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Putting Their Best Jewels Forward

Fending off economic PROBLEMS, jewelry at the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair looks set to dazzle with color, unusual gem mixes and exceptional workmanship for designers hoping to woo big spenders.

Italian Trade Commissioner Aniello Musella Jim Gold and Alberto Comini

Italian Trade Commissioner Aniello Musella, Jim Gold and Alberto Comini.

Photo By THOMAS IANNACCONE

Fending off economic PROBLEMS, jewelry at the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair looks set to dazzle with color, unusual gem mixes and exceptional workmanship for designers hoping to woo big spenders.

Soaring metals prices will likely be a hot topic at the show, with many designers signaling price increases.

New jewelry brands set to show at the event include Germany's Abel & Zimmermann, known for its chain bracelets, and Denmark's Pilgrim, which specializes in handmade fantasy jewelry crafted from brass, tin or zinc. Galliano will also be introducing its first fine jewelry line at the show, comprising dagger, flower and coin stories, while Austrian crystal giant Swarovski is headed back to Basel for the launch of its product brand Enlightened — Swarovski Elements.
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The brand specializes in innovative setting techniques, such as a JewelMesh "gem fabric" that allows for stones to be set in any material, as well as a range of precision-cut gems and synthetic stones. The brand was formerly marketed under the trade name Signity, which was taken over by Swarovski in 2006.

"We've been working in the [gemstone] field since the Sixties, but we believe we can enlarge the scope of the brand...creating a platform to move it forward into different fields," said Markus Langes-Swarovski, executive board member of Swarovski.

On display will be a number of designer jewelry pieces made using the brand's elements, including two-star and moon headpieces made by Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen. On an arty note, the brand's Gem Visions Couture collection will feature a fluid body sculpture by architect Zaha Hadid, made from black rhodium.

"It's not only about positioning crystals, but a range of elements that foster creativity," said Langes-Swarovski, adding the brand can work with any material except for diamonds.

Apart from innovations at the fair, several jewelry brands signaled price increases ahead.

"We've had to raise prices by around 10 percent, but we're the last ones to do so," said Fawaz Gruosi, founder and president of the Geneva-based fine jewelry brand de Grisogono.
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