Designer Life: Munich Gem Show 2019

Minerals and crystals and beads, oh my! I had my first experiences with gem shows at the Tucson Gem Show, which is the largest in the world. Not a bad place to start, am I right? 😉 Now that I’m in based in Germany, it seemed like the perfect time to venture out and explore Europe’s largest gem show. Find out more about my adventures at the Munich Gem Show 2019!

Gem Shows: Endless Inspiration

Before I get into the details of Munich, I wanted to say that I feel so lucky to have grown up with family in Tucson, Arizona. I can’t think of a better place for a potential jewelry designer to find themselves. As a kid, I would mostly visit in summer, and the show wasn’t even happening. Even so, it had such a major presence and was constantly part of the conversation. I had always heard so much about it and was naturally quite curious. I finally had an opportunity to go when I was nineteen, and the experience really stuck with me.

I never forgot how cool it was to meet people from all over the world, and along with the gems, minerals, and jewelry, it was so awesome to see the incredibly intricate arts and specialty crafts from every corner of the planet. It was a wonderful backdrop to begin my journey into making jewelry! There was always such great energy present – maybe it’s all the all the crystals? Either way, it was endlessly inspiring. Not only did it give me an opportunity to see the most incredible materials out there, but it was so expansive that it gave me the sense that there are limitless possibilities for creative exploration. I had no idea when I went to my first show that it would eventually be an integral part of my life and my job. All these experiences have made me look very forward to visiting the Munich Gem Show for the first time. I love that I can move all the way around the world, and still feel right at home!

A Weekend in Munich

The show was three days long, from October 25 – October 27. Originally, I had planned to go to Munich with my husband for a mini vacation a few days before the show to see the city, then do all three days of the show itself. Unfortunately, I ended up having an important immigration appointment the day before which couldn’t be moved. Instead we headed there on Friday morning to Monday morning. When we arrived, we had one day to spend together and so we went exploring Nymphenburg Palace and the surrounding areas. It was a breathtaking and very romantic afternoon! I highly recommend checking it out if you ever get the chance.

Nymphenburg Palace from bridge. Munich, Germany.
Nymphenburg Palace from bridge. Munich, Germany.

On Saturday morning, I got up early and made it to the show a little before eleven. My first impression? The International Congress Center Munich is massive. I did a little reconnaissance beforehand to get a sense of how much time I might need and how I should walk the show, and without really knowing the scale it can be a challenge. Based on the my experience and the maps, I was confident that I could make the entire show on two days I had available. There were five conference halls with a mix of vendors and exhibits, and I made it to four. Not bad!

To give you an idea of how big those conference halls are, I walked over fifteen kilometers on Saturday alone. By Sunday I seemed to have my bearings and knew what I wanted, so I only clocked about two kilometers. I was wondering why my feet were so sore even with super comfy shoes, but I guess walking the better part of  20 kilometers (12 miles) in a day will do it.

Gems, Minerals, and Beads

The Munich Gem Show can be attended by both the public and those in the business. Most spots are open to everyone, but certain areas are for wholesale buyers only. There are the exhibitions that showcase particularly rare and unique mineral specimens, which are noteworthy sites for either crowd. I was especially keen on getting a look at the mineral exhibitions, and ended up overheating and crashing my new phone by taking so many pictures!

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I met so many fantastic new people, an came across some really unusual stones and materials that I have never seen before. This is really exciting for me because that doesn’t happen often! Some of the more exotic items include horn with abalone inlay, and nautilus shell. I’m also excited to do something I’ve never done before – start a line of upcycled jewelry designs! I haven’t seen this so much at shows in the States, but many vendors has already finished necklaces which featured particularly intriguing and high quality gemstones. I picked up a few necklaces featuring incredible tourmaline spikes, pale aquamarine crystals with rainbow inclusions, and stunning golden rutile quartz which I can’t wait to bring into the studio.

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While I still will be attending the Tucson show as I visit family and friends Stateside, I’m happy to start working on new collections featuring materials that are more locally sourced. These new items should be available for the upcoming holiday season, so stay tuned for updates!

Until then, swing by the shop and check out the new look! I’ve made some changes, and we’re still ironing out the kinks, but I’d love to know what you think!

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