Attending GemGenève in Uncertain Times

Inflation, falling diamond prices, and geopolitical issues compounded the Swiss show’s existing challenges.

May 23, 2024  |  Joshua Freedman
Gem Geneve show

The GemGenève show, which took place this year from May 9 to 12 in Geneva, Switzerland, is an important indicator of how the high-end market is doing. The fair attracts sellers of large, top-quality diamonds and gemstones, as well as leading luxury brands that come to buy.

This year’s show occurred amid an uncertain environment for the trade. High inflation and interest rates in key markets such as the US have impacted consumer spending, and the Chinese luxury market is weak.
Prices of high-clarity diamonds have been falling this year, as Rapaport reported in its May press release on the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™). Lower-clarity stones, such as SI1s and SI2s, have improved for a number of reasons, including the fact that these categories suffered heavily last year.

Shavarsh Hakobian ring; image
Shavarsh Hakobian ring (Andras Barta)

In addition, some industry participants say the high-end brands did a lot of buying last year and now don’t need much new merchandise, even if their sales are good. However, dealers report that exceptional large stones have been performing better than their bread-and-butter goods, as the economic challenges have had less of an effect on the wealthy.

So how did all of this impact GemGenève?

Exhibitors who attended the show said traffic and sales were weak overall due to the state of the market, with luxury brands buying little. But as the vendors also noted, GemGenève is not a big show for purchases, unlike JCK Las Vegas or the Hong Kong fairs.

GemGenève cofounder Thomas 
Faerber image
GemGenève cofounder Thomas Faerber (Andras Barta)

There was still demand for spectacular large diamonds, which are in short supply because of a drop in manufacturing and the relatively high price of rough.

Another factor was the timing of the show. The first two days were busy, but the traffic tailed off due to the Ascension Day holiday in France and some other European countries. Also, some of the Israeli participants wanted to return to Israel for Memorial Day, which started on Sunday night.

 Organic Jewellery brooch image
Organic Jewellery brooch (Andras Barda)

GemGenève has not had the easiest run. The November 2023 show also saw a decline in visitors due to the geopolitical situation, including the Israel-Hamas war, which led to fewer Israelis attending. In the wake of Covid-19 and the ensuing shift to digital commerce, the concept of the trade show took a hit from which it is still recovering.

Later this month, with uncertainty still hanging over the trade, the industry will gather in Las Vegas for the JCK fair. Let’s see if trading picks up in time for that event.

This article is an edited transcript from the May 16 edition of the Rapaport Market Comment video. To watch all videos, visit

Main Image: GemGenève Show (Andras Barta)

This article is from the May-June 2024 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.

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Gem Geneve show Attending GemGenève in Uncertain Times

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