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For four days of March, the amber world revolved, as it does each year, around Amberif Gdańsk. But this edition was unique in every respect because the Fair celebrated its 25th anniversary, together with 470 exhibitors from 15 countries and buyers from various parts of the world.

Amberif’s Résumé
The first Amberif was held in the autumn of 1994, with 49 exhibitors. Several dozen buyers came from abroad, along with a large group of amber collectors. And it was a bullseye!
Each year, Amberif grew in strength, won friends and consolidated the industry. It also became a stage for momentous events. It is here that, on its Millennium, the City of Gdańsk received a unique gift: the Amber Fabergé Egg. It is here that the world heard for the first time about Gierłowska’s lizard trapped in Baltic amber. It is here that the famous amber monstrance was presented for the first time, to become the starting point for the world’s largest amber altar at St Bridget’s Basilica, Gdańsk.
The Silver Edition is a perfect opportunity for a résumé: “Over those 25 years, we succeeded in creating a unique event, each year attended by enthusiasts of amber and jewellery from all over the world. Amberif has its core in business, of course, but the programme of side events is no less important, with scientific seminars, design competitions, exhibition previews, exhibitions of contemporary jewellery art and fashion shows,” summed up Ewa Rachoń, Amberif’s Director since its first edition.

Silver Celebration
This time, the 25th anniversary celebration was the focal point of the events. The Silver Edition was joyful and festive. People who are especially committed to promoting Gdańsk as the World Capital of Amber were honoured with Mayor of Gdańsk Medals and Amber Cranes statuettes. The award winners included the amber team of the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co., led by Ewa Rachoń.
Exhibitors were also thankful for the 25 years together: “Since the beginning, the organisers of Amberif have seen and understood the industry’s needs and, by meeting these needs, have helped manufacturers grow. The S&A Company, which was also established 25 years ago, consolidated its brand in the global market, to a large extend thanks to the participation in the Gdańsk Fair,” emphasised Adam Pstrągowski, CEO of S&A.
For Artur Miklewski, whose family business Jantar Studio has been active for 30 years, Amberif is the best form of advertising: “The Fair has allowed me to establish many commercial contacts all over the world.”
The anniversary was celebrated not only at the Fair. The Gdańsk Amber Museum organised the 25 Years of Amberif exhibition, featuring all the award-winning pieces in the Mercurius Gedanensis Jewellery Competition which accompanies the Fair (over 40 exhibits). The exhibition is open until 2 September. The International Amber Association, in turn, produced a retrospective exhibition of the Amberif Design Award—The Amber Prize.

Fame for the Best
At Amberif, you can not only gain valuable commercial contacts but also fame by participating in the competitions which accompany the event. The winners of the prestigious Amberif Design Award Jewellery Design Competition are selected by an international judging panel right before the Fair. This year, the Main Prize went to Silvia Bella of Germany, the Amber Prize to Kairi Sirendi of Estonia and the Silver Prize to Miron Kutarba of Poland.
In the Bogdan Mirowski Mercurius Gedanensis Award, the Grand Prix in the Design Category was awarded to Marcin Tymiński (for his polymer necklace decorated with amber) and the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co. Gold Medal in the Workmanship Excellence Category went to the S&A company (for a bracelet decorated with mammoth ivory, amber and diamonds, by Cyprian Chorociej).
Prof. Jacek Szwedo was honoured with the prestigious Amber Personality of the Year statuette, awarded since 1999 by the International Amber Association, in recognition of his merits in the area of scientific research and amber knowledge popularisation. Prof. Szwedo heads the Laboratory of Evolutionary Entomology and the Museum of Amber Inclusions at the University of Gdańsk, and researches present-day and fossil insects.
The Amber Sphere, an award from the students of the Łódź Academy of Fine Arts Jewellery Department for the best jewellery design at Amberif, went to Iza Krauza-Kur (for her entire collection in which she combines, skilfully and with great intuition, coloured gemstones with Baltic amber). The Amber Handicraft Nationwide Competition for Goldsmiths and Jewellers was won by: Adam Sznapka in the Functional Object category and by Agnieszka Mroczkowska in the Jewellery category.

Science for Business
Amberif’s international scientific symposium Amber. Science and Art was attended by over 120 researchers from 15 countries. They included such luminaries of the world of science as Prof. Joseph B. Lambert of Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. The four sessions presented the current state-of-play in academic research. “It was a unique, multidisciplinary symposium at which many subjects and issues were discussed and, during those discussions, new questions and topics emerged, important for further research. They will presumably be the subject of future meetings of researchers,” summed up Prof. Jacek Szwedo. The professor also emphasised the enormous practical significance of such meetings: “Our research is not just about finding out various aspects associated with amber but also makes it possible to identify fakes and create effective tools to eliminate unfair practices.”

Spectacular Amber and Fashion Gala
Spectacular! Fantastic! Inspiring! —there was no end to admiration for this year’s Amber Look trends & styles Silver Gala. Nine incredible design teams staged a veritable feast for the senses, starting with an evening gown show and concluding with a presentation of wedding gowns. What happened in between? Shows inspired by film art, the football jerseys of the Lechia Gdańsk club (on the 35th anniversary of the club’s winning the Polish Cup), the street art of Łódź, Poland and the struggle for women’s rights. The silver catwalk featured outfits which emphasised femininity, sensuality, elegance and luxury, but also ones with a modern, sometimes slightly predatory look. The jewellery designers produced magnificent creations to present a modern outlook on amber by combining it with traditional precious materials: gold, silver, precious stones, or by experimenting with wood or polymers.

Today is about Quality and Design
Amberif was visited by over 6,000 trade visitors from 54 countries, mostly from Russia, Germany, the UK, Denmark and Estonia. “We are pleased, the first two days were remarkably successful in terms of commerce. Our stand was visited by many new customers, for example from Lithuania, Hungary and the Netherlands. We also noticed that customers pay closer attention to product quality than before,” said Konrad Stachurski of the Argentum Company, specialising in silver jewellery. The growing requirements of product quality and design were also emphasised by the amber sector exhibitors: “Today buyers make more thought-over purchases, in order to satisfy the taste of retail customers,” said Marcin Wesołowski of NAC Amber.

The next amber meeting will be in a year’s time: the 26th Amberif International Fair of Amber, Jewellery and Gemstones will begin its second 25 years. Let us hope it will be at least as good as the previous one!

AMBERIF 2019 / 20-23 March, Gdańsk, AMBEREXPO
organised by: MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co.
Project Director: Ewa Rachoń / / t. +48 58 55 49 134