JEWELLERY DESIGNERS – GemGenève May 2024 edition reveals Emerging Talents

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GEMGENÈVE – 8th edition 

9-12 May, 2024 

A springboard for contemporary artistic creation 

GENEVA – Visitors to GemGenève’s forthcoming edition from 9 to 12 May, 2024, at Palexpo Hall 1 should be sure not to miss the amazing space known as the Designer Village. Bringing together new names in jewellery and rising stars in the profession, the Designer Village offers an uplifting overview of some of the most promising budding talents. Ever since its first show in 2018, GemGenève has been actively supporting contemporary artistic creation, introducing the general public to emerging artists and those poised to embark on highly successful careers. 

GemGenève is very much a springboard for independent jewellers, bringing some fantastic names to the attention of the public for the first time and further cementing the reputation of more established creative geniuses. From Alix Dumas (now one of the most fashionable designers) to Wallis Hong (whose reputation has expanded exponentially), the Geneva show has been drawing attention to artists who deserve greater exposure and recognition for over five years now. While their styles, techniques and vision of jewellery may sometimes differ radically, these artists have one thing in common: their work leaves nobody indifferent. 

GemGenève is proud to have had a particular focus on contemporary artistic creation right from its inception. Support for young designers and emerging talents is part and parcel of the show’s DNA. Mathieu Dekeukelaire, Director, GemGenève

GEMGENÈVE: REVEALING RISING STARS IN JEWELLERY

For the eighth edition of GemGenève, the organisers have chosen a select handful of contemporary artists from across the globe. This coming May, five Emerging Talents and five New Designers will have the privilege of putting their jewelsmithing art and Fine Jewellery pieces on display in the exhibition. Their inventive and entrancing works will be presented on exactly the same terms as those of established professionals, some of them going on show for the very first time outside their country of origin.

Designed and produced by Nadège Totah, the Emerging Talents & New Designers space offers an unprecedented degree of freedom to participating jewelsmiths. Unlike any other existing tradeshow, GemGenève grants its exhibitors full artistic freedom. Doing so has enabled Nadège Totah to come up with an utterly captivating space given over to the joy of discovering new things. Exhibiting artists can present their very latest creations with no need for them to be ‘approved’ by the GemGenève committee beforehand. Nadège Totah sees this unprecedented freedom as the only way of giving the artists whose works have won her over the legitimacy they seek.

MASTERPIECE

For the first time, GemGenève will be presenting a new category, Masterpiece, featuring a major creative work by an artist in the field of jewellery or related skills. The aim is to honour contemporary creativity in Arts & Crafts. Alicia Stanska will be the first artist to exhibit in this category with one of her fantastic creations, Equilibrium of Powers. The piece in question is an exceptional, life-size haute couture dress hand-embroidered with over 110,000 Swarovski crystals; it took over three years to make.

NADÈGE TOTAH’S KEEN EYE

The space’s creator, Nadège Totah, is a committed talent-spotter, travelling the world throughout the year in search of new jewellers and innovative designers.

As an ardent enthusiast, she is drawn especially to artists whose pieces embody fresh perspectives on jewelsmithing, offering them a chance to showcase their work and raise their profile. While her expert eye and experience as a seasoned professional naturally inform her choices, Nadège allows herself to be guided first and foremost by her own sensitivities and intuition.

Seeking out distinctive artistic approaches, unusual ways of working with materials and outlooks on jewelsmithing that go against the flow, Nadège Totah has a knack for identifying the most promising artists. She is convinced that to endure, artistic disciplines constantly need to reinvent themselves; as a result, she does not shrink from promoting artists working off the beaten track and thinking well outside the bounds of conventional jewellery. United by the deep conviction that jewels are a form of artistic expression in their own right, Nadège and Ronny Totah, Mathieu Dekeukelaire, and Ida and Thomas Faerber have made this international exhibition a powerful and essential springboard for an entire generation of craftsmen and women and creative artists.

Behind each jewel lies a story that is often inextricably interwoven with that of the artist themselves. Meeting and interacting with a designer is the first step on the path to understanding their artistic engagement. Nadège Totah

EMERGING TALENTS

WILLIAM LLEWELLYN GRIFFITHS, Australia

I like to think of my jewellery as not just adornment but as tiny portable artworks which allow the wearer to experience a sense of the timeless beauty of these periods, to carry a fragment of the past with them in their daily life. William Griffiths

William Llewellyn Griffiths is a jewelsmith who is unafraid to challenge traditional style codes. Born in the UK, the independent artist originally trained in London with a family jeweller in Hatton Garden. Aware that travel could sharpen his creative edge, he then took a series of jobs everywhere from Barcelona to Auckland before settling in Melbourne in 2004, where he established his own brand.

William Llewellyn Griffiths’ pieces are at once sculptural and mythical in nature. His universe is a mixture of baroque influences, gothic architecture, and deep, intensely-coloured gemstones. From majestic cathedral rings to chandelier-like drop earrings, each of his creations is a whole world in miniature.

Griffiths draws inspiration from his own personal story. Taking the Latin aphorism memento mori as his dominant artistic leitmotif, he uses jewellery art to explore the infinite number of ways of celebrating life.

No matter how extravagant his pieces, each bears witness to highly restrained and delicate work on the materials used. The jewelsmith mostly uses the historic moulding process of lost-wax casting to appropriate materials in similar fashion to a sculptor. In a blend of tradition and modernity, he also incorporates cutting-edge technology including digitalisation and 3-D printing into his work. Decorated with caravels, swallows and daggers, his jewellery is set with sparking citrines, magnificent topazes and carefully selected emeralds.

William Llewellyn Griffiths crafts all his jewels in his studio in Melbourne. His work will be on show for the very first time in Europe at the eighth edition of GemGenève.

JEWELLERY DESIGNERS – GemGenève May 2024 edition reveals Emerging Talents

 

 

Carosello ©William Llewellyn Griffiths
Gold, pearls and precious stones

SHAVARSH HAKOBIAN, Armenia

Taking part in GemGenève was a major milestone for me in my jewellery career. It was the first time I’d presented my collections outside Armenia. Attracting the attention and interest of industry specialists was highly motivating for me; it was a form of validation for my work and the relevance of my jewels in a broader artistic and professional community. Shavarsh Hakobian

Shavarsh Hakobian is a graduate of the Yerevan Academy of Fine Arts and one of the most eagerly-awaited Emerging Talents at this eighth edition of GemGenève. For his début at the previous edition of the tradeshow, the Armenian artist presented exclusive items in which materials and shapes enter into an extraordinarily poetic dialogue. His futuristic and voluptuous jewellery won over the public at the seventh edition of the event; this time, the young artist will be back with a whole new collection.

The artist’s first appearance at GemGenève allowed his work to gain international recognition and marked a decisive turning-point in his career. His return for this edition will be an opportunity to take a deeper dive into his creations.

The Armenian genius founded his eponymous brand in 2008. Experimenting with varied and sometimes unusual materials such as wood, leather and fabric, Shavarsh Hakobian is drawn to materials because of what they suggest: movement. As a symbol of life, the jewelsmith strives to transpose this élan vital into each of his pieces. His artistic practice is very much characterised by movement as expressed through the use of hard, immutable substances. Developing designs that seek to “immortalise a fleeting moment”, his rings, brooches and pendants come in a range of smooth, undulating and engulfing shapes that are astoundingly beautiful.

Hakobian’s conviction that nothing should stand still also emerges in his creative process. At the heart of his practice lies a huge sense of freedom, allowing the artist to iterate his project through to full completion. Approaching jewelsmithing as an exercise in devising something new, Shavarsh Hakobian has been creating highly contemporary jewellery for some twenty years now.

JEWELLERY DESIGNERS – GemGenève May 2024 edition reveals Emerging Talents

 

 

Butterfly Collection ring ©Shavarsh Hakobian

VILLA MILANO, Italy

I see myself as both an artist and a stylist. When I create a piece of jewellery, precious stones are my starting point and materials are my muse. Alice Villa

Villa Milano embodies the rebirth of Made in Italy. Founded in 1876, the family firm has a fascinating history. Established as influential jewellers since the late nineteenth century, Villa Milano acquired an international reputation as early as 1889, winning the Paris Universal Exhibition Gold Medal with a modular silver sculpture. In 2018, Alice and Francesca Villa took over the helm of the family business and relaunched the brand. Adopting a more conceptual approach to jewellery, the fifth generation of Villas took the bold step of introducing new, surprising collections into the brand universe. By turning Villa Milano into a highly contemporary brand, Alice and Francesca have given the venerable firm a new and unexpectedly contemporary lease of life.

Using unconventional materials and challenging conventional notions of sophistication, the two artists have developed jewels in which Damascus steel sublimes the purity of white sapphire and black gold delicately reveals all the softness of mint green tourmaline. In devising innovative combinations, Villa Milano has ushered in a new style lexicon, particularly through its quest for restrained yet imposing designs.

Alice and Francesca have revived the goldsmithing past of their Maison with jewellery whose materials are at once marvellous and intriguing, revisiting traditional jewellery items and offering a fresh take on familiar models by using titanium and techniques borrowed from the art of micro-mosaics. Examples of this creativity in action include hypnotic violet aluminium hoop earrings and daring new variations of legendary jewels such as signet rings and cufflinks.

In the best tradition of the previous four generations of the family, Alice and Francesca Villa also offer a bespoke jewelsmithing service for their customers, opening up their studio to allow the creation of exclusive designs and putting their skills at the disposal of connoisseurs in search of unique pieces.

JEWELLERY DESIGNERS – GemGenève May 2024 edition reveals Emerging Talents

 

 

 

 

©Villa Milano               

ASO LEON, China

EMERGING TALENT

I aim to pass on something of Zen philosophy in my jewels. Nowadays, we tend to do things very quickly, whereas I’m inviting people to take a moment, slow down, experience nature, and let their memories come to the surface. I seek to use my jewels to explain all the magic of nature. Aso Leon

First revealed in Europe by GemGenève in 2023, Aso Leon is the embodiment of the new wave of Chinese High Jewellery. Having never left his homeland until last year, the artist’s first exhibition was remarkable – and much remarked-upon. For the eighth edition of GemGenève, Aso Leon will be presenting never-before-seen pieces combining titanium and exceptional gemstones. Dubbed ‘the Prince of Titanium’, the Chinese artist has made this metal his signature material since 2005. Unlike highly malleable gold and silver, titanium calls for highly specialised techniques; Aso Leon has developed his own distinctive creative protocol to cut and reassemble it, with jewel-setting also playing a key role.

The jewelsmith himself cuts the gemstones he uses in his pieces, reinterpreting the technique of bezel setting; the fine, flat gemstones used are hand-assembled and arrayed in a metal surround beforehand. Imitating the technique of plique-à-jour enamelling, Aso Leon also devises jewellery items in which beauty is the embodiment of skill.

Drawing inspiration from wildlife and nature, his contemporary jewellery is a poetic reinterpretation of natural elements. Colours and highlights play an important part in his collections; the titanium used is coloured by means of electrolysis. The undulating shapes of his designs and the interplay of shadows they produce result in surprisingly imposing forms. Aso Leon’s highly ethereal creations are beautiful in a whole new way, plunging us into the spirit of nature itself. 

JEWELLERY DESIGNERS – GemGenève May 2024 edition reveals Emerging Talents

 ©Aso Leon

 JAQUELINE POWERS, USA

People fall in love with gems or jewellery items
like they might flowers or people. 
Jaqueline Powers

Based in Miami, Jaqueline Powers is a new brand ‘made in the USA’ and borne by two visionary artists, Corina Tahuil and Vince Gerardis. The two jewelsmiths view jewellery as an essential part of how we define ourselves; Jaqueline Powers sees jewels as part of the art of dressing, merging the worlds of jewellery and fashion. Jaqueline Powers is more than just a brand name, too: she is their muse. Born over one hundred years ago, this Parisian lady summed up her philosophy as follows: “The more aware we are of our individual moments, the more alive we are, the more full our lives can be”. Combing antique styles, classical influences and timeless lines, Jaqueline Powers captures the zeitgeist. In its subtle work based around shades of brown and grey, the brand asserts a style all its own. For its eighth edition, GemGenève is giving this artistic duo the opportunity to realise their very first exhibition.

JEWELLERY DESIGNERS – GemGenève May 2024 edition reveals Emerging Talents

©Jaqueline Powers

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