GemGenève November 2023

Opening ceremony of GemGenève. From left to right: Claude Membrez, Chief Executive Officer Palexpo SA, Thomas Faerber, Co-Founder GemGenève, Delphine Bachmann, Member of Geneva State Council, and Ronny Totah, Co-Founder GemGenève. Photo credit: András Barta.

The seventh edition of GemGenève, the international fair dedicated to the valorization of precious gems, ancient and modern jewelry, was held from November 2 to 5, 2023. The show, co-founded by Ronny Totah and Thomas Faerber to support and elevate culture in this industry, recorded the participation of 144 professional dealers out of a total of 172 exhibitors and 3,218 visitors from 92 countries worldwide, including Switzerland, France, Italy, Belgium, the UK, and the USA. “We are committed to continuing our mission with the same desire of bringing together the best professionals in the field of jewelry and gems”, these were the words of Thomas Faerber before the beginning of the show, which proved to be highly successful despite a slight decrease in the number of participants due to the current geopolitical situation.

“We are both happy and proud to give each edition a unique and customized approach – declared Ronny Totah – which strongly impacts our visitors and exhibitors. The team’s ability to do it is one of our strongest assets.” Like every year, there are numerous cultural projects of excellence, a focus on innovation, new talents, and education.

GemGenève November 2023. Photo credit: András Barta

The contribution of Nadège Totah, member of the Board of Directors, has added great value, by focusing on highlighting the creativity of five “Emerging Talents” and four “New Designers” inside the “Village of Designers”, showcasing their innovative and unique designs. “With GemGenève and the ‘Village of Designers’ – declared Nadège Totah – we want to offer new talents the opportunity to be in the beating heart of this sector, alongside the best-known names, to enjoy international visibility.”

Among the participants within the “Emerging Talents” category, we encounter Capucine H from France who, through her art, wants to spread a profound message relating to the urgency of saving our planet; Celeste Wu, of Chinese origins,  with creations characterized by bright and lively designs, with a focus on her transformable high jewelry piece entitled “Moon Fairy & Rose”; Shavarsh Hakobian, innovative Armenian designer who loves to experiment with unconventional materials; the Italian brand Villa Milano with its goldsmith tradition handed down for five generations, today represented by Alice Villa, who showed a collection that celebrates the architecture and symbolism of Milan; and last but not least, YOURA Jewelry, a brand based in Saudi Arabia, founded by Rabaa Saleh Alangari (“YOURA” literally means “to be seen”), which takes inspiration by beauty in all its variety of forms, and its connections to the soul.

“Emerging Talents” at GemGenève November 2023. From left to right: Capucine H, Shavarsh Hakobian, Villa Milano, Celeste Wu, YOURA Jewelry. Photo credit for each image: András Barta

The “New Designers” category was located within the same area, and included Diva Jewels, a brand founded by Rishi Mukesh Mehta, originally from Mumbai, which aims to “break the traditional boundaries of jewelry creation”, and presented a collection of kinetic jewelry, “Dance of Brilliance”; Elke Berr Créations, from Switzerland, which introduced bold designs in the collection “Rock’n Roses”; José María Gomi, founder of JMG Designer, originally from Thailand, with his made-in-Bangkok complex artisanal creations; and last but not least Serendipity Jewelry, a brand founded in Paris by Christine Chan that celebrates respect for people and the natural world, and the multifaceted personality of the contemporary woman.

“New Designers” at GemGenève November 2023. From left to right: Serendipity Jewels, JMG Designers, Elke Berr Créations, Diva Jewels. Photo credit for each image: András Barta

Supporting schools remains one of GemGenève’s strong points, and underlines the show’s commitment to involving younger generations in the goldsmith sector and supporting their talent. Among the schools that participated in the fair during this edition, CFP Arts Genève (Centre de Formation Professionnelle Arts Genève) and ETVJ (Ecole Technique de la Vallee de Joux). The latter also collaborated as a partner of ASMEBI (Association Romande des Métiers de la Bijouterie) in the creation of the Metiers d’Art exhibition space, a fascinating exhibition dedicated to highlighting art through several workshops held by enamellers, inlayers, laceworkers, glassmiths, specialists in 3-D modeling, and more.

CFP Arts Genève (Centre de Formation Professionnelle Arts Genève) and ETVJ (Ecole Technique de la Vallee de Joux). Photo credit: András Barta

Donna Jewel and GemGenève share the goal of supporting young talent and goldsmith craftsmanship; therefore, they presented the second edition of the “Donna Jewel x GemGenève” project, curated by Laura Inghirami, Donna Jewel, and GemGenève. Students from the “High Technician for the Production of High-Quality Made in Italy goldsmith products – ITS class II” course from the Galdus School of Milano (academic year 2023/24), celebrated the excellence of “Made in Italy” by representing the future of Italian art through their kinetic jewelry creations, which were inspired by Laura Inghirami’s creative brief, “Be the change.” During the show, hundreds of voters from over 34 different nationalities, including Italy, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, the UK, and Canada, voted for their favorite jewel, the one they believed to be most interesting and original among those presented by the students. The winner of the “Donna Jewel x GemGenève Award” was the young student Francesca Quartieri, with her creation “Astrea”, inspired by lotus flowers as an element of rebirth and purity.

“Donna Jewel x GemGenève”, awarding ceremony at GemGenève November 2023. Photo credit: András Barta

To support art and creativity even in times of difficulty, GemGenève hosted for the fourth time the Strong & Precious Art Foundation, founded by Olga Oleksenko and Natasha Kietene, which presented six designers of Ukrainian origin: NOMIS, synonym with “contemporary luxury”; Drutis Jewellery, a “fusion of craftsmanship and individual empowerment”; Yuval’ Studios, with its “Motherland” collection, inspired by a reinterpretation of traditional ceramics; Inesa Kovalova, and her “Suspension” earrings,  an expression of light and movement; Zhernov Artifactory, with its unique and bold design; GeO, which presents millenary natural stones as the protagonists of its creations; and Yastreb Jewelry, with minimal designs with a strong personality. The project, created as a cultural response to the ongoing war in Ukraine, moved its first steps in 2022, soon becoming a real art foundation. “The intimate, almost familiar atmosphere of GemGenève makes it an ideal place to celebrate talent, create a community, and rediscover wonder”, said Inesa Kovalova.

“Strong & Precious” Art Foundation. From left to right: Inesa Kovalova (1) Iryna Karpova (2,3), Zhernov Artifactory (4,5), Yuval’ Studios (6). Photo credit for each image: András Barta

GemGenève also presented the “Pearl Odyssey” exhibition, which brought together over forty jewels and exceptional pieces. These gems have always been a synonym for elegance, richness, and prestige in the goldsmith world and an endless source of inspiration for generations of jewelers. Once again back in fashion, pearls are reinterpreted in a contemporary and captivating way. The engaging exhibition included an area dedicated to the ancient tradition of pearl diving in the Persian Gulf as well as other places, a space exhibiting the art of master jewelers who worked pearls over the centuries, from jewels of imperial origin to exceptional pearls and exclusive and historical pieces from the most prestigious private collections, and a presentation regarding the historical study of pearls, beginning from the last century, organized with the support of the Swiss Institute of Gemology (SSEF). Ronny Totah, a natural pearl enthusiast and expert, said: “Natural pearls are a source of fascination. For thousands of years now, their unique beauty and rarity have captivated people. Pearls are decades in the making, with the result that they’re priceless natural treasures. We’ve decided to pay tribute to them with this ‘discovery exhibition’, revealing their hidden beauty to our visitors”. The exhibition was created with the support of Chaumet, Alfardan Collection, Flee Project collective, SSEF and a private collector, with the collaboration of partner exhibitors (Faerber-Collection, Gem Collectors Bookshop, Heritage Gems, Horovitz & Totah SA, Joseph Gad, Nicolas Torroni, Ocean Flame and Swiss Pearls) and other dealers such as Hofer Antischmuck, Oasis Pearl and Ecija.

Images from the exhibition “The Pearl Odyssey”. Bottom, from left to right: “Bayadère” necklace, Joseph Chaumet period, 1922-1924, gold, platinum, seed pearls, sapphires and diamonds; rare collectible Victorian Seed Pearl Parure, British, around 1850; Empress Marie-Louise’s Gothic belt, Marie-Etienne Nitot period, around 1812, gold, sardonyx, and natural pearls. Photo credit for each image: András Barta

GemGenève’s cultural schedule was enriched by the numerous conferences during the days of the show, with debates, education, and discussions on avant-garde trends. Laura Inghirami was invited to share her point of view during the panel “The Future of Jewelry Marketing on Social Media”, organized and moderated by the journalist and editor, as well as Founder and Creative Director of Jewellery Outlook David Brough, with the participation of Renu Choudhary, Founder and Creative Director of The Diamond Talk, Bebe Bakhshi, Founder and Creative Director of Champagne Gem, and Katerina Perez, Founder and Creative Director of Katerina Perez. During the panel, the participants discussed how the new digital communication tools will impact the future of jewelry, both in terms of communication and reach of the desired target. Many digital channels developed in recent years are shaping the storytelling strategies linked to brands and jewelry marketing, evolving, and adapting to a generational change that requires significant cultural stimuli, values, and information conveyed in an immediate and direct way.

“The Future of Jewellery Marketing on Social Media” panel, organized and moderated by the journalist and editor, as well as Founder and Creative Director of Jewellery Outlook David Brough. From left to right: Renu Choudhary, Founder and Creative Director of The Diamond Talk, Bebe Bakhshi, Founder and Creative Director of Champagne Gem, Laura Inghirami, Katerina Perez, Founder and Creative Director of Katerina Perez, and David Brough. Photo credit: András Barta

Moreover, Laura Inghirami organized and moderated a panel in collaboration with GemGenève, entitled “The Young and the Goldsmith’s art”. Six young talents participated in the panel, including students and alumni of CFP Arts Genève (Centre de Formation Professionnelle Arts Genève), ETVJ (Ecole Technique de la Vallee de Joux), and Galdus Milano. The participants of the panel were Lucas Hage (former student of CFP Arts Genève), Tess Sikias (student of CFP Arts Genève), Lucie De Boer (former student of ETVJ), Blue Arnold (student of ETVJ), Sofia Mantegazza (former student of Galdus Milano) and Maria Vittoria Villa (student of Galdus Milano). During the panel, the participants had the opportunity to talk about their academic and professional experiences, the skills necessary in their profession and creativity, and their future goals. Together with Laura Inghirami, the young talented artisans shared their impressions and expectations regarding the future of the jewelry industry and the professional opportunities linked to it. The discussion attracted numerous young visitors, goldsmiths, and students, interested in this inspirational debate aimed in particular at the new generations who intend to pursue a career in the jewelry field.

“The Young and the goldsmith’s art” panel, organized and moderated by Laura Inghirami in collaboration with GemGenève.

“Having an educational program at GemGenève has always been part of the event’s DNA. The founders – fathers and daughters alike – are people who love their trade and who’ve always enjoyed sharing their passion, knowledge, and experience; above all, GemGenève is an affair of the heart.” These words by Mathieu Dekeukelaire, Director of GemGenève, capture the spirit of GemGenève: an international event where art, beauty, and the desire to build an increasingly luminous sector come together and give life to fascinating projects that support talent. We are curious to find out what the next edition of GemGenève has in store for us.