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Editor's Desk

Jewellery World closes after 34 years

The announcement last week that industry magazine Jewellery World was merging with Jewellers Trade will probably raise a number of questions in the trade, especially given it’s now the second trade magazine to close in 18 months.

An email statement issued last Tuesday declared, “Two great industry magazines join to become one.” Upon seeing such a headline the judicious reader would quickly ask: if these two magazines are so “great” why did they need to merge?

As is the case in all attempts at PR spin, the real story is most often in the information omitted from the statement as opposed to the information appearing in the statement.

The email explained that “Jewellers Trade Magazine recently purchased Jewellery World and is proud to announce that the two magazines will become one from July … great opportunity for both magazines to consolidate and concentrate on what is important to our industry.”

Now, I would have thought the very purpose of a trade magazine in the first place would be to “concentrate on what is important to our industry”. I also assumed that’s what each magazine had been doing all these years; but the email seemed to suggest this would be a new approach to publishing.

That aside, the more important point is that the email statement failed to explain why Jewellery World, established in 1981, would no longer exist as a stand-alone magazine.

Readers can be left to make their own judgment as to why a “great” magazine with 34 years’ heritage had suddenly found itself being sold; however, another salient point not addressed in the announcement was that this would now be the third owner of Jewellery World, given it was acquired by Intermedia Group seven years ago.

Australian Goldsmith magazine closed in 2013
Australian Goldsmith magazine closed in 2013

In the March 2008 issue, John Abolins, the original founder of the magazine wrote, “After 27 years of publishing on my own I have partnered with one of Australia’s largest business press publishers, The Intermedia Group, to revitalise and re-energise Jewellery World.”

While it is not pleasing to hear about any business closing, even Blind Freddy can see that the Australian jewellery industry is not large enough to accommodate three industry trade magazines.

Worse, most people are probably unaware that for a short time the industry had four magazines – Australian Goldsmith was launched by an Adelaide jeweller in 2013. That meant our relatively small industry had just as many trade magazines as the UK, which has a far larger population of 64 million.

If you had never seen Australian Goldsmith – ‘the jewellers and watchmakers magazine’ – it’s probably because it only lasted four issues before closing. “I found the jewellers were not interested in my magazine. I was very sad,” the bench jeweller-cum-magazine publisher told me.

The media industry is one of the toughest there is, and like all industries worldwide, it is rapidly changing, more so than most. While the local industry cannot accommodate three (or four) magazines all targeting the same small, niche audience, over the years Jewellery World has not been without controversy, much of it self-imposed.

In 2006 the magazine created a storm when it published scathing criticism of the JAA and the Sydney trade fair – all of it anonymous – even though the actual fair had not taken place.

In another case, Jewellery World was forced to remove a story from its website in 2009 after serious claims of injurious falsehood.

Spectacular failures

The magazine twice attempted to launch competing events against the JAA jewellery fairs; both being spectacular failures. The first was in 2007 and the second – to run in August 2012 at Sydney’s Moore Park – was cheekily announced only one week after the JAA signed a new five-year agreement with its fair organiser, Expertise Events.

More interestingly, the proposed new ‘Jewellery World Show’ at Moore Park was scheduled to take place one week before the official JAA industry fair, resulting in most of the industry questioning why two jewellery fairs, one week apart, was sensible and/or commercially viable.

In an extensive promotion in Jewellery World at the time, Abolins explained why he believed Sydney needed a second industry trade fair one week before the JAA’s premier event: “The Jewellery World Show will provide the jewellery industry with a trade fair that offers a fair deal for exhibitors and retailers alike. In most cases, exhibition space will cost less than space at the JAA International Jewellery Fair.”

Having been announced in September 2011, the show was cancelled two months later. It was also discovered that the dates at the Moore Park venue were not under contract for any event, let alone a jewellery fair.

Embarrassingly, Jewellery World’s “Hot 100 Suppliers” report contained only 70 suppliers
Embarrassingly, Jewellery World’s “Hot 100 Suppliers” report contained only 70 suppliers

In more recent times, Jewellery World created a controversy for declaring Tuskc a winner in its ‘Hot 100 Suppliers’ ranking. Tuskc achieved not one but two awards for men’s jewellery and stainless jewellery in the best 100 list despite the company having ceased trading sometime before.

The matter became even more embarrassing for Jewellery World when it was discovered that the ‘Hot 100 Suppliers’ list contained only 70 companies!

There have been other controversies but back to the news about the merger; the statement issued by Jeremy Keight, the owner of Jewellers Trade, described “exciting times ahead” and mentioned Jewellery World’s extensive e-newsletter database.

Interestingly, at the time of publication, news of the Jewellery World closure as a stand-alone publication had not been announced to its readers via its website and nor had its merger with Jewellers Trade been reported on either of the magazine websites – two weeks after the deal.

One would expect in this digital age that reporting such news would be a high priority; especially given the email statement declared that the merged operation would “concentrate on what is important to our industry”.

In fact, the most recent story appearing on the Jewellers Trade website was posted on 30 April 2014 – more than 12 months ago; presumably, for the past year there has been nothing of importance to our industry!

Just as the Australian jewellery industry is undergoing major change, so too is the media industry. Many consumer and business magazines have closed as the internet continues to impact traditional media far greater than any other industry; to the extent that many people question the longevity of print.

My own feeling is that the true mark of any “great” magazine or newspaper is the words between the advertisements. Magazines will last as long as their readers respect and trust the editorial integrity as well as deem the content to be informative and educational.

If magazines and websites fail to focus on their readers, just as if jewellers fail to focus on their customers, more will close.

More reading
Say what? – Hits & Misses 2013
Jewellery World Show Cancelled?
Second try at new jewellery fair
New jewellery fair for Sydney?

Coleby Nicholson

Former Publisher • Jeweller Magazine

Coleby Nicholson launched Jeweller in 1996 and was also publisher and managing editor from 2006 to 2019. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than 20 years and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.

SAMS Group Australia

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