TRADE FAIRS – GemGenève: A Cultural Experience

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Visitors to GemGenève’s forthcoming edition from 9 to 12 May at Palexpo Hall 1 will be able to come and see jewels and precious stones – and plenty else besides. To celebrate the eighth edition of the event, the organisers have devised a full-orbed cultural experience that’s much more than a tradeshow.

In addition to the Flames of Opal Essence exhibition, GemGenève will be featuring several spaces dedicated to culture under the direction of Mathieu Dekeukelaire: pop-up bookshops, talks and interviews with leading figures, panel discussions and arts and crafts workshops will all help the public take a deep dive into the fabulous world of jewellery for a few days. 

It’s our way of supporting Ukrainian artists and emerging talents during the current crisis. 

Thomas Faerber, Co-founder, GemGenève

TRADE FAIRS –  GemGenève: A Cultural Experience

STRONG & PRECIOUS

Art Foundation Ukrainian Jewellers

At the eighth edition of the event, GemGenève’s organisers will be continuing to express their support for Ukrainian artists and jewelsmiths, brought together under the banner of the Strong & Precious Art Foundation. Founded by Olga Oleksenko, the ambassador for this bold project and former manager of the Van Cleef & Arpels store in Kyiv, the Strong & Precious collective was set up in April 2022 with one key idea in mind: highlighting contemporary Ukrainian artists and introducing Ukraine’s great tradition of jewellery to the wider world. Even during times of war, artists continue to engage in their art; Strong & Precious seeks to provide a space in which Ukrainian jewellers are free to go on inspiring others through their works. Committed to the promotion and enhancement of jewellery arts, GemGenève will be supporting the Ukrainian collective for the fifth time in the event’s history. Some ten or so artists will be represented. 

Books are held in high esteem by connoisseurs, collectors and professionals alike. Some works contain the results of years’ worth of research – sometimes a lifetime’s worth. In some cases books are the only resource we have to shed light on the most enigmatic artefacts. 

Ida Faerber

BOOKS ON JEWELLERY IN THE SPOTLIGHT 

The eighth edition of GemGenève will also be celebrating jewellery-related literature by encouraging people to learn more about jewels and precious stones through books. Connoisseurs and discerning collectors alike will have the opportunity to acquire specialist works and especially rare books from either of two bookshops. 

LetuBooks 

Geneva art bookstore LetuBooks will have a pop-up shop at the show. An emblematic bookshop founded by Bernard Letu in 1973, LetuBooks has specialised mainly in fine and applied arts, and offers a wide range of books about jewellery covering everything from iconic brands to legendary jewelsmiths. Spanning over four thousand years’ worth of jewellery creations, the bookshop has one of the broadest catalogues available for all styles and periods. 

Gem and Jewel Book Collectors Geneva by Herbert Horovitz & Christophe Dubois 

Herbert Horovitz & Christophe Dubois will also be organising a temporary ‘Gem and Jewel Book Collectors Geneva’ outlet bringing together vital and historic books on gemmology, jewellery, mineralogy and other fields with a bearing on jewellery. Amid a discerning selection in which antique books and out-of-print works rub shoulders with historic illustrations and scientific documentation, discerning collectors, researchers and other experts can hope to find that book they need to complete their collection – and expand their knowledge. 

Over successive editions, GemGenève has established itself as a not-to-be-missed cultural event. At each edition we strive to highlight those whose books and other publications help increase our understanding of jewellery arts – and enable us to learn so much more. 

Mathieu Dekeukelaire, Director, GemGenève 

From Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 May, the public will be able to meet a number of authors who will be present to sign their most recent works. Six book signings are being organised during the event – the ideal opportunity to meet specialist authors, renowned experts, historians, and researchers. 

Geoffray Riondet, Antique French Jewelry 1800-1950, Flammarion, 2024 

One of the most eagerly awaited authors is antique jewellery specialist Geoffray Riondet, who will be signing copies of his book Antique French Jewelry 1800-1950, published by Flammarion in April 2024. With a preface by artist Victoire de Castellane, this work is an invaluable resource for any connoisseur keen to learn how to identify and date antique jewellery with precision. 

Anne Dion-Tenenbaum, Les Diamants de la Couronne et joyaux des souverains (Sovereigns’ Crown Jewels and Diamonds), Faton, 2023

Chief Curator of the Department of Decorative Arts of the Louvre Museum Anne Dion-Tenenbaum will be present to sign copies of her most recent book, Les Diamants de la Couronne et joyaux des souverains, published by Faton last year. The winner of the 2024 Drouot Art Book Prize, this extensively illustrated work is an impassioned account of the history of the diamonds and jewels on display in the Louvre’s Galerie d’Apollon. 

Helen Molesworth, Precious: The History and Mystery of Gems Across Time, Doubleday, 2024

Helen Molesworth will be in attendance for an avant-première presentation of Precious:
The History and Mystery of Gems Across Time
, due to be officially released on 22 May 2024. Retracing the story of precious stones, the author reveals all the geological, historical and stylistic secrets that make them so mysterious and magnificent. In Spring 2025 Helen Molesworth will be curating a major exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
 

Robin Hansen, The Natural History Museum Book of Gemstones: A concise reference guide, The Natural History Museum, 2022 

This work by Robin Hanson, curator specialising in Minerals and Gemstones at the UK’s Natural History Museum, offers an overview of the most widely-known precious stones. How are they formed? Where are they mined? What properties can be used to identify them? The book retraces the story of each gemstone and its use as an accessory, making it a vital work of reference for any gemmologist. 

Olivier Bachet, Au commencement était le trait: Cartier dessins Art Déco 1910-1930
(In the Beginning was the Line, Cartier Art Deco Drawings, 1910-1930), IAJA, 2024

Olivier Bachet, an expert in the jewels and precious artefacts produced by Cartier, will be present to sign copies of his third book, Au commencement était le trait. Written together with Alain Cartier, this work offers an enlightening review of the Art Deco drawings produced by the French firm between 1910 and 1930. Olivier Bachet investigates Cartier’s most prolific stylistic period, highlighting for the first time the draughtsmen who worked for the French Maison and revealing their sources of inspiration and techniques. 

Association Gemmologie & Francophonie, Gemmo Pursuit: a quiz game devoted to the world of precious stones

Devised by three gemmology teachers as a fun revision aid for their students, Gemmo Pursuit was released two years ago. The game has been so successful that its creators have now come up with a new version that will appeal to connoisseurs and those familiar with conventional gemmology. Questions are structured around six topics: chemistry; crystallography and mineralogy; history; the physics of gemmology; geography and geology; nomenclature. The game will be available on pre-order for the first time at the eighth edition of GemGenève, with an English version available a few weeks later. 

Promoting arts and crafts is essential. Discovering, sharing and passing on knowhow is
at the heart of our commitment – and the GemGenève spirit.
 

Nadège Totah 

DISCOVERING ARTS & CRAFTS

For the third time since its inception, GemGenève will be providing an outstanding showcase for arts and crafts, whose artisans are at once custodians of ancestral knowhow and real creative magicians, preserving unique expertise that often – and sadly – remains little-known. GemGenève has given the Métiers d’Art space particular prominence for the eighth edition of the event, where it will be coordinated by Anouk Lettang. This focus also embodies GemGenève’s commitment to share, inspire and disseminate art, creativity, and exceptional talents.

For the eighth edition, a new initiative has emerged under the join impetus of the artisans and the organisers. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, craftsmen and women will be pooling their skills to design a unique piece of jewellery. Each has their own specific area of expertise in jewelsmithing; they will be placing their skills at the disposal of the team to create a piece and thus offer visitors the opportunity to watch different crafts in action, from the design of the item and its chain through to diamond cutting, engraving, enamelling, and the final jewel-setting. 

The item of jewellery in question will draw inspiration from the GemGenève logo, with shades of blue and green evocative of the landscapes in Valle Verzasca in the Canton of Ticino, thus paying homage to Switzerland’s beautiful scenery and cultural heritage.

A GemGenève jewel crafted by five creative artisans: 

– Laurent Jolliet / chain-maker 

I like my chains to have soul; the way they interlink, their flexibility, and their design must all be unique. 

Laurent Jolliet 

As the last chain-maker in Switzerland, Laurent Jolliet is the sole representative of a craft that is now all too rare. Trained at Gay Frères in Geneva, one of the best-known chain workshops, Laurent Jolliet makes chains entirely by hand for leading jewellery and watchmaking brands. The art of chain-making was originally a speciality that emerged from and due to watchmaking, and as such is a typical Geneva craft. Laurent Jolliet transforms gold, platinum and silver into links that he then assembles with fluidity, elegance and grace; each of his pieces requires between one and two months’ work. He also creates and repairs necklaces, bracelets and all types of jewellery. To make sure his craft does not become extinct, Laurent Joliet is committed to passing on this heritage, giving classes to Geneva’s apprentice jewelsmiths. 

– H&H | Diamond dealers  

H&H is a ‘Made in France’ diamond dealer installed in the heart of Paris and listed as a ‘French Heritage Company’. Founded by Antoine Haddad and Eric Hamers, who also set up gemstone and diamond dealers Diamprest Paris, H&H is a space where technical expertise and ongoing innovation draw on a professional team and latest-generation equipment. With over thirty years’ experience in dealing, Antoine Haddad has built up highly specialised knowledge of the world of precious stones in general and diamonds in particular. Eric Hamers, winner of a Meilleur Ouvrier de France ‘Best Craftsman’ award, benefits from a centuries-old family tradition; for four decades now, he has constantly devised fresh innovations in the field of diamond cutting. 

– Matteo Stauffacher | Enameller  

The perils, risks, suffering, pain and emotion of creativity are all poured into the soul of everything I do with enamel; that’s the beauty of the process. If it was easy, my work would be soulless. 

Matteo Stauffacher 

Matteo Stauffacher is a designer and an architect by training who has made a name for himself in the very select circle of arts and crafts through his practice of enamelling. A leading specialist in grand feu enamel and cloisonné enamel, he regularly works with some of the foremost names in jewellery and watchmaking. Based in Lausanne, Matteo Stauffacher learned his craft from Switzerland’s greatest enamellers. 

Richard Lundin | Engraver  

I hope to share my passion – a message of love, borne through Time and dedicated to visitors.
Love letters are hand-written, just like the works I produce.
 

Richard Lundin 

Richard Lundin is a Swiss-based master craftsman who has made engraving his hallmark. Working on the art of the infinitely small, Lundin is responsible for detailing on jewellery and watches that elevates them to the status of works of art. Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet regularly enlist Richard’s talents; he also works closely with independent artists. Fully persuaded that arts and crafts play a fundamental role in the ongoing promotion of luxury products, Richard Lundin’s fine, delicate engravings are a constant source of wonder. 

Mehdi Belharet | Jewel-setter 

I’m keen to show just how fascinating my craft is. I see access to training for younger generations of jewel-setters as crucial. 

Richard Mehdi Belharet 

After securing his CFC proficiency certificate in jewellery setting, Mehdi Belharet worked for over a decade for subcontractors, putting his expertise to work for firms such as Piaget, Chopard and Rolex. For several years, he also worked for jewellers Harry Winston as a jewel-setter for highly exclusive items and watch prototypes. In 2023, he spread his wings and set up his own workshop, Atelier WWS. As a master craftsman, Mehdi Belharet’s artistic expression now involves creating his own pieces; he is also a past master in watch customisation. At the same time, he works in close collaboration with several of the big names on Place Vendôme. 

PRESENTATION AND DEMONSTRATION 

Other crafts will also feature alongside this project, including pearl threading, gold lace-making, inlaying, the art of cutlery, gemmology, lapidary, jewel-setting, and more. Workshops offering an introduction to gemmology; artisans will take it in turns to talk about their craft and share their passion. 

The aim of these initiatives, living testimonies to the expertise and creativity that GemGenève brings together, is to give visitors an intuitive means to discover jewellery trades – and perhaps even inspire new vocations among the younger generations. 

They’ll be there at GemGenève: 

Craftsmen and women taking part in the eighth edition: 

Rose Saneuil | Inlayer

Laurent Jolliet | Chain-maker

Ugo Mighali | Knife-maker

Sara Bran | Gold lace-maker

H&H | Diamond dealer

Sabine Gyger | Pearl threader

Matteo Stauffacher | Enameller

Richard Lundin | Engraver

Anne Quedillac | Gemmologist 

Atelier Thibault Leclerc | Lapidarist

Mehdi Belharet | Jewel-setter 

GemGenève has become a place for discussing and brainstorming. We’ve managed to bring together a community of experts, scientists and historians, each of whom has their own distinctive insights into the world of jewellery and the field of precious stones. Sharing our ideas and comparing our points of view is vital if we want those involved today to continue to achieve great things together going forward. 

Ronny Totah, co-founder of GemGenève 

 THE GRAND THEATRE OF GENEVA’S OFF-SITE EXHIBITION 

The Grand Theatre of Geneva has been one of GemGenève’s partners for several editions now, and is once again working with the event to promote and enhance arts and crafts. The Grand Theatre of Geneva will be presenting a selection of items from their workshops that resonate with GemGenève’s cultural programme and this edition’s theme of ‘travel and movement’. Masks, costumes and wings will all illustrate the ancestral knowhow present in the workshops of this hallowed Geneva institution. 

The Grand Theatre of Geneva also celebrated arts and crafts with GemGenève in 2023. Visitors were able to admire a superb emperor’s cape over ten metres long made for La Juive, an opera by Fromental Halévy, and three costumes by fashion designer Mariel Manuel for the opera The Return of Ulysses. 

With this new off-site exhibition organised by the Grand Theatre of Geneva at the exhibition and the partnership developed with the Geneva Museum of Art and History for the Flames of Opal Essence exhibition, GemGenève is now becoming firmly established in the Geneva cultural institution scene. 

TALKS, PANEL DISCUSSIONS AND WORK SESSIONS 

At the eighth edition of GemGenève, visitors will be able to attend and take part in a wide range of talks, conversations, panel debates and interviews with leading figures. 

From historical subjects to the very latest hot topics, the history of jewels and the science of gemstones will be discussed from a wide range of angles. From cabochons to the history of Crown Jewels via innovations in the world of jewellery and diamond prices, a number of leading specialists, curators and experts will be invited to discuss issues that connoisseurs and collectors love to engage with – and which sometimes divide opinions in the community. GemGenève is keen to hear from those who have devoted their careers to the promotion of jewellery arts, bringing together several influential figures in the sector including jewel historian, author and Senior Jewellery Curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London Helen Molesworth: Jewel historian and author Amanda Triossi: Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari’s Jewellery Creative Director; Anne Dion Tenenbaum, Chief Curator of the Department of Decorative Arts of the Louvre Museum; Robin Hansen, curator specialising in Minerals and Gemstones at the UK’s Natural History Museum in London among others. 

Visitors will be able to sit in on a conversation between two curators about the gemstones hidden in their respective collections, or discover the art of lapidary. 

These panel discussions and talks are great places to share experience, enabling many students and young professionals to gain a greater understanding of this professional world. 

Topics that will be discussed at the eighth edition of the event include: 

Diamonds: an industrial product like any other? 

Members of the French-speaking gemmology association Gemmologie & Francophonie work to promote and enhance gemmology in French-speaking territories and will be moderating several panel discussions and conversations devoted to the history of jewels, the science of gemstones and the market. A whole industry has grown up around diamonds, now an essential part of jewellery and watchmaking, and diamonds will be a prominent topic at the forthcoming edition of the event. One of the highlights of the exhibition will undoubtedly be the panel discussion on the theme of ‘Diamonds: an industrial product like any other?’. An expert panel will explain to the public how the diamond trade is organised, shedding light on the challenges and issues that emerge in this highly dynamic market. 

Diamonds and geopolitics: the challenges of supply 

At its eighth edition GemGenève will also be hosting an unprecedented working session set up by Gemmologie & Francophonie on the topic of ‘Diamonds and geopolitics: the challenges of supply’. This new format will allow some fifteen specialists and experts participating on an opt-in basis to come together to discuss and share their experiences. Discussion will be based around three fundamental questions: To what extent can the provenance of stones be guaranteed? Is it possible to assemble a constructive, responsible marketing chain? How can customer confidence be maintained? 

A report of this on-site working session will be published in the biannual review GEMMES, a free online magazine launched in 2023 by the Gemmologie & Francophonie association. 

The art and science of cutting precious stones 

This is the title of the panel discussion to be moderated by journalist, storyteller and author Richa Goyal Sikri. Bringing together specialists in coloured gemstones, renowned precious stone cutters and major industry players, Richa Goyal Sikri will be inviting visitors to rediscover the central role formerly played by gemstone-cutters in the world of jewellery. Seen as magicians capable of extracting the latent power of rock and transforming it into a functional or medicinal tool or a jewel worthy of the gods, these artisans and their ancestral knowhow were long considered to be an elite. Don’t miss this conversation about the art and science underpinning the cutting and polishing of precious stones! 

For more details of times and the programme, visit

https://gemgeneve.com/programme

Talks will be streamed live and remain available for replay at

https://digital.gemgeneve.com/

About GemGenève

GemGenève is a unique hub where jewellery designers, dealers in precious stones, retailers, collectors, connoisseurs and buyers both professional and private can all gather under the same roof. Over the course of four days, GemGenève offers an opportunity to acquire exceptional pieces and to be inspired by a community of specialists in the field of gemmology and jewellery.

It is a laboratory of creativity and innovation, bringing together recognised designers and emerging talents; a world of design, of rare gems, of antique and contemporary jewellery. Created by exhibitors, GemGenève offers a platform for expression that encompasses passion, expertise and education.

GemGenève 8, 9 – 12 May 2024

Thursday – Sunday

10 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.

Palexpo, Hall 1 | Geneva | Switzerland

Place | Dates | Opening times

  • Address: Palexpo Halle 1 Route François-Peyrot 30

1218 – Le Grand-Saconnex GE

Ten minutes’ walk from Geneva Airport

  • Dates: 9 – 12 May 2024
  • Opening times: 10 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
  • Price: CHF 50, valid for the duration of the show; free for people under 18 and any student on presentation of their student card.