Back in February I had the opportunity to visit Munich as a research trip and attended one of the worlds largest jewellery trade shows Inhorgenta, it’s basically the Crufts of jewellery shows!
The show itself was absolutely massive and totally overwhelming to begin with as there was so much to take in. Unfortunately cameras were forbidden in the hall so no photos I’m afraid.
With a hall devoted to tools, display, packaging and technology, one hall for large brand jewellers (like Thomas Sabo – who had a huge funky stand) and watches (Fossil – giant wooden cube). There was a hall for smaller designers which were separated into collectives/groups, universities. It was nice to see some British designers like Jane Adam and recognised some silversmiths who exhibit at goldsmiths. This hall also had the more established independent German designers. The range of work was mind blowing and the Germans really are the most talented jewellers! Their pieces were mostly made in 22ct yellow gold, most of which were very simple but chunky designs. The pieces were extremely well made and finished to a very high standard. It was really inspiring to see such innovative designs and it’s made me realise that I want to produce creative, one off statement pieces again.
Two huge halls were also devoted to precious, semi precious stones and beads, I was in heaven! It was an amazing experience and I could have quite easily spent an absolute fortune. But I went with a budget in mind and Alan helped me keep my sensible head on and stopped me spending too much! I could have spent my whole budget on the first stall I found as it was full of my favourite stones, including Kyanite, dendritic quartz, rutile quartz in the unusual cuts that I use.
Some stalls had open shell schemes with tables covered in loose stones to pick up. I learned quite quickly that some stalls were more expensive than others as stones were individually boxed and locked in cabinets. These stalls were set up as a retail outlet. They were also a lot quieter so you knew not to enter those ones unless you had mega bucks to spend!
Lots of stalls sold strands of different gems and beads, hanging from the top of the wall right down to the ground. Quite a lot of the bead stalls had the same or similar stock but charged different prices, so it was good to look and compare before you bought. Some gave discounts when you purchased a set amount, most had minimum spend in store. This was quite annoying as I saw some nice strands but only wanted a few things but their minimum spend was €500.
They all had different ways of pricing, some didn’t have prices. Most were in euros and had weird codes so you had to ask the staff for help. All the stalls had small baskets or trays for loose stones (these were priced per carat). Most stalls only took cash and you had to specifically ask for receipts. One of my friends visited last year so I was prepared with cash and ready to ask for receipts but some places wouldn’t write them so I had to make notes of what I spent and from whom.
As the show was so big we split it up into two days, one day for stones and one to look at the designers (though I did go back to one of the stone stalls to get some more). Here are two of my favourite type of quartz.
These are some of the stones I bought and can’t wait to make some new exciting pieces. Hopefully I’ll have some of these made into fantastic new pieces by the Westend Festival in August, so come visit my stand during 6th-14th to see what’s new.
If you would like something made with any of these stones please get in touch.
Over the years I have been collecting stones. I now have a large selection of stones which are ready to make into some gorgeous pieces of jewellery. Here are a set of green amethyst (purchased from my London supplier) and two topaz which I purchased in Mexico a few years ago. Now that I am a full time self employed jeweller I will have the time to make some exciting new pieces with these stones.