It seems strange to be packing my bags and writing a shopping list of gems after a 26 month interval. I felt a mixture of anticipation and travel nerves as I headed out to the airport, unaccustomed to travel due to the pandemic.
Spring scene in Munich
It was a relief to arrive in Munich, and to navigate the Ubahn train system, remembering all the stations like a homing pigeon on my way to my friends Puppi and Ludwig. Each year they kindly have me to stay for the duration of the fair. This is very special for me, it is like coming home, as they have become dear friends. After a very busy day at the fair I no longer have to return to a hotel or bed and breakfast like I used to in the old days. Rather I am spoilt with Ludwig’s cooking and the warmth of their friendship, something I think we all appreciate since the pandemic.
It was wonderful to be back in Munich
I had decided this year instead of getting up at dawn on Friday morning I would arrive the night before so that I had a clear head for picking out stones. I arrived at the fair just after it opened. It felt different this year. It did not have its usual buzz and throng of people. I thought maybe it was just my own feeling, but this impression was shared by both exhibitors and visitors.
A selection of Paraiba tourmalines, in a variety of rare and unusual colours
I was in my own ‘stone bubble’ with my head down and spent the next six hours methodically going through the stones I wanted to see. I continued the following day for another six hours. It is a very intense process, as you are taking decisions on each stone on the spot, some of which are big, expensive stones. I must always know what I am going to do with a stone. Sometimes, however, as in the case with Paraiba tourmalines, I might buy extra as I know that the mine is running out and I do not know when I am going to find that specific size or cut again.
A selection of Paraiba tourmaline stones
Beautiful and vividly coloured emeralds
There is always a surprise that pops up, for example an enticing Paraiba in an irresistible colour of luminous vivid green, or a beautiful cushion shaped emerald that could have me gazing into it for hours.
Bright green Paraiba tourmalines
Imagining a possible earring layout
I return richer in colour and poorer in pennies!
The difference this year is that since Brexit I can no longer bring my beautiful gemstones back with me in person, they have to be sent on separately, so I will await their arrival like another surprise!