INTERVIEW – GemGenève founders highlight new features of May 2022 edition

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GemGenève founders Ronny Totah and Thomas Faerber highlight some of the exciting new features of the upcoming May 5-8, 2022, edition of the jewellery and gemstones show, and discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on the market, and future plans for the event driven by its exhibitors.

The last edition of GemGenève took place in November, and you are now preparing for a fourth show in May. Is GemGenève now a biannual event?

GemGenève

(Archive picture: GemGenève)

Thomas Faerber: “I would say that in these times of economic and political uncertainty, it would be best to focus on the May 2022 edition for the time being. Later on, we will consult with our exhibitors and make a decision on what to do next.

After all, we are not like those trade fair organisers who plan an event and then try to fill all of the spaces. We do the exact opposite, which sets us apart from the competition and is one of GemGenève’s strengths.”

Ronny Totah: “In a way, GemGenève is like a ‘wedding planner’ for the exhibitors. If they want us to schedule two editions a year, we will do that. We have already received requests for a trade fair in November this year. Requests have also been made for other kinds of trade fairs. Our priority is always to attend to the needs of the exhibitors.

There are indeed some parallels between our trade fairs and a wedding planner – you don’t plan the big day and then choose the happy couple. Similarly, the exhibitors come to us first and we make arrangements with them.”

So does that mean that the next edition will take place in May 2023?

Ronny Totah: “That’s how it’s looking right now, in principle, yes. But as Thomas has just pointed out, the date for the next edition will be chosen following consultation with our exhibitors, once the May 2022 edition is over.”

GemGenève

(Archive picture: GemGenève)

Rumour has it that you have very specific criteria for selecting exhibitors for GemGenève. What can you tell us about it?

 Ronny Totah: “That’s all it is – a rumour. We don’t have any specific criteria. The criteria depend on what the exhibitors bring and present. We do our best to maintain a balance both in terms of the quality and the diversity of the exhibits.”

Thomas Faerber: “I would say that the main criterion is to offer a diverse range of exhibitors including dealers in diamonds, coloured gemstones, modern and contemporary jewellery as well as vintage pieces. We also welcome young designers and up-and-coming talents. I would also like to point out that in principle, we select exhibitors who are not necessarily the best-known, but whose work is of the best quality.”

Given the current economic and political situation, how is the gemstone and jewellery market doing, and what could be the consequences of the war in Ukraine for the jewellery sector?

Thomas Faerber: “The Russian attack on Ukraine shocks me to the core. Just like Switzerland, Ukraine is a member of the United Nations. Right now, it’s too early to say what the mid-term and long-term consequences of this crisis will be. However, since the Russian invasion began, I have noticed more caution and a slight downturn in activity in my company.”

Ronny Totah: “It’s impossible to know what the consequences of the current situation will be on the gemstone and jewellery market, but it’s easy to imagine that two trends will emerge. Some people will find no joy in buying jewellery or gemstones in these turbulent times. Meanwhile, others may choose to invest in more easily transportable stones or jewellery where necessary. That would trigger an upward turn in the market.”

GemGenève

(Archive picture: GemGenève)

Can we expect to see any great novelties or innovations at GemGenève 2022?

Thomas Faerber: “For me, the novelty is that the 2022 edition is actually going ahead! I see it as a novelty, even though the formula and the essence of the trade fair will remain the same. I strongly recommend attending the GemGenève conferences. Each of them is a gold mine of learning, information and exchanges relating to jewellery and our industry in general.”

Ronny Totah: “As usual, we never bring any of our exhibitors to the fore, because each and every one of them is important for the quality and balance of the show. We are delighted to see such enthusiasm for the 2022 edition, for which the exhibitor spaces were snapped up very quickly. I’d also like to say that visitors should keep an eye out for some new innovations in the cultural section of the fair, which showcases a unique concept that we call The Villa. This concept brings together several different moods and environments that can be experienced in “La Maison”. I’ll say no more, because I can’t wait for visitors to discover it all for themselves in May. New faces at the trade fair include a young gouache artist called Estelle Lagarde. We believe that she has a glittering future ahead of her. A true novelty came in the form of a last-minute surprise: the Igor Carl Fabergé Foundation, founded by the grandson of Carl Fabergé, has lent its support to a section of GemGenève devoted to enamel. Two pieces by the grand master, Carl Fabergé, himself will also be on display. This début appearance at GemGenève by the Igor Fabergé Foundation will hopefully pave the way for its involvement in future editions, and we are delighted about that!”

Thomas Faerber (right, facing)

Thomas Faerber (right, facing)

Ronny Totah

Ronny Totah

www.gemgeneve.com