After being canceled in 2020, Geneva’s precious stone and fine jewelry fair is back due to high demand from its international exhibitors.
"Coup de Cœur“ is a one-off piece from Mr. Maret’s Cap de Cœur collection that was custom created for GemGeneve 2021. It features a humangne, a red grape variety from the Valais region, in a white gold and diamond setting.
Ronny Totah and Thomas Faerber had no trouble setting up an international fair in six weeks. First, the two precious stone dealers, who founded GemGeneve in 2018, put out feelers on the Internet. On August 30 they invited 80 potential exhibitors to an online meeting. "Would you like the show to take place this year and do you think international visitors will be there?" Mr. Totah asked them. The majority (71%) answered "yes". The event, called "The Challenging Edition", was on. But was this reasonable with the shadow of Covid-19 still looming over the world? At first, Mr. Totah and Mr. Faerber leaned towards a mini-fair with 20 exhibitors in one of Geneva’s most luxurious hotels. Then, on second thought, they decided to throw caution to the wind. The great leap forward would take place in late September. Everything would be business as usual: the same extensive formula, a hall filled with over 100 exhibitors from around the world and a program full of new ideas and new talent. Moreover, Japan would join in for the first time. The announcement of its participation seemed like a good omen in the post-lockdown context. The outlook is bright.
A Preview of Surprises
The third GemGeneve, which will take place in its usual four-day format, will feature many discoveries, including an unprecedented showcase of the Faerber brand, known for its antique jewelry. "We’re going to preview our contemporary jewelry line, consisting mostly of rings,” says Mr. Faerber. “Our Armenian-born partner Atamian Varouj designed it for us. Set with diamonds, especially colored ones, the collection is enhanced by the modern shapes in which the stones are cut."
Switzerland’s innovative Grégoire Maret will be back with a unique idea: jewelry with ingots shaped like vine stocks. To make them, Mr. Maret, who founded the Pierre d'Alexis brand, worked for years with two Swiss universities. Now patented, it is already drawing interest from far and wide. The collection’s exclusive pieces will be unveiled at GemGeneve. In 2018, Mr. Maret made quite a splash at the first GemGeneve with his creations set with a unique, 100% local pink stone, cobalt calcite, which he discovered in an old coal mine in his canton, Valais.
The new designers at the fair hail from a wide range of backgrounds. Switzerland’s Aline Debusigne will present her sculptural natural white-gold jewelry, without rhodium plating, which revisits vintage pieces, while Italy's Regina Gambatesa will try to capture the public’s attention with the sinuous curves of her creations, which she thinks of as talismans. Studio Renn, founded by a couple from Mumbai—Rahul Jhaveri, a contemporary art and design collector, and his wife Roshni—will also be there. They will present a creation enigmatically called "the disconcerting nature of incompleteness". Thomas Hauser, the goldsmith and jeweler who created the Allure Studio in New York, will also attend. Inspired by Goethe and Cellini, he will introduce pieces made with niellium, a black precious metal that he bends to his will with a trailblazing technique. Lastly, London-based jeweler, Gearry Suen will surprise visitors with one of his flagship themes, "Chimera", transposed to creations he illuminates by merging features of Chinese art with cutting-edge technology under the label G SUEN.
Promoting Young Talent
Inspiring vocations is one of the aims of the fair’s founders, who are developing their collaboration with educational institutions this year. For example, the Haute École d'Art et de Design will be joined by three state training and apprenticeship institutions, as well as CREA and ISG, private schools in Geneva that offer training in luxury marketing. "On Sunday, closing day, we’ll hold a forum on the professions in our sector, because knowing it means wanting to explore it," says Mr. Totah.
Young people who have already embarked on these creative fields can benefit from the support of Faerber Lab. Officially launched in 2021, this jewelry design studio is, as its name suggests, a laboratory. Supported by the famous brand’s know-how, start-ups will be able to test their ideas and turn them into reality. Ida, Mr. Ferber’s daughter, has been a "talent scout" for years. "I’m always on the lookout for talent during my visits to trade schools, fairs, galleries and art events,” she says. “Brands like ours have a responsibility to find, help and promote them because, in this age of fierce competition, it’s very hard for young people to succeed alone, no matter how talented they are."