GemGenève puts independent fine-jewellery designers in the frame

Now in its second year, the GemGenève jewellery fair – a rich cornucopia of gem specialists, antique dealers and contemporary designers – opens in Geneva this weekend. Once again, its ‘Vivarium’ showcase of independent fine jewellery designers has caught our eye. Its curator, the author and historian Vivienne Becker, is unrivalled when it comes to unearthing new and rare fine-jewellery design talent from across the globe. Her take on contemporary design founded on meticulous techniques is as distinct as it gets. We highlight some of the designers she is spotlighting this week:

Nicholas Lieou, Right, Tentacle cuff

(Image credit: TBC)

Nicholas Lieou: Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2008, Lieou has served his time in some of the world’s leading and independent high-jewellery design studios. Before joining Tiffany & Co as a design director in 2015, Lieou did stints with Lara Bohinc, Shaun Leane and Louis Vuitton. He launched his eponymous line, Mr Lieou, last year, just in time for the emerging renaissance in baroque jewellery designs for men. Expect seriously technical designs disguised as bewitching flora and fauna motifs rooted in Lieou’s signature rich, Rococo style. Right, Tentacle cuff

Nadia Morgenthaler, Left, ring in natural pearls, diamond and platinum

(Image credit: TBC)

Nadia Morgenthaler: Fine jewellery aficionados will, at first glance, recognise that Morgenthaler trained in Geneva. The city has been home to some of the most exceptional decorative arts craftsmen in the world for centuries, and designers like Morgenthaler pay proud homage, submitting academic designs of a level few can produce. The jeweller spent 25 years in these workshops before launching her eponymous brand, where ’every detail is totally, seamlessly integrated into the design, structure or silhouette’. Morgenthaler’s jewellery draws on, among other things, the luxurious urban architecture of the Belle Epoque. Hence, her designs conjure up the fantastic notion of interior design perfectly proportioned for the body. Left, ring in natural pearls, diamond and platinum

Alexandra Jefford, Right, Lunchbox Blue ring in carved onyx, 18-ct gold and a natural blue Ceylon sapphire

(Image credit: TBC)

Alexandra Jefford: Fresh from exhibiting at Wallpaper Handmade 2019 in Milan, where she created ‘The Ties that Bind’ installation with Smythson, Jefford’s jewels, with their particular fine-art style, will be a top draw. Citing American 1950s abstract expressionist painters as a strong influence, Jefford’s tendency towards clean, sculptural forms attests to an almost architectural approach. Balanced with the London studio-based jeweller’s trademark delicate, precious details, her development as a designer in precious metals is as intriguing as the singular results. Right, Lunchbox Blue ring in carved onyx, 18-ct gold and a natural blue Ceylon sapphire

Cora Sheibani, Left, Butterfly earrings with tourmaline, garnets and Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl

(Image credit: TBC)

Cora Sheibani: Another Wallpaper Handmade collaborator makes Vivienne Becker’s list this year. It was for our 2015 Milan show that Sheibani collaborated with famed Edinburgh silversmith Hamilton & Inches to create a sizeable interiors piece – a table jewel of linked ‘cloud’ bowls. The Swiss jewellery designer continues to work gold and precious stones into whimsical symbols sharpened by her handsome wit. Because Sheibani is driven by the notion of how her jewellery is received as well as perceived, they are a joy to look at as well as to wear. Left, Butterfly earrings with tourmaline, garnets and Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl

Caragh McKay has been a contributing editor at Wallpaper* since 2014. She was previously watches & jewellery director and is currently our resident lifestyle & shopping editor. Caragh has produced exhibitions and created and edited titles for publishers including the Daily Telegraph. She regularly chairs talks for luxury houses, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier among them. Caragh’s current remit is cross-cultural and her recent stories include the curious tale of how Muhammad Ali met his poetic match in Robert Burns and how a Martin Scorsese film revived a forgotten Osage art.