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Of all the captivating diamonds fashioned by the legendary New York diamantaire, William Goldberg, the Ashoka is the stone that became his enduring legacy. With a deep affinity to diamonds and his love of diamond legends, Bill Goldberg was particularly inspired by the tale of the ancient Ashoka diamond: a 41.37 carat Golconda stone, a treasured talisman, named for Ashoka Maurya, the 3rd century Buddhist warrior-emperor. The Ashoka was passed down through the centuries, like so many historic Indian diamonds, and in 1947 fell into the hands of Harry Winston. Later it was bought by the fiery, jewel-adoring Mexican actress, Maria Felix. She sold it to the art dealer Roberto Polo, who presented it as a gift to his wife, Rosa.

Fast forward, and in 1988, the Ashoka was the highlight of Sotheby’s glamorous jewellery auction, in St Moritz. William Goldberg’s son, Saul and his wife Dale were there, hoping to bring home the treasured stone, but it sold to an anonymous buyer for a record price of $3,850,000. And disappeared from sight.

William Goldberg couldn’t forget the beauty and allure of this stone, and he created an entirely new cut, the Ashoka, in homage to the historic Indian diamond of the same name.  Staying true to his own maxim, “You shouldn’t cheat a diamond of its right to be beautiful.” Today, the modern Ashoka, a contemporary classic, is weaving its own legend.

 

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One of the highlights on show during the Hong Kong press event, on February 28th was the mesmerizing Pink Paradise pendant and necklace, loaned for the evening by Dehres, a new exhibitor at this year’s GemGenève.  The centerpiece drop-shaped pendant set with an exceptionally rare 15 carat fancy pink pear-shaped diamond, framed in white diamonds was suspended from a necklace composed of 40 pear-shaped diamonds, all D-F colour, totaling over 50 carats.  Dehres’ CEO, Ephraim Zion, explained that the design of the necklace was carefully and strategically planned to draw the eye, through light and line, directly to the beauty of the extraordinary pink diamond at the heart of the pendant. The Pink Paradise was paired with a ring set with 7 carat pear-shaped fancy intense pink diamond, in a pavé diamond setting.

Ephraim Zion, internationally acclaimed as a leading diamond expert, heads the third generation of the Hong Kong based company, Dehres, specialising in superlative diamonds and rare coloured stones, and backed by a long and rich family legacy of trading and cutting the finest gemstones.

 

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It has been a busy year for Kazumi Arikawa, Chairman of the Albion Art Company, Tokyo, one of the most important collectors of historic jewellery in the world and an enthusiastic visitor to last year’s inaugural GemGenève. Since his visit, the Albion Art Company has sponsored the blockbuster Jewellery exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, while L’Ecole, the Paris-based, Van Cleef & Arpels-supported school of Jewelry Arts organised an exhibition, in Tokyo, in late February and early March, of Art Nouveau jewels from Mr Arikawa’s collection. The Art Nouveau Jewellery exhibition, showcasing masterpieces by Lalique, Fouquet, Vever and Boucheron, curated by jewellery historian and GemGenève team-member, Vivienne Becker, was one of a series called Through The Eyes of a Connoisseur, opening up private collections around the world. Meanwhile, the huge success of the jewellery show at the Metropolitan Museum, Jewelry – The Body Transformed, which closed last month, is good news for us all, opening up the whole subject of Jewellery to new audiences, bringing more depth, showing the full richness and complexity of the art of the jewel. Just as we do at GemGenève.

 

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The GemGenève team got their show on the road once again, and organised a lively, interactive press conference and cocktail party in the Grand Hyatt hotel, Hong Kong during the Hong Kong Jewellery show in late February. In a room themed with this year’s campaign, “Find and Feel”, referring to the sense of discovery at GemGenève and the importance of learning, feeling and discovering gemstones and jewels, the founders, Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah, held a press conference, explaining their mission in establishing GemGenève and their expectations for this year’s show, which has grown in size to some 200 exhibitors. Vivienne Becker talked briefly about this year’s Designer Vivarium, the showcase of work by contemporary designers, one of whom, new this year, Hong Kong born and based Nicholas Lieou, was on hand to talk about his design philosophy. On show during the evening was a selection of superb antique, vintage and contemporary Jewellery, as well as rare coloured stones and diamonds, loaned by exhibitors to give members of the press a taste of the range and quality of gems and jewels on offer at GemGenève.

 

In true GemGenève spirit, several of the exhibitors in the audience took the microphone to speak for a few minutes each; amongst them, Marianne Fisher, daughter of exhibitor Paul Fisher, Ephraim Zion CEO of Dehres, a newcomer to this year’s show and Russian designer-jeweller, Alexander Laut, also a new exhibitor.

 

After the press conference, the evening continued with a cocktail, for press, exhibitors and invited guests, who were invited to connect to an engagement platform via a QR code and take a quiz about the show. The prize was an amethyst crystal, February birthstone and bringer of good fortune. Everyone was a winner!

 

 

 

 

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Ming Lampson is one of the new names in this year’s  Designer Vivarium, presenting the work of individual, independent designer-jewellers from around the world. Based in London, Ming was born in Hong Kong – hence her name – and drawn to gemstones from an early age, as so many of the designers were, she went on to study gemmology and learn about stones in Jaipur. She set up her own business, in 1998, as a bespoke jeweller, only working on commission, but in the last few years she has created two collections, both inspired by the East, by Asia and her roots. 

 

The first collection, Oriental Garden, was conjured from Ming’s personal fantasy of an Asian garden, stylized, manicured, filled with fragrant, exotic plants and alive with winged creatures. The designs, as always with Ming’s work were highly stylized, abstracted, evoking emotions rather than depicting realistic images, a pool of lapis in which floats a single green tourmaline, representing a lotus leaf, a caterpillar translated into a ripple of emeralds encased in rose gold, an opal dragonfly ring with openwork wings wrapping the finger. Her second collection, Reverence for Nature, revolves around the Japanese preoccupation with the seasons. Ming explains, “I wanted to capture something fleeting in materials that last forever”. Again the designs are stylized, and gemstones are the focal point of each jewel; blossoms, for spring, a rendition of the traditional ‘Mons’ style flowers, in lace-like diamonds on ring; wintry aquamarine ice flowers, cold, sleek and sharp shards of ice; ripe, succulent berries for autumn, vibrant turquoise flowers for summer. She says she has explored the stones, their colours and associations, and pushed herself to technical challenges, in the construction of the jewels, bringing fluidity, and a strong sculptural quality, particularly for her earrings in which she experiments with line and form, “dressing the ear”, blending the classicism of the subject with a very modern edge. Each jewel is one of a kind, and all are hand-made in Ming’s atelier in London.

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Three decades after Donna and Alex Vock, of ProVockative Gems, New York, launched their business in 1990, they have become leading international dealers, with a magnificent inventory of signed ‘legacy’ jewellery, mostly 20th century, natural ‘pedigree’ gemstones and natural pearls. 

Alex’s expertise and reputation are such that he often advises governments and museums around the world. While Donna also operates a consultancy business, Donna Vock Design.  Donna tells how she was a geology graduate working in the retail jewellery business, just to earn some money, she says, when she met Alex, who had learnt about pearls from his uncle, Salvador Assael, and about diamonds at Lazare Kaplan and who was working for the same retailer, to gain experience. 

She explains that they share a deep intellectual curiosity about gemstones, natural pearls and gemstones. “What makes our business so special,” she adds, “is its complex mix of science, art, history, geopolitics. They are so many layers and interwoven subjects.”

Some 85% of ProVockative Gems’ business is wholesale, selling to the trade, to retail stores, while in her design consultancy, Donna Vock Design, she also deals with private clients. Through the ProVockative Gems customers, retail jewellery stores who often branch into selling vintage jewellery, she notices how young people are increasingly interested in vintage jewellery, “they are eager to understand the stories behind the jewellery.” The same is true for natural pearls, she feels. “There is a new level of awareness of natural pearls versus cultured pearls,” and appreciation of their extreme rarity, and beauty, especially at this time when global warming is having an adverse effect on the oceans and on the lustre of pearls.

Donna Vock talks authoritatively on gems and jewels, the art and science as she gives us a guided tour through the panoply of jewels on offer, so extensive, and diverse in age and style, but all connected by a focus on superb quality, fine materials, a certain distinguished style and presence. There are trays of Art Deco diamond bracelets, several by Cartier, a pair of natural pearl earrings by Boivin, 1935, 1950s jewels by Schlumberger for Tiffany, and an eclectic choice of more contemporary creations, from the 70s to the present day, including for instance a 2009 mother-of-pearl necklace by Bulgari. As well as modern jewels designed by Donna herself; she shows her signature natural pearl and pink and white diamond tassel earrings, the tassels detachable, converting to stud earrings. Her enthusiasm and passion are infectious. She says: “It’s a long road, but people who love jewellery and gems have a real passion. They stick with it”.

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Pristine Diamonds, of Antwerp, a new GemGenève exhibitor in 2019, has fashioned a diamond of sublime perfection, from an exceptional rough crystal of 41.67 carats, originating in the Kao mine, in Lesotho, an area renowned for the size, clarity and beauty of its diamonds. Pristine, a leading rough diamond manufacturer, was established in 1998 with a family history of diamond trading reaching back some 60 years, and today they work closely with the most important sources, and ‘tender’ houses around the globe. Pristine operates from a state-of-the-art facility and cutting factory in Antwerp, and is known for its expertise and skill in cutting large colourless and fancy coloured diamonds. So far, through Pristine’s expertise and the use of the latest high technology, the Helium machine, the rough crystal has yielded three superlative, top graded Flawless diamonds: an emerald cut, 10.21 carats, D Flawless; a 3.01 brilliant cut, D Internally Flawless; and a 1.11 pear-shaped stone, D Flawless. A fourth diamond from the same crystal is on its way. Expect these rarities to light up the Pristine display at GemGenève.

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Gemgenève is honoured to count legendary New York dealer Paul Fisher as one of its elite exhibitors. At 93, Mr Fisher is the head of the fifth generation business, dealing in antique and estate jewellery, fine gemstones and particularly in natural pearls, a speciality that reaches back to the origins of the company in the 1850s in Vienna. The founder, Julius Fisher, traded in natural pearls, from the Arabian Gulf, and as Paul Fisher explains today, these pearls were much in demand, not only as jewellery, but also widely used as buttons, for the most fashionable gowns. In 1921 Julius Fisher’s grandsons Ferdinand and Robert opened Bruder Fisher, in Vienna, but when the introduction of Mikimoto’s cultured pearls around 1927, revolutionised the market, adversely affecting the price of natural pearls, they adapted by buying and selling fine jewellery instead.



In 1938, on the eve of War, Robert brought the family business to London, establishing a New York branch in 1941. Paul Fisher, Inc, New York was started by Robert’s son, Paul, in 1956, adding a London office in 1980, and later offices in Paris and Hong Kong.



Paul Fisher is widely acknowledged as the unrivalled world expert in natural pearls. Ronny Totah, for whom natural pearls are a passion, says, “Paul Fisher is the master, the doyen of pearls. He taught everyone in the industry today and has generously shared his passion and knowledge.” Today, Paul Fisher talks of the “ups and downs” in the market for natural pearls, adding, “the market re-emerged around 2002. Natural pearls came back, suddenly, in a big jump, largely because of a realisation of their scarcity.” The taste for natural pearls, an appreciation for their lustrous, understated beauty, their refinement and most of all their extreme rarity, as true miracles of nature, has been a feature of the overall climate of intense connoisseurship, part of the quest for the rarest of the rare, for the natural wonders of gem materials. Mr Fisher added that the thriving Indian market, the rise of a new, wealthy middle class, contributed to the surge of interest in the finest natural pearls in recent years. “Pearls are embedded in Indian culture,” he says. Virtually no natural pearls are found today, he explains, due the cost of fishing for these random flukes of nature, and also due to pollution in the oceans. The natural pearls on the market today are almost exclusively antique and at Gemgenève they will be on offer at Paul Fisher, as well as at various antique jewellery dealers, including Horovitz and Totah and Sandra Cronan, who has always treasured and collected them. Of Gemgeneve, and his decision to participate, Paul Fisher says, “This is a show for the specialists in our industry, a show for the crème de crème. Gemgenève is doing a great service for the international gem and jewellery trade.”



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Pearl necklace – Paul Fisher

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Diamond necklace – Paul Fisher

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Belle Époque Platinum Onyx & Diamond & Natural Pearl Tiara – Paul Fisher


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Home-grown Geneva talent, a shining example of the finest creativity and craftsmanship Geneva has to offer, Nadia Morgenthaler launched her own collection of jewellery in 2013, after 25 years spent deeply immersed in the city’s fine jewellery industry. In 2009, Nadia, a highly-trained and experienced goldsmith, took over the High Jewellery atelier where she had worked for many years, honing her skills, hand-crafting masterpieces for the world’s most famous Maisons.



Slowly, she explains, she began to dream up her own design concepts, to develop her own individual style, using her unrivalled skills and recherché techniques to create fresh, contemporary jewels that resonated with echoes of historic royal and noble jewels, fusing the poetry of the past with the power of the present. “It was”, she says, “time to give modern jewellery a soul.”



Her unmistakable style, displayed in all its glory at Gemgenève, is dramatically different, modern yet soft and romantic, rich yet delicate, architectural yet supremely feminine and fluid, and deeply yet subtly evocative of antique, aristocratic grandeur and splendour, of Belle Epoque elegance or the Maharajahs’ magnificence. Most of all, Nadia Morgenthaler jewels are characterised by a ravishing refinement: the finesse of details, such as the perlé or millegrain settings she favours, the darkened silver or gold, the hand-made chain, the gemstones of muted, often indefinable colours, powder pink or mint green tourmalines, spinels, indicolite, the contrast of scintillating light, of rock crystal and antique diamonds with the lustre of antique natural pearls that feature in virtually every jewel she creates.



Nadia’s imaginative ideas are made possible only by her awe-inspiring technique, by her unique blend of artistry and engineering. She is uncompromising in her devotion to technical perfection. Every component of every jewel, material, colour, sheen, texture, technique, every detail is totally, seamlessly integrated into her design concept, each element plays a pivotal role in the design, structure or silhouette. Which gives her jewels their defining understated yet theatrical eloquence, divine proportions and subtle, secretive sensuality. Nadia tells how she relishes the challenge of creating 3-D structures, of highly complex construction, finding ingenious ways in which to suspend or integrate gemstones and pearls, especially for the earrings which have become her speciality. “Earrings bring light to the face, and can be seen from all sides. So my earrings have to be flexible, mobile and shimmering.” At Gemgenève, Nadia Morgenthaler will be showing her latest creations, many featuring rock crystal, her material of the moment, cut especially to her designs, to conjure images of 18th century candlelit chandeliers, a captivating complement to her distinctive, reduced palette of gem colours, her layering of light and lustre. She says, “I love the way in which rock crystal plays and interacts with light and movement.” It is the perfect material, with a long and noble history, and spiritual heritage, to infuse Nadia Morgenthaler’s exquisitely refined jewels with yet more light, charm and soul.



ROCK CRYSTAL

Prized since late antiquity, especially in Eastern civilisations, rock crystal, a colourless quartz, was treasured as the ultimate luxury possession during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Imbued with spiritual and amuletic powers on account of its clarity, considered a symbol of purity and truth, rock crystal was carved by virtuoso lapidaries into extravagant objects, vessels, jugs, goblets, and often set into gold and encrusted with gems. Such lavish objects took pride of place in royal collections, treasuries and princely Wunderkammer or Cabinets de Curiosites. Much later, rock crystal found a revered place in modernist jewellery and objects of the 1920s and 30s, when its clarity and colourlessness, its soft crystalline brilliance, its timeless modernity, perfectly suited the monochrome compositions of the Art Deco period. It could be carved or faceted, cut and polished to a gleaming, glasslike transparency or textured with a misty, frosted surface. The sense of luxury that had long been associated with the material, its suitability for the art of the lapidary, was revived especially for personal accessories, boxes, vanity cases, and most memorably for Cartier’s mesmerising Mystery clocks. See the versatility and vibrancy of rock crystal, in varied guises, at Gemgenève: Swiss vintage jewellery dealers, Larengregor, will be showing a striking Art Deco rock crystal and enamel box, by Cartier, and Symbol & Chase, London dealers in antique and 20th century jewellery, offer a stunning pair of 1930s diamond and faceted rock crystal dress clips, one of the most iconic designs by the inimitable Suzanne Belperron.

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Cartier rock crytstal box -Larengregor

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Cartier rock crytstal box – Larengregor

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Rock crystal & diamond clips, by SuzanneBelperron – Symbolic & Chase


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Beverly Hills jeweller, Robert Procop, known for his expertise and passion for the most fabulous natural coloured gemstones on earth, as well as for his VIP clientele, generally prefers to stay out of the limelight. However, this May he is exhibiting at GemGenève, and will be on hand to show clients his Exceptional Jewels collection, the first time he has personally participated at an international show in this way.



Along with his own creations, he will be unveiling the latest additions to the Style of Jolie, the collection he designs in collaboration with Angelina Jolie. The Style of Jolie was launched in 2012 to benefit the charity co-founded by Ms Jolie, The Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. The purpose of the charity is to build schools and provide education for children in areas of devastating conflicts and high refugee concentrations. Both Procop and Ms Jolie pledged to donate 100% of the profits to the charity.



Style of Jolie jewels have a distinctive, “colour block” style, the sleek, architectural gold settings, especially the signature “tablet” form, perfectly balance the purity and strength of emeralds, citrines and green beryls. The refined gold mounts, which Procop describes as “floating edges” are supremely crafted to look as if the gold melts into the gemstones themselves, strong yet fluid and sensual, powerfully contemporary yet effortlessly elegant.



The newest Style of Jolie designs, with emeralds, citrines, as well as the more unusual, chic, black star sapphire and black spinels, will be revealed to the public at GemGenève, in a special display in the Contemporary Designer Showcase, curated by Vivienne Becker for Vivarium. And alongside these new creations, Robert Procop will also unveil the first jewels in the capsule series, the Zahara Collection, designed by Procop, in collaboration with Angelina Jolie and Ms Jolie’s daughter, Zahara Jolie-Pitt. These young, vibrant designs, chain anklets with gem-pendant, statement rings and slender, beautifully proportioned bracelets, set with a variety of stones, including black spinel and rose quartz, in white and rose gold. A world exclusive for GemGenève. • Emerald and gold ring, Style of Jolie collection, Robert Procop, Los Angeles. The minimalist “tablet” design of this ring is the defining feature of the Style of Jolie collection, created by Beverly Hills jeweller Robert Procop in collaboration with Angelina Jolie, to benefit the charity co-founded by Ms Jolie, the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. • Rose quartz and rose gold anklet, Zahara collection, Style of Jolie. One of the first jewels in capsule series designed by Robert Procop in collaboration with Angelina Jolie and Ms Jolie’s daughter, Zahara Jolie-Pitt. The Zahara series will be unveiled and shown to the public for the first time in the Designer Showcase at GemGenève.



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Rose quartz and rose-gold Anklet by Robert Procop

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Emerald and gold ring by RobertProcop

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Emerald and gold-earrings by Robert Procop


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As part of the April press days in New York City held first in the salon of renowned diamantaire, William Goldberg, and then in the offices of the Faerber Collection, the GemGenève team announced the Contemporary Designer Showcase. This showcase, highlighting the work of 9 international designer-jewellers, is curated by Vivienne Becker, as an introduction to her new venture, Vivarium by Vivienne Becker, offering a whole world of jewels, history, advisory and a gallery of individual designer jewels. Gem Genève’s New York press events previewed some of the designer jewels that would be on display in May, showing work by Hannah Martin, London, Belmacz, London and Sean Gilson, New York. The founders, Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah, were there to explain why this showcase of individual designer jewellers from around the world, is such a vital, vibrant part of the GemGenève concept, and Vivienne Becker was on hand to talk about her choice of designers, their individual creative visions and the jewels themselves.

From Hannah Martin, the journalists saw the Possession ring and bangle, typical of Martin’s signature style of powerful, provocative androgyny. She works predominantly in gold, shown to perfection by dramatic, mechanistic and sculptural form of the new Possession ring and bangle, in which she explores the conflict between ownership – possession – and freedom. The power of the design, and of her generous use of gold, contrasts with the sense of vulnerability that comes from the glimpse of flesh through the open centre of both ring and bangle.

The Alice B. Toklas ring, gold set with coral, by Julia Muggenburg for Belmacz, showcased the designer’s background in fine art and her very particular, idiosyncratic way of fusing influences from modern art and tribal ornament, integrating colour, texture and material into concept, design and form. Belmacz creates jewels with a strong, contemporary urban beat and a sculptural sensuality. The chain necklace with a chalcedony pendant perfectly carved in the form of a miniature Chinese snuff bottle, with a single diamond on the chain, told of Muggenburg’s understanding of the spiritual, amuletic significance of the jewel in all civilisations.

American master goldsmith, Sean Gilson, showed his exuberant black opal and natural pearl ring, which points the way forward into a new visual design language for pearls. Back on trend in a big way this year, pearls are now rebelling against their age-old traditions, breaking through entrenched classicism, finding new creative expression at the hands of individual designer-jewellers like Gilson, for whom pearls have become a speciality. He also showed his signature long gold earrings, resolutely modernist and geometric. Gilson makes all of his jewels himself by hand in his atelier in Connecticut and his workshop in New York City.









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After Hong Kong and the East, we turned our sights westward; next stop – New York. In early April, the GemGenève founders Ronny Totah & Thomas Faerber and team, including Jasmine Vidal & Vivienne Becker, headed to New York City, to introduce GemGenève, its story, scope and stellar cast of exhibitors to press, journalists, jewellery editors, fashion editors, and influencers. The event was spread over two days.


The first day was hosted by GemGenève exhibitor, William Goldberg, who welcomed the stream of press into their offices for one-to-one appointments with the founders and with Vivienne Becker, who talked both about the antique jewellery at the show and about the Contemporary Designer Showcase, organised through her new venture, Vivarium. The second day was held in the offices of the Faerber Collection, run by Max Faerber, and here New York antique jewellery dealer and exhibitor Pat Saling came to talk to journalists about 20th century jewellery.

On both days the team announced the unveiling at GemGenève of the latest additions to the Style of Jolie collection, a philanthropic collaborative venture launched in 2012 by Angelina Jolie and Beverly Hills jeweller, Robert Procop. Amongst the new Style of Jolie designs will be the capsule Zahara collection, young, street-style and vibrant, designed by Ms Jolie, Robert Procop and Ms Jolie’s daughter, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, shown publicly for the first time, in a world exclusive, at GemGenève.

As in Hong Kong, there was a sumptuous display of jewels and gems, most from U.S. based exhibitors, for the journalists to see and handle – all highlights of GemGenève exhibits including:









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One of the star jewels shown to journalists at the press lunch in Hong Kong in March was a spectacular cuff bangle by the French designer, Suzanne Belperron, whose name has become a buzz word in the world of “vintage” jewellery. The bangle, made around 1936, in platinum, diamonds and calibre-cut sapphires, centred on a large single stone diamond, was lent by GemGenève exhibitor Pat Saling, a New York-based dealer in antique and 20th century jewellery. The bangle is a superb example of Belperron’s inimitable style – she used to say “My style is my signature”. Designed as a loop or twisting spiral, a Belperron signature, it shows the designer’s effortless blend of powerful graphic lines and curvaceous sensuality that so captured the bold, strong femininity of the 1930s and 40s. It shows the new volumes that Belperron introduced to Art Deco design, and exudes an understated glamour that strikes a chord today. Perhaps most of all it is an exceptional showpiece of Belperron’s sense of timeless, enduring modernity: the bangle looks as dynamically contemporary and relevant today as it surely did when it was first created.

Pat Saling spent 20 years working alongside the late and legendary Fred Leighton in New York. Today, she acknowledges how much she learnt from him, about antique and period jewellery ranging from 19th century to the 1950s. She says, “I had the huge privilege of working with him, and now I have the luxury of his vast repertoire of jewels running through my head. Murray (his real name) had a vision for antique jewellery, and he put Art Deco jewellery on the map.”

Pat’s “personal love” she says is the jewellery of Suzanne Belperron. She first discovered Belperron’s work in 1981, long before the current surge of popularity, at a time when Belperron was virtually forgotten and almost unknown. She began selling Belperron pieces to a handful of collectors and over some 35 years she has watched as this avant-garde, audacious French designer has become a cult figure in 20th century jewellery history, her jewels madly sought after by connoisseurs. “Belperron was not a typical jeweller, not a trend-follower. She was more of a jewellery sculptor. She designed jewels to fit and suit women, perfectly attuned to a woman’s body”. She adds that the jewels are always meticulously made and supremely comfortable to wear. She loves Belperron’s adventurous use of lapidary work, the carved agate and quartz bangles, the chalcedony beads and brooches designed as carved stylised leaves, the sheen she was able to bring to these jewels. Belperron’s jewels were worn by the great mid-century women of style, Daisy Fellowes, Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley, the Duchess of Windsor. Pat Saling says, “These were not jewels for shrinking violets, they were, and are still today, bold, sensual masterpieces of contemporary design.”



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Diamond and pearl earrings

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Aquamarine ring


Diamond and sapphire bangle – Belperron


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In early March, the GemGenève team travelled to Hong Kong to host a lunch for international journalists, bloggers and influencers, to give them the full background to GemGenève and introduce its founders, Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah. The hosts were also delighted to welcome the Consul General of Switzerland, Reto Renggli to the lunch.

Some 20 members of the media, from Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, the USA and even Australia, gathered around a long table in a private dining room in the Grissini restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The theme of the lunch was “Seek and Find”, an invitation to explore and discover at GemGenève. The table was decorated with beautiful flower arrangements in white boxes, printed in black with “Seek” and “Find”. In the same spirit of quest and discovery, the guests were each given a magnifying glass.

Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah related the story of GemGenève, why and how they developed the concept. They explained how they both felt there was a need for a new-style jewellery and gem show in Europe, a show that was more intimate, focused on quality and integrity, an event, for both trade and public that would truly reflect and reveal the international world of gem and jewellery trading.

Also at the lunch, Jasmine Vidal, responsible for communications at GemGenève introduced jewellery historian, journalist and author, Vivienne Becker. Vivienne gave a short talk in which she showed how GemGenève will be a microcosm of today’s fast-changing jewellery world. She offered insights into social and cultural megatrends, and analysed the latest design directions, touching on the significance of discoveries of new gem deposits, mainly in Africa, that have given designers an unprecedented palette of gem colours. To illustrate this, Nomad, New York-based gem merchants and GemGenève exhibitor, lent a spectacular set of three mint green Merelani tsavorite garnets to show the press.

Vivienne also gave the journalists went through styles and periods of antique and 20th century that would be on offer at GemGenève. The guests were fascinated by the jewels that were lent by exhibitors to illustrate the different eras and styles. The jewels were passed round the table giving the guests the opportunity to handle the jewels and listen to detailed explanations by Ida Faerber, who shared her impressive knowledge of jewellery history. The pieces on display included 18th and 19th century diamond jewels, an Art Nouveau ring by American maker, Marcus & Co and jewels by Suzanne Belperron, lent by GemGenève exhibitor Pat Saling, as well as Kashmir sapphires and a coloured diamond ring.

Finally there were two contemporary designer jewels by Belmacz London, which linked to the announcement at the lunch of the Designer Showcase at GemGenève – more to come in our next news!



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Founders Ronny Totah & Thomas-Faerber

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Jewellery Historian Vivienne Becker

Discovering Antique Diamond brooch
Discovering Antique Diamond brooch


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Cherchez . . . If you happen to be looking for a beautiful bowl carved from a precious gemstone . . .

Trouvez . . . find one of the world’s largest, rarest and most precious ruby bowls, at Henn, fourth generation gem merchants and jewellers, world-renowned for their masterful stone-carving, precious sculptures and objets d’art. This ravishing ruby bowl has been hand-carved in a fluid, freeform contemporary shape. As always, Henn’s master sculptor has followed the natural form of the raw material, in this case a, exceptional rough ruby of 7,357.50 carats, discovered in Longido, Tanzania. The Henn philosophy is always to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the stone or mineral, often some of the finest specimens in the world today. The soft, sensual curves of this bowl, its asymmetry, the play of light and shade show the colour, light and personality of the ruby to perfection. In its shape too, you find a hint of the baroque, a characteristic of Henn sculptures that harks back to the sublime, carved stone precious objects that took pride of place in princely Renaissance WunderKammer.


HENN


Henn is a long-established family business, a global gem trading house, run today by Hans-Jurgen Henn, goldsmith, mountaineer and intrepid gem-hunter, and his sons Axel, a trained stone-cutter, who evaluates rough material, and Ingo, goldsmith and designer-jeweller. Hans-Jurgen and Axel are based in Germany, in Idar-Oberstein, the celebrated stone-cutting and carving centre, while Ingo Henn operates Henn London, opened in Hatton Garden in the mid-1990s. Here Ingo Henn designs and makes his own, individualist jewels, set with imaginatively cut or carved coloured stones, and embellished with goldwork, engraving and enamels by the British enameller, Phil Barnes. The henn family is known not only for the superb quality and rarity of its gemstones, but also for its expertise in cutting, carving and sculpting gems and museum-quality minerals. Ingo Henn explains how he works closely with the skilled stone cutters and sculptors in Idar Oberstein, and then weaves his designs around the stone. “First, we have to look for a suitable rough stone. We need a certain size and colour. But once we find it, the stone always tells us what it wants to be.” Recently, he has created jewel around a Santa Maria aquamarine, carved by Aflred Zimmermn into a lion’s head, a 55carat Brazilian tourmaline, cut into a spiral form, and, as we spoke, he was working with a Brazilian morganite carved to depict two flamingos, their necks entwined, embracing.



THE ART OF GEM CARVING


Henn taps into a long legacy of the art of stone carving, an art form that is being rediscovered by today’s informed collectors and connoisseurs. Stone carving, or the so-called glyptic arts are rooted in antiquity, in the earliest engraved seals and intaglios, and in the later Greek and Roman vessels carved from agates. Stone carving enjoyed a golden age in the Renaissance, with its revival of all things classical, and it was in the late 16th century that sumptuous objects and vessels, carafes and bowls, were elaborately crafted from carved rock crystal, set in gold, lavishly embellished, engraved and bejewelled. These were the objects treasured in the Kunstkammers of Europe. Then again, the art of stone carving was revived in pre-Revolutionary Russia, taken to new, fantastical levels of wit and artistry by the genius of Peter Carl Faberge, who was in turn influenced by the treasures of the greatest Kunstkammer, the Grunes Gewolbe in Dresden.



Today, stone carving is once again appreciated for its combination of virtuoso hand-craftsmanship, wondrous age-old skills with artistry, imagination and the storytelling that is such a vital element of jewellery today. Ingo Henn says, “it is a theme, an art form that hasn’t been explored fully or shown for many years.





Gem-Carving-Tools
Gem carving tools


Aquamarine-Vase-by-Henn
Aquamarine Vase by Henn

Baroque-Ruby-Bowl-by-Henn
Baroque ruby bowl by Henn


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