Baselworld Sparkles with Jewels

Europe's luxury jewellers unveiled their latest collections last week at Baselworld 2012, the biggest watch and jewellery event in the world.

Baselworld started as a watch fair and, now in its 40th year, is the premier luxury show for European retailers and brands alike. Over 100,000 exhibitors, visitors and press attended this year to announce new products and discover new trends. With nine Maserati sports cars parked enviably last week in a row outside the luxury watch Hall, our expectations were set high.

For any visitor to Baselworld, the show can remain a daunting one. Cavernous halls are filled with temporary structures of glass and marble that in some instances reach three stories high. Luxury watch brands such as Patek Phillipe, Rolex, Breguet and Chopard showcase their newest timepieces alongside jewellery creations from Fabergé, De Grisogono, and Mikimoto. The atmosphere is busy, but serious and hushed too. The success of the event here sets the tone for many in the watch and jewellery calendar.

Baselworld Brands

If you are interested in the latest developments in jewellery then the prestige jewellers of Hall 2 or the specialist gemstone and pearl merchants of Hall 3 should be your first stop. The UK representation was low-key, with the stand-out for us being the characteristically edgy and spectacular designs of Stephen Webster.

Amongst the displays of the specialist pearl dealers, there were the first signs of the new larger nucleated Freshwater Edison pearls that are starting to emerge from China. This new type of pearl represents a real advancement in culturing technology, with Freshwater pearls starting to reach a size of as much as 15mm in diameter. There were a number of vivid pink strands on display, an amazing natural colour that is oddly striking when first seen. We will cover this type of pearl later in our Journal, but it will be very interesting to see how they are received over the coming year, particularly as their quality improves further.

Baselworld is scheduled slightly later next year from April 25 to May 2, 2013, due to the exhibition area being expanded, and is open to luxury-loving members of the public as well as retailers.