GemGenève is proud to welcome four very new and talented designers to GemGenève and to have the opportunity to give their work greater exposure in our special Emerging Talent space. Their creations offer a fascinating glimpse into a universe of very different ideas and inspirations, into their worlds of individuality, innovation and ingenuity.
Even though the styles and techniques are different, each of these designers draws inspiration from the mysteries of nature in order, they explain, to create collections imbued with the powerful symbolism that has always been an essential element of the jewel. All of these designs share a common focus: the meaning, message and role of the gemstone, far beyond the purely ornamental, with a value that is far more than its intrinsic worth. Above all, the gemstone is and has always been a talisman, to protect and invoke good will, a talisman to keep close to us at all times, to remind us to live in harmony, of body, heart and soul.
“The work of these designers is displayed in a dedicated space at the heart of GemGenève, a space in which visitors, we hope, will have time and space to study the jewels, to be intrigued, to see and appreciate the new dynamism that is energising jewellery-making today.” - NADÈGE TOTAH
Jewels that reflect our innermost self
Arlène Bonnant worked in the art market, with Simon de Pury and Daniela Luxembourg, for eight years before following her heart and venturing into jewellery design to found her own brand, Caspita. She views the jewel, she says, not only as a work of art, but as an object of contemplation.
Her style draws on architectural forms, both man-made and natural. She collaborated with the late Zaha Hadid to create a collection inspired by cellular structures in nature. Two powerfully graphic pieces in this collection reveal a world of microscopic organisms, showing us the beauty of the infinitesmal, of the invisible.
Her Chakra collection is based on the body’s seven main energy centres, represented in the form of lotus flowers, each in a different colour, each with a meaning known only to the wearer. The Ourobos collection, inspired by the ancient symbol of the snake eating its tail, questions whether time is linear or circular, and never-ending. The Alchemy collection is underpinned with the philosophical concept of transformation, of evil to good, and also within ourselves; we have the possibility to transform our lives. While Arlène Bonnant’s latest collection, “Astre double”– a sun that metamorphoses into a moon, to become the “quintessential sphere”, pushes technical boundaries of jewellery-making, thanks to the skills of jeweller Ludovic Lesermann.
Jewellery with a story to tell
The Oselieri-Racine collection was created by Miriam Racine Bergesen and Pedro Oselieri Lopes who met while they were studying gemmology and have been together ever since. As a couple, they have successfully combined their knowledge and know-how to create a fresh jewellery brand that tells their story and reflects their individualistic design direction.
Drawing on their respective roots, they create unique pieces that each incorporate something of their personal history. The shape of a boomerang, for instance, a recurring motif in their work, is a memory from Pedro’s childhood, the joy of watching a kite fly across wide blue skies.
Together they personally select the gem stones they love and want to work with, and then design the jewels around them. Every piece is made by hand, in Geneva.
The two partners like to think of Oselieri-Racine jewellery as resembling the chapters of a book, each jewel telling a story without words, either to make your own, or to retell and embellish in your own way.
Contemporary talismans by Grégoire Maret
Grégoire Maret is a jewellery artisan who trained, as he says, “the old-fashioned way” at the Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux. After graduating, he immediately set out on his own and developed and crafted his first collection of unique, numbered jewellery creations, while simultaneously crafting bespoke jewellery for a select clientele of industry insiders.
He too views his jewels as contemporary talismans and takes a keen interest in the inherent symbolism of jewellery, over and above its decorative role. He draws on Celtic culture and the natural world, translating long-forgotten shapes and symbols into contemporary jewels. This gives his work a powerful originality of design, enhancing the precious and semi-precious stones and Alpine minerals that he loves to work with, as a means of anchoring his work in his own roots.
Today, after a career spanning more than 20 years, Grégoire Maret continues to develop his ideas and hone his skills, channelling them into the Pierre d’Alexis collection, which will have its “world première” at GemGenève.
After graduating with an MA in Fine Art, this designer worked for various prestigious international jewellery houses in Geneva, before launching her own eponymous brand,Towe, in 1999.
Inspired by her Swedish roots, by Scandinavian design and also unexpectedly by biophysics, her style is resolutely avant-garde, characterised by a striking purity and strength of form. While understanding and respecting jewellery traditions, she also rebels against them, taking inspiration instead from the mysteries and miracles of science. Together with her husband, a lecturer in dermatology and biophysics, Towe Norlen has worked for several years towards a way of interpreting biophysical principles in jewellery design, through the graphic patterns of nature’s sacred geometry.
In 2003, Towe Norlen also invented and patented a new production technique: “gold laser- sintering”, increasingly used in the jewellery industry today.