New Fair Opens Rare Gems And High Jewels To The Public
There will be an event held May 10 – 13 at the Palexpo convention center in Geneva where you have the chance to look at Style of Jolie jewels, including the new jewelry which Angelina and Zahara designed together. We will have to wait and see if Angelina might attend the event one of the days!
A new fair with a focus on rare gems, vintage jewels and works of contemporary jewelry designers is set to open for the trade and more importantly for the general public. So far the organizers seem to be doing all the right things.
Called, GemGenève, the fair will be held May 10 – 13 at the Palexpo convention center in Geneva. The timing of the fair coincides with the spring jewelry and watch auctions hosted by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips.
The fair was founded by two veteran dealers, Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah, both owners of multi-generational family firms bearing their names that specialize in rare gems and antique jewels. The focus of the show is to provide a platform for small- and medium-size firms that specialize in high-quality gems and jewels.
The organizers held a preview in New York on April 5 where they discussed their ideas behind the fair and presented a sample of the gems and jewels that will be on display. They included items from the Style of Jolie jewelry collection, a collaboration between Beverly Hills jeweler Robert Procop and Angelina Jolie; proprietary Ashoka cut diamond jewels by William Goldberg, New York; diamond jewels by Neha Dani and Maria Canale specially made for Antwerp diamond dealer, Diarough; signed jewels presented by Faerber Collection, New York; rare sapphires from Horovitz & Totah, Geneva; Colombian emeralds from EMCO; and Yafa Signed Jewels. JAR, Boucheron and Cartier were among the vintage jewels represented.
One reason the show was created is in response to what they felt is an unwelcoming environment for gem dealers and smaller family owned companies at Baselworld — the world’s largest watch and jewelry trade fair held annually in Basel, Switzerland.
“Ronny (Totah) was exhibiting 27 years at Basel and me 44 years,” Faerber said. “I made a good part of my career thanks to Basel and I’m very grateful to Basel. But the last five years they built the new hall and pushed us all the way back and we felt that we were not welcomed anymore.”
What Faerber is referring to is the $454.5-million renovation at the Basel fairgrounds in 2013, which dramatically increased the cost of exhibiting at the fair and rearranged some of the product categories. The gems dealers were moved behind the main halls where the top watch companies exhibit.
“So we decided to try and do something for our part of the trade,” he continued. “Basically gem dealers, antique jewelry dealers and also modern jewelry manufacturers, with the core being family owned, mid-size and small-size businesses. We wanted to give a platform where we unify a family of competitors who get along to give this huge part of the jewelry trade a platform to survive.”
So far the show has received a favorable response from these companies as 135 of them have signed up to exhibit, with a waiting list of 35. This is more than the number of gem exhibitors at Baselworld this year. It has also received the support of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, Faerber said.
“We can make it bigger next year,” Totah added.
Totah noted that they took great pains to make the process as democratic as possible, not favoring the larger firms, even their own companies. As an example, Totah pointed to the floor plan of the show on display and how much attention he put into it so it didn’t favor any large companies. In fact, he placed the smaller vintage jewelers in the prime area by the entrance. By a lounge area in the back (another prime spot), he placed gemological labs and other ancillary providers of services for the trade, rather than exhibitors. In the center of the floor (again a prime location) there’s a curated Contemporary Designers Showcase gallery.
Totah said that creating the floor plan was “a labor of love,” adding, “With this you understand the whole spirit of the show. It’s the expression of what we want to do.”
For the gallery of contemporary designers, the organizers recruited, Vivienne Becker — renowned authority, historian, author and lecturer on jewelry — to curate the group. She chose nine jewelers from the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia.
Becker, who was at the preview, said she had specific goals when determining which jewelers to include.
“They wanted young designers because they really wanted to help them and I wanted to use designers who were already sophisticated,” Becker said. “We wanted names that still seemed slightly under the radar but who can produce work that clients wanted and are able to deliver the work. And I wanted jewelers who really had a strong point of view and individuality.”
In addition, the show’s existence is the result of the reality of living in a connected world where information and the ability to purchase (even rare items) is available to anyone at anytime.
“There’s so much transparency I don’t see why you have these barriers (between the trade and consumers). Everyone can find everything online. I think the fair reflects the times,” Becker said.
“It’s the age of the internet,” added Faerber. “Our show is being held just before the auctions so the public can easily attend. Today there are no more of these dividing lines that go from rough dealer to cutter to wholesaler to jeweler. The auction houses have democratized the process.”
He continued, “We have more exhibitors than Baselworld had this year in our sector and we have a lot people pounding at our door. But we’ll be selective. We want to make it a high quality event.”