TRADE FAIR WRAPUP – Steady to high footfall at GemGenève, but mood soured by war


By David Brough

GENEVA – Footfall was steady to high at the seventh edition of GemGenève (November 2-5, 2023), but the mood among exhibitors was dampened by the Israel-Hamas war.

European luxury retailers are a priority segment of visitors to the show, which offered a wide and eclectic variety of high-end goods, ranging from loose coloured gemstones and diamonds to both contemporary and period cutting-edge jewellery.

TRADE FAIR WRAPUP – Steady to high footfall at GemGenève, but mood soured by war

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at @gemgeneve

Exhibitors spoke of steady enquiries, but expressed concerns over the impact of the war, which had contributed to a few last-minute cancellations.

Loose diamond business was moderate due to limited demand by European luxury retailers.

Bright spots included exceptional signed antique high jewellery pieces which can potentially benefit from “safe haven” demand during periods of geopolitical turmoil, and cultured pearls which have seen sharp increases in prices this year driven by tight supplies and resilient demand.

Prices of rare natural pearls, which account for a small fraction of the total global output of pearls, have also been rising.

GemGenève presented an exhibition called “The Pearl Odyssey”, telling the story of natural peals production and featuring some exquisite examples of natural pearl jewellery.  

Extraordinary non-treated coloured gemstones, particularly those with exquisite colours that are responsibly sourced, are seeing buoyant enquiries, making sourcing of goods at higher prices a challenge for the trade.

TRADE FAIR WRAPUP – Steady to high footfall at GemGenève, but mood soured by war

Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030 (WJI 2030) Executive Director Iris Van Der Veken visits the @donna.jewel stand at GemGenève

GemGenève takes place in the run-up to the Magnificent Jewels auctions, which will feature an inaugural Phillips sale in Geneva on November 6, followed by the regular Christie’s and Sotheby’s sales later in the week. 

Highlights will include outstanding pink and blue diamonds offered as top lots at Phillips and Christie’s respectively, and a Paraiba tourmaline at Sotheby’s weighing in excess of 93 carats (read more in our “Auctions” category).

GemGenève will return in May 2024.

GemGenève: Geneva International Gem and Jewellery Show (