolences and
please know that we are blessed to have had him in our metals world.
With our deepest sympathy,

Jo-Ann Maggiora Donivan & John Donivan

MY heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Oppi Untracht.
As a special present one year my sister gave me a copy of his
wonderful book. He has opened up a world of for those of
us making jewelry. His book is a great legacy that he has left for
all of us. He will indeed by remembered for this monumental gift he
has given us.

Alma Rands

That is very sad news. Oppi may have died but he is not gone. He
lives on in his legacy. His work 'Jewelry, concepts and technology’
has been, and continues to be, a major source of inspiration and
knowledge for me.

John Bowling

Hi Gwen;

His Jewellery "bible" was the first reference book I ever bought.
His sharing of knowledge was what got me into the trade in the
first place. 

I feel the same way. That big old book has been the most important
book in my library for over 30 years. I had a professor, Phillip
Fike, now departed too, who was a living version of such a book, but
I know he got a lot of his knowledge from Oppi. I’m glad he had a
good long life and was acknowledged for his wonderful contributions
to this art of ours.

Hello All

As a Humanist the closest that I have to a holy book is “Jewelry,
concepts and technology” - Oppi was my High Priest. He may no longer
be with us but as long as there are jewellers his memory will never
die. I have never had the pleasure of meeting him but I feel that I
have lost a dear friend and I know that I am not the only one - we
are many. Much of what I am as a jeweller is down to that amazing
man - and again we are many.

Robin Key
Clavis Jewellery
Aberdeen, Scotland

His Jewellery "bible" was the first reference book I ever bought.
His sharing of knowledge was what got me into the trade in the
first place. 

I too feel that way. I bought that book in 1992, it think, when I
first started my studio. I used it at the shop I apprenticed for a
reference and guide many times. I purchased it because I knew I would
feel lost without it. I owe most of what I know to that most fabulous
book. It is a great book. i have others by Oppi but I love the big

Oppi will be missed. He was a great treasure in the industry.

I send out the very best wishes for his family and close friends.


I am so sorry and sad to hear of Oppi’s passing. His books were my
bibles. I had a course from him over 30 years ago and he was a dear
human being. I will miss him. I have so many other thoughts I wish I
could put into verse, but I can’t, other than he will be greatly
missed by so very many people.

Jennifer Friedman

Truly a great loss, not only to his family and friends, but also to
those of us who only know of Oppi through his marvelous books. We
owe a debt of gratitude to his patience and persistence in writing
such tomes of excellence.

My condolences to Oppi’s family and friends, Judy in Kansas, who
frequently refers to “Jewelry - Concepts and Technology”

I was in the middle of writing a letter to another Orchidian and
just now popped over to my Orchid folder to read this. I missed the
original post due to traveling with no internet.

Deep sigh here. I met Oppi Untracht at a SNAG conference and had his
book on Indian Jewelry personally autographed. His book on Jewelry
Concepts and Technique was the first book I purchased which launched
my jewelry career. It was not a tool or piece of equipment that got
me going, it was education.

Oppi was a wonderful and delightful character who professed a deep
passion for which we both shared…collectivitus. I offered to come
dust his house whenever he needed someone to help him out. I never
made it to Finland.

Wherever you are Oppi, thanks. Your contributions to this industry
have helped millions. Rest now and in great peace with the knowledge
that you made your mark in history.

Karen Christians
Waltham, MA

Dear Karen! Dear All!

Oppi Untracht was, indeed, a pioneer in many ways and his books are
renowned all over the World. As for me, ‘Traditional Jewelry of
India’ is one of my ‘magical mystery’ books:looking inside when I am
depressed, when I am in search of creative energy, when I want
to’highten my spirits’… a deep and never ending source of
liveliness and beauty.

“Jewelry Concepts and Technology” is amongst the Brepohl and Alan
Revere’s Oeuvres the most important technical ‘reservoir’ I allways
refer to. In his works Mr. Untracht will remain with us… Bon
voyage, Mr. Untracht…

Sigrid Schneider, Vienna/Austria

It was with great sadness that I had heard of his passing. But
thankful for the great works on metals and their forming and working
and decorating.

Everyone mentions his bible, but rarely do the mention the 2 other
great works he did that I know of.

The Metal Techniques for Craftsmen : It has been reissued again the
10th reprint of THE standard reference work on Metal forming and
decoration. I’m glad that it was as I was able to pick up a copy new
for a more reasonable price than most go for used.

Some times I think he has a time machine as it covers metal work
from the first cave person picking up a rock and beating a piece of
native copper or silver for a bauble to the recent present. With a
shift in what he calls western work techniques for the east and
middle eastern sitting on the dirt floor holding the item with your
feet style.

The current printing is an Robert Hale imprint
2005 printing date
copyright 1969,1975

It is divide into the following parts:

* Part One Metals: basic information
* Part Two : Metal Decorative Techniques
   * A} Decorative Techniques employing contrasting metals
   * B} Metal techniques that require soldering
   * C} Combining metals with nonmetalic materials
* Part Three: Methods of fabrication
* Part Four:Metal Finishing
* Part Five: Hand Tools and their uses
* Part Six: Charts and tables
* and finishing up with source of supply( you can see what the
long operating ones are) Glossary of terms, bibliography 

The 3rd book was his first book and it was: Enameling on Metal by
Oppi Untracht
Chilton Company
Library of Congress catalog card Number 57-11904

9 chapters plus a comprehensive appendix

* What is Enamel
* Material and Tools
* Making a Sampler
* Preparations for enameling
* Traditional Techniques
* Techniques to Produce the unqiue
* Techniques for Production Designs
* Causes and Corrections of Defects
* Enameling Projects
* Appendix: that covers a wide range of materials and info

This was my first book on enameling and it opened a wondrous world
of possibilities in the arena of metal arts. It cover everything
from A to Z the only draw back today is that it was based on lead
based colors used in the glass. Other than that and some minor
things that have become better understood. Along with modern ways of
doing things and supplies. I feel it is still as good now as it was
then. I have the latest and have used some of the new materials.
Other than the colors changing due to the lack of the hazardous
chemicals that are no longer in the enamel. Little did that Jr. high
shop teacher think what he had wrought! I may not be a noted artist
or for that matter more than a passable enamelist. But its has been
a delightful ride along with a bunch of fun. So you have three of the
must have books if you are in metal arts two if you have no interest
in the glassing of metal as a means of decoration.

So although we mourn his passing we can rejoice in the fact that his
knowledge is and will be with us for a long time.


Dear Glen!

You are right! I have an older version of the book. It ist
wonderful, informative, richly illustrated. His books have made their
way through the World…

Thank you Mr.Untracht
Sigrid, Vienna/Austria