It may not be the biggest jewelry show of the year, but it is a gem on the calendar that draws industry professionals and the public alike to Switzerland’s second-largest city. It’s also probably the only one whose founders go all out on layout at the 11th hour, to make sure everyone gets a fair placement; demonstrates an approach that keeps exhibitors and visitors coming back year after year.
“This show is for exhibitors, by exhibitors,” says co-founder Ronny Totah, who launched GemGeneva in 2018 with fellow jewelry and gemstone insider, Thomas Faerber. Since then, they have organized four events and welcomed a total of nearly 13,000 visitors. “Above all, we want everyone – creators, gemstone dealers, dealers, collectors and the interested public – to be able to meet and share their passion.” Usually held in May, this additional event was created in response to “market demand from exhibitors who wanted a show as the end of the year approaches” as the fine jewelry and gemstone market remains raised.
Visitors wandering the aisles will be dazzled by a rainbow of stones from merchants around the world. Enthusiasts can learn more about gemstones through a partnership with Gem Museum Singapore and enjoy the latest offerings from some of the brightest designers working in jewelry today, including emerging and established names like Toji Jewelry (Thailand), Sean Gilson (USA) and Leyser (Germany). From megawatt gems to vintage treasures, here’s what not to miss this weekend.
Mark Nuell’s bespoke cut peridots for Fuli Gemstones
Super tailor and goldsmith Mark Nuell has been unleashed on the wondrous peridots of Fuli Gemstones, and the result is two glorious gemstones of superior brilliance. Mark, who comes from an Australian family of sapphire miners, cut 160 facets into each stone – three times more than usual – to intensify the deep green of Fuli’s iron-rich gems. Opened in 2023, Fuli Gemstones aims for the Yiqisong Nanshan peridot mine in China to be zero waste and plans to channel by-products from the mining process into industry. The host rock, basalt, can be used in construction and olivine sand in metallurgy, once removed from the mine.
Vintage Ukrainian jewelry Joseph Marchak at Strong & Precious
Considered the “Cartier of kyiv”, several vintage pieces by Joseph Marchak are on display at the Designers Village Strong & Precious stand, including this gold bracelet from the late 1930s. Born in Ukraine, Marchak moved to Paris after the 1917 revolution, where its jewelry house flourished until 1974. Strong & Precious was established in April to support Ukrainian jewelry designers through a number of initiatives, some of which serve to help rehabilitate people affected by the war. For GemGenève, the team curated a showcase of historical and contemporary jewelry, including jewelry from Gunia Project, Rockah and Bevza, a brand that also participated in Tripolar in Paris.
Treasures of the Fabergé Tsars
On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Igor Carl Fabergé Foundation has brought together more than 160 jewels, ornaments and other objects in a special exhibition for GemGenève. Three Fabergé eggs are also on display to the public, two of them for the first time, in a very special opportunity to get closer to the exquisite work on which Carl Fabergé has built his name. From bookmarks to doorbells, color charts to pillboxes, the installation takes visitors to Imperial Russia and shows that despite their importance, the legendary Fabergé name is much more than the iconic Easter eggs themselves.
The Vivarium Quartet stages jewels full of emotion
MAD Jewelry Paris, Elena Okutova (Moscow), Philippe Lauras (Paris) and Alexandra Jefford (London) are the four designers chosen by jewelry historian Vivienne Becker for this edition’s Vivarium Quartet. Becker believes that “we are at a major turning point in contemporary jewelry design. This selection is very emotionally driven, we are seeing a subtle but significant move towards more stylization and capturing the emotion generated when we look at something rather than representation.” Alix Dumas is a “typical example” who manages to capture what the waves make us feel, in her bold shapes and intricate openwork, while Elena Okutova embodies our responses to a rich mosaic of inspiration rooted in folklore in bold jewelry that evokes a magical world. Philippe Lauras’ flowing ribbons are “alive with movement”, but it is perhaps modernist Alexandra Jefford who embodies the theme best, with the Susan’s Five collection, a personal tribute to her late mother, who would no doubt be immensely proud of her daughter’s elegant exploration. form in his name.
Stunning neoclassical micromosaics
Micromosaics are in the spotlight in a special exhibition that places the dialogue between culture and jewelry at the forefront. The exhibition combines fragments of ancient mosaic art from sites such as the Roman city of Aventicum in modern-day Switzerland with neoclassical micromosaic jewelry from the 18th and 19th centuries that saw what was at the origin wall and floor art concentrated in an incredible 800-1000 tiles per square centimeter. Contemporary pieces, including this cage bracelet in carbon wood, rose gold and diamonds, with micro mosaic details from Vamgard, show the development of this art form.
Wallis Hong’s incredible micro-sculpted titanium
Wallis Hong’s art is quite spectacularly detailed. Her openwork, micro-set butterflies almost quiver with movement, while her spiky shell earrings, above, have a contemporary space-age feel. But its watch faces are particularly stunning, in brightly colored titanium, hand-sculpted under a microscope to create incredibly intricate tiny underwater worlds, where corals sway, dolphins dive and miniature seahorses mark time. Surely a pending collaboration.