GemGen­eve: Dawn Of A New Era

The GemGen­eve gem and jew­ellery trade fair de­buted in Switzer­land amid great fan­fare. Held from May 10th-13th, it was a show with a dif­fer­ence, as it was open to both trade and pub­lic. The ex­hibitors were a di­verse group of glob­ally renowned jew­ellers, an

Solitaire - - CONTENTS -

The birth of some­thing new is al­ways ex­cit­ing, the ger­mi­nat­ing of an idea, the years, months, days of non-stop hard-work lead­ing up to the launch. Mo­ments be­fore the cur­tain rises, the play­ers rush to take their places, ad­just their cos­tumes, and the rest, as they say, is his­tory.

How­ever, be­hind each new be­gin­ning, there is a back­story, some­thing that trig­gers a re­ac­tion re­sult­ing in a domino ef­fect, set­ting an in­di­vid­ual or in this case, an en­tire com­mu­nity on a new path. Our two pro­tag­o­nists in this story are Ronny To­tah of Horovitz & To­tah and Thomas Faer­ber of The Faer­ber Col­lec­tion.

Horovitz & To­tah are a fam­ily busi­ness for the past three gen­er­a­tions. They spe­cialise in un­treated gem­stones and ex­clu­sive vin­tage jew­ellery and ob­jets d’art. Over the years, they have be­come

spe­cial­ists for Kash­mir sap­phires and nat­u­ral pearls, with an ac­tive net­work in Europe, Asia and the United States.

The Faer­ber fam­ily are fourth­gen­er­a­tion jew­ellers spe­cial­is­ing in ex­cep­tional gem­stones, di­a­monds and an­tique jew­ellery. Faer­ber’s rep­u­ta­tion is built on the pur­chase of his­tor­i­cal pieces and stones. The firm has of­fices in Geneva, An­twerp, New York, Paris and Hong Kong. Its in­ven­tory, se­lected with ex­per­tise and pro­fes­sion­al­ism and known as the Faer­ber Col­lec­tion, is renowned for its beauty, qual­ity and of­ten his­tor­i­cal prove­nance.

“I had been ex­hibit­ing in Basel­world for 44 years, Ronny for 27 years and for the past few years our dis­sat­is­fac­tion kept fes­ter­ing like an old wound that re­fused to heal. There was a ‘ folie de grandeur’ that had per­me­ated the show with big brands dom­i­nat­ing the stage. I re­mem­ber how in the early years, there was so much di­ver­sity among the ex­hibitors, which en­riched the ex­pe­ri­ence for every­one, but now Basel­world was pri­mar­ily a Watch and Jew­ellery show for the big names only. We tried to talk to the or­gan­is­ers to ex­press our dis­sat­is­fac­tion but to no avail. I don’t know about oth­ers, but I for one don’t want to go to a party where I am not wanted,” says Faer­ber.

Across the board, whether one speaks with ex­hibitors, cus­tomers, or press, GemGen­eve has been de­clared a grand suc­cess. What is the se­cret of such a pos­i­tive re­sult in its first year? “I think pri­mar­ily three fac­tors played a role in the show’s suc­cess. First, since Ronny and I are both ex­hibitors our­selves, and par­tic­i­pated in the show, we un­der­stood the needs of our peers and made ev­ery ef­fort to en­sure the ex­pe­ri­ence was user-friendly. Sec­ond, we wanted it to be a fam­ily af­fair, the booth sizes were 60 sq m, 30 sq m, and 15 sq m. This en­abled mid-size brands to par­tic­i­pate, which fur­ther re­in­forced the spirit of di­ver­sity in the show. Fi­nally, as cliché as this may sound, it was an at­mos­phere of hap­pi­ness and a sin­cere sense of com­mu­nity that per­vaded the ex­hi­bi­tion,” says Faer­ber.

When you throw a din­ner party at home, you want to make sure that each and ev­ery guest is hav­ing a good time. You think about how you place them at the table, and through­out the evening, you keep cir­cu­lat­ing to en­sure they are com­fort­able and hav­ing a good time. It seems the at­mos­phere in GemGen­eve was like a glam­orous party among friends. Out of the 147 ex­hibitors, which in­cluded gem mer­chants, an­tique jew­ellery and pearl mer­chants, dia­man­taires, 60% knew each other and had been work­ing along­side for gen­er­a­tions.

The show was at­tended by over 4,300 vis­i­tors, which in­cluded the crème-de-lacrème of col­lec­tors, deal­ers from around the globe, auc­tion ex­perts, his­to­ri­ans, gem­mol­o­gists, jew­ellers, am­a­teurs and con­nois­seurs alike. They came not only for the ex­quis­ite col­lec­tions on dis­play but to learn from jew­ellery his­to­ri­ans like Vivienne Becker, Vanessa Cron, Amanda Triossi, and Dr. Michael Krzem­nicki of the Swiss Foun­da­tion for the Re­search of Gem­stones (SSEF) through the talks that were sched­uled. The high­light of the show for most of the ex­hibitors and vis­i­tors was the De­signer’s Show­case that was po­si­tioned right in the mid­dle of the space, fea­tur­ing out­stand­ing cre­ations by Em­manuel Tarpin, Na­dia Mor­gen­thaler, Ninotchka Jew­els, Sean Gil­son and many more, whose cre­ative en­ergy in­fused new life among the in­dus­try vet­er­ans.

One of the ex­hibitors at GemGen­eve from In­dia was Tank Fine Gems, and Dhar­men­dra Tank had only good things to say, “It was a won­der­ful show, the qual­ity of ex­hibitors was su­perb and we felt proud to stand with such a stel­lar gath­er­ing. The show or­gan­is­ers, Ronny and Thomas, acted im­me­di­ately on ex­hibitor feed­back to im­prove the show – and their sin­cer­ity was heart-warm­ing. The small seat­ing area out­side the booths where one could en­gage with clients was a good fea­ture. I have al­ready signed up for next year, and will be plan­ning my next col­lec­tion keep­ing the show in mind.”

Qual­ity is one word that res­onated with every­one who spoke about the show. Both Ronny and Thomas used the same three words to de­scribe their se­lec­tion cri­te­ria for ex­hibitors – qual­ity, fam­ily owned, and medium-sized!

Look­ing to­wards the fu­ture, I asked them what they would do dif­fer­ently next year? “We have made a list of 80 points we need to work on for 2019. The first is the floor plan. While it was quite good, our aim is to en­sure that it’s even bet­ter next year and there is a bal­anced flow of traf­fic through­out the space. This year, there was one small sec­tion, which was a bit sleepy. When we re­alised this, we swung into ac­tion, mov­ing fur­ni­ture, bring­ing in plants. We want to make sure that we plan in ad­vance for 2019, ex­pand the size of the space to make the show even more

beau­ti­ful and ef­fec­tive for all our ex­hibitors equally,” says To­tah.

Given that both are vet­er­ans of the in­dus­try and long-time ex­hibitors them­selves, it only makes sense to ask them for some tips for first-time ex­hibitors. “First, make a big ef­fort to present your gem­stones and jew­ellery in the best pos­si­ble way. Sec­ond, play the game, in­vite all your cus­tomers to the show. Ronny and I in­vited every­one we knew and if all ex­hibitors do that, then we will all ben­e­fit to­gether as a com­mu­nity. Third, look at your own gar­den and not the colour of the grass on the other side. Fi­nally, be your­self, do what comes nat­u­rally to you. This may mean that it takes more time to make money but it’s the only way to build a sus­tain­able brand, a strong rep­u­ta­tion and a legacy,” say To­tah and Faer­ber.

Faer­ber But­ter­fly brooch. Ose­lieri Racine earrings with di­a­monds, emer­alds and nat­u­ral pearls set in white and black­ened gold.

Thomas Faer­ber and Ronny To­tah.

Towe Nor­lén’s Mag­ique sap­phire ring.

Horowitz and To­tah - Tiare Dias; Kash­mir sap­phires and pearls.

Cuff by Joanne Savary.

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