The second edition of GemGenève that concluded in May was a haven of rare gemstones and outstanding jewellery designs.
May 8th 2019, Geneva, 4.00 pm – one of the most beautiful gems and jewellery shows opens its doors for the VIP preview. Last minute checks and adjustments are underway as the players rush to take their places, exhibitors re-arrange their wares once again, catering checks the champagne, security takes their position. Only in its second year, GemGenève has already carved a niche for itself as the place to find rare, top-grade gemstones, vintage and antique jewellery, objets d’art and innovative artist jewellers.
However, GemGenève is more than a gem and jewellery show, raising the bar in its second year with a diverse array of educative talks by leading experts, historians, authors, and artists. In a transactional world, where no one has the time or the inclination to educate anymore, it’s a beacon of knowledge and art.
One of the top highlights from GemGenève 2019 was the Designer Vivarium – a curated collection of 11 jewellery artists, employing top-grade material to present exquisite designs that have been handcrafted to perfection. Some of my selections were Mr Lieou with his lovely Orchid earrings featuring mechanical diamond wings that open and close. The technique alone took Nicholas Lieou, the designer, two whole years to master. Another standout brand was Russia-based Tenzo jewellery. The brainchild of Alexander Tenzo, who started in the industry as a gem merchant, the collection offers clients an incredible array of top-grade gemstones that are difficult to find. The rarity factor is further enhanced as Alexander has employed these exceptional gems artistically, delivering investmentworthy creations. The female-led brands that captured my eye were Ming Jewellery from London and Milio Art jewellery from Russia. First-time exhibitor, Ming Lampson shares her views, “GemGenève was an amazing exhibition. I am delighted with the media attention I received, the new buyers that I met and new friends I made. It was very special to be among such an extraordinary crowd of jewellery and gemstone experts and to receive such flattering attention for my brand Ming Jewellery.”
The second year saw the show 42% larger in size, with 210 exhibitors from countries across the globe, including for the first time, Taiwan. Co-founders and exhibitors themselves, Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah were encouraged by the 11% increase in visitor numbers, over 4,800 visitors, represented by 37% Swiss visitors and 63% foreigners. The visitors included both trade and public, dealers, retailers, creative directors, collectors, consultants and connoisseurs, as well as academics, students, lovers of jewels and gemstones.
Comparing GemGenève in 2019 with the first edition of 2018, second-time exhibitor Dharmendra Tank commented, “The layout of the show was superb, I thought the criss-cross manner in which they planned the layout ensured buyers visited all sections and walked by every booth. The aisles were more spacious with more lounge areas to meet with customers, a good achievement considering the increase in the number of exhibitors. While our sales numbers were the same as last year, out of all the customers, we met, approximately 30% to 35% were new clients, which is a positive sign.”
“As first-time exhibitors at GemGenève, we were quite pleased with the professional organisation and elegance in execution. Our goal was to further establish our presence in the European market, and we were satisfied with the outcome of the show in this regard,” said Dave Bindra, B&B Fine Gems, USA.
The art of curation is no easy feat, and it can take decades of training, practice, and patience. Looking at the carefully curated gathering of exhibitors in this modern agora called GemGenève, the team should be proud of creating something distinctive. As they deliberate on the future course for 2020, the debate has started around aspects like, the pros and cons of timing the show near the Christie’s jewellery auction, Baselworld’s new dates just before GemGenève, how to best capitalize on the popularity of the show among traditional and contemporary media. One thing is certain, the last two years clearly show, we must never underestimate the power of a united community, or that of the consumer who is hungry to learn.