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Confusion over jewellery magazine closures

News that two Australian jewellery trade magazines have merged is raising several questions not only in regards to the state of the industry but also which title will actually cease publication. COLEBY NICHOLSON addresses the confusion.  

I’m not sure about you but I can get a little confused these days with so much information flying around. It’s a fast paced world, isn’t it?

What adds to this confusion even more is when readers contact me saying they too are confused, and then ask that I help clarify their confusion. If both of us remain confused I usually refer them to the famous Abbott & Costello film skit, ”Who’s on first?”

I raise this now because a recent announcement has resulted in much confusion. The issue transpired following a 19 May report that industry magazine Jewellery World would close as a stand-alone publication, after its competitor, Jewellers Trade, acquired the business after it was offered for sale.

Imagine my surprise when I started receiving phone calls saying I was wrong and that Jewellers Trade had purchased its competitor Jewellery World and Jewellers Trade was, in fact, closing itself!

Are you confused? I mean closing yourself seems a little unusual … so I retraced my steps and how the facts presented in the original story came to light.

To be clear, an email announcement sent to industry suppliers proudly declared, “Sydney, May 11, 2015 - Jewellers Trade magazine recently purchased Jewellery World and is proud to announce that the two magazines will become one from July 2015 … For the rest of 2015 the magazine will be released under the masthead ‘Jewellers Trade incorporating Jewellery World’ and will continue to be a monthly magazine.”

That’s pretty straightforward and clear. My initial article also pointed to a number of reasons - some self-inflicted - why, after 34 years of publication, Jewellery World found itself being handed to its third owner in six years and was being closed as a stand-alone publication!

Background reading: Jewellery World Hot 100 Suppliers list only 70!

HOWEVER, it would seem that a few weeks is a very long time in the Australian jewellery industry because, just one month later, a second announcement declared the exact opposite of the first announcement: “Sydney, June 11, 2015 - As I am sure your [sic] are aware Jewellers Trade will no longer be published but will become one with Jewellery World and be published as Jewellery World but now on a monthly basis.”

I am not sure how anyone could be aware that Jewellers Trade had closed given that the previous industry announcement exactly four weeks earlier declared that Jewellers Trade “will continue to be a monthly magazine”.

Who’s on first?

No wonder there is so much confusion with two contradictory announcements. 

The first email was titled “Two great industry magazines join to become one” and, at the time, my original story observed, “Upon seeing such a headline the judicious reader would quickly ask: if these two magazines are so ‘great’ why did they need to merge?”

The same 11 May announcement also declared, “This is a great opportunity for both magazines to consolidate and concentrate on what is important to our industry by bringing the latest news on a monthly basis.” Fine, but the ‘important industry news’ of Jewellery World being sold and merging with its rival had not been reported on its own website, two weeks after the deal. (It still hasn’t.)

Mind you, at the time it acquired its competitor, the Jewellers Trade website didn’t report this important news either. Even though industry announcements were being issued to the trade, neither magazine had reported anything about the merger!

Worse, a week or so after my article, the Jewellers Trade website was suddenly removed from the web! Yes, gone – so much for “bringing the latest news” to the industry.

It’s probably just as well that the Jewellery World website didn’t report its own ‘death’ because it would have been wrong (about itself) given that it now appears that Jewellers Trade has ‘passed away’, not Jewellery World.

What’s more, even after all this confusion, the last news item posted on Jewellery World’s website was 15 April – that’s more than 10 weeks without any industry news whatsoever.

Could there be any more confusion?

Well, try this one … John Abolins established Jewellery World in 1981, then sold 50 per cent of the magazine in 2008 to the much larger business publisher, Intermedia Group, which then wanted 'out' a few months ago; so Jewellery World was sold again – this time 100 per cent to its competitor, Jewellers Trade  – and it seems that Abolins will now stay with Jewellery World after helping close Jewellers Trade, the rival magazine that purchased his magazine!

WOW … who said the Australian jewellery industry was boring? Not me. Totally confusing sometimes, but never boring.

Readers can draw their own conclusions about this muddle, and if still confused, then I suggest referring to Abbott & Costello for guidance … things can only become clearer.


More reading:
Jewellery World closes after 34 years
Say what? – Jewellery World Hot 100 Suppliers list only 70
Jewellery World Show Cancelled?
Second try at new jewellery fair
New jewellery fair for Sydney?
Jewellery World removes fair report from website

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.

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