Emil Weis, opale boulder, zaffiri blu e tsavorite

The mysteries of opal in GemGèneve

The mysteries, charm and ambiguity of a gem that differs completely from the others: the opal. The eighth edition of GemGèneve (9-12 May 2024, pavilion 1 of Palexpo, Geneva) will also offer an exhibition dedicated to the most enigmatic stone. The iridescence of opal is one of the most suggestive aspects. She was nicknamed Queen of Gemstones by William Shakespeare, and she won the favor of Empress Josephine and Queen Victoria.

Series Lollipop Opal Brooch, with diamonds, tanzanites, tsavorites, enamel and aluminium
A.Win Siu, Lollipop brooch with opal, diamonds, tanzanite, tsavorite, enamel, aluminum

The exhibition, Flames of Opal Essence, is divided into a selection of around 50 jewels and works of art with a journey through the mysteries of iridescence. The scenography designed by the Autre Idée agency highlights all the properties of this stone. The exhibition is curated by the director of GemGenève, Mathieu Dekeukelaire, with the support of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire of Geneva, Piaget, Imagem and Boris Chauviré, doctor of mineralogy at GeoGems, as scientific collaborator.

Thanks to the dialogue between jewels and contemporary art, Flames of Opal Essence traces a sensorial, graphic and initiatory journey to reveal all the mysteries of iridescence.
Nadège Totah, member of the Board of Directors

Nadège Totah. Photo David Fraga
Nadège Totah. Photo: David Fraga

In its collections, the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva (MAH) has numerous antique pieces set with opals. Some will be on display in the exhibition, such as a medallion bracelet, probably made between 1800 and 1850, with an opal set, which hides a tiny secret compartment in which a child’s thin lock of hair is kept.

Vhernier, spille con opale, cristallo di rocca e diamanti. Faerber Collection
Vhernier, brooches with opal, rock crystal and diamonds. Faerber Collection

Due to its characteristics, opal was long considered a cursed and unloved stone in ancient times. For this reason it was rarely used in jewelry before the 19th century.
Thomas Faerber, co-founder of GemGenève

Thomas Faerber. Copyright: gioiellis.com
Thomas Faerber. Copyright: gioiellis.com
Imagem, dettaglio di opale
Imagem, detail of opal
Kreis Jewellery, anello con opale nero australiano di 8,80 carati
Kreis Jewellery, 8.80 carat Australian black opal ring
piaget White gold. Opal dial. 44 marquise cut diamonds
Piaget, watch with opal and marquise-cut diamonds
Boris Chauviré
Boris Chauviré

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