Marvellous Munich: Celebrating 50 Years of Top Trade Show Inhorgenta


There are some international jewellery and gem fairs that I return to year after year, and Inhorgenta in Munich, Germany, is one of them! It is a perfect opportunity to catch up with esteemed gemstone dealers and cutters, including those who’ve journeyed from Idar-Oberstein, to showcase their latest spectacular layouts. This year, Inhorgenta celebrated its 50th anniversary by reminiscing about years gone by and hosting an amplified version of its annual Inhorgenta Awards, for which I returned as a judge. I wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight the show in its milestone year by speaking to Exhibition Director Stefanie Mändlein about what makes Inhorgenta unique…

In my eyes, February is when Munich is transformed into a marketplace for the buying and selling of precious stones. Back in 2020, I published an article about the precious pieces I had encountered that year at Inhorgenta, and my relationship with the trade show has only increased since then. More recently, I have had the pleasure of judging the Inhorgenta Awards again, which is always an insightful experience. Back in 2023, I took you behind the scenes of the process, which turned out to be one of my milestone moments of the entire year. Earlier this year, I took a deep dive into one of the winners in the 2024 Awards – Autore – that wowed with its Enchantress necklace in the High Jewellery category. It’s safe to say there is always something new to discover. 





The woman behind this annual meeting of minds is Stefanie Mändlein, Inhorgenta’s Event Director, who always manages to pull off a fantastic event along with her team. The stakes were high in 2024 as this was the 50th anniversary of the event, and so it had to be a little bit special and unexpected. I tried to show you some of the best bits on Instagram, but that video can’t beat being there and experiencing the atmosphere for yourself. It’s such a celebration of successful brands, growing businesses and, of course, beautiful gems and jewellery, so I was in my element!


Stefanie is a very busy woman (she’s already organising Inhorgenta 2025), but the spring season seemed like the perfect time to ask her some questions about this 50-year milestone. What sets Inhorgenta apart, and how has it changed since the 1970s? Let’s find out…



An archival photograph from the very first Inhorgenta exhibition in 1974


Katerina Perez: If you had to pick a highlight from this year’s 50th anniversary edition, what would you choose? 


Stefanie Mändlein: To highlight a single feature wouldn’t be fair, as there were so many highlights this year! However, very special elements were, for example, the 50-year anniversary dinner at the iconic restaurant Tantris, which is decorated in the specific and vibrant ‘Munich 70s’ style, evocative of when Inhorgenta was born. Also, the internationally recognised Inhorgenta Awards Gala in the most spectacular setting was a highlight this year. 





However, there were also great activities during Inhorgenta itself, including a crowded media conference and busy press tours to the various Trendfactory events we hosted. The overall highlight of the 50th edition of Inhorgenta was, for sure, the general outcome: 25,000 visitors from 90 countries! This was a good 5% more guests than in previous years, who were able to see more than 870 exhibitors from 37 countries. That meant we had grown by 9% compared to the 2023 edition. I like to think that this growth proves Inhorgenta is more alive and internationally relevant than ever before, so this is my highlight of the year so far! 




Celebrating 50 years with Messe München CEO Stefan Rummel and Inhorgenta exhibition director Stefanie Mändlein


KP: How has Inhorgenta evolved as a trade show since it was established? 


SM: Inhorgenta has evolved significantly since its inception, growing into Europe's leading business platform for jewellery, watches, and gemstones. The show's development reflects the changes in the industry, including shifts in consumer preferences, advancements in technology, and the globalisation of markets. When Inhorgenta started in 1974, it was a relatively modest event. Initially, it attracted a few hundred visitors with exhibitors, focusing primarily on the German and Austrian markets. Over the decades, Inhorgenta has expanded significantly in both scope and scale. It has come to encompass a wider range of products, incorporating the latest trends and innovations in jewellery, watches, precious stones, pearls, silverware, and related technologies. It has also embraced sustainability and ethical practices, reflecting the industry's increasing focus on these issues.





KP: What would you say then is the secret to Inhorgenta’s success and maintaining this growth over so many years?

 

SM: One of the key factors in our growth has been our ability to adapt to the changing needs of the industry. This includes the incorporation of digital technology, both in the products showcased and in the event's operations. Digital platforms, social media, and online marketing have become integral components, enhancing our reach and impact. Inhorgenta has also started to focus more on offering comprehensive insights into market trends, design innovations, and future industry directions through a series of conferences, workshops, and panel discussions. This educational aspect has become as important as the exhibition itself, providing attendees with valuable knowledge and networking opportunities.



Inhorgenta launched its Wedding World in 2024, complete with a curated exhibition titled ‘Beyond Cinderella’ as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations


KP: I have my own thoughts, but what, in your opinion, makes Inhorgenta stand out in the very crowded event space? As someone who travels to countless fairs annually, I understand how hard that can be! 


SM: Inhorgenta has indeed established itself as a major player in the international industry. I think there are several factors that contribute to its success and longevity. Firstly, it is known for showcasing the latest trends and innovations in the industry, which inspires both exhibitors and visitors. Secondly, it provides a platform for both established brands and emerging designers to present their new collections, technological advancements and design concepts. This focus on innovation is what keeps the show fresh and exciting year after year. 






Next, I would add that Inhorgenta facilitates networking opportunities among industry professionals, including retailers, designers, suppliers, and manufacturers. It's not just about the transactions that occur during Inhorgenta, it's also about building lasting relationships that contribute to the growth and sustainability of businesses in the luxury goods market. Finally, Inhorgenta has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to shifting market conditions, and this willingness to change has kept it relevant. 



Katerina Perez visits Inhorgenta annually to discover the latest trends and fine jewels from a range of exhibitors


KP: What are your plans for the 2025 edition? Are you already in the planning stages?

 

SM: Absolutely, we are already preparing for 2025! Our focus will be on furthering our international growth, with India as a guest country for next year. More news will follow soon, but I am excited about our Inhorgenta Trendfactory events. Stay tuned for further updates, Katerina, we are excited to tell you about them. 





Will you be attending Inhorgenta 2025? I will certainly be involved in judging the Inhorgenta Awards and will strive to meet as many of my favourite gemstone dealers and jewellers as possible from February 21-24. Here’s to another 50 years of German jewellery excellence, celebrated by visitors from around the world.  


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