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Editor's Desk

Jewellery magazine closure causes more confusion

Recent shake-ups between two Australian jewellery industry publications continue to cause confusion, this time in New Zealand. COLEBY NICHOLSON reports on the latest slew of uncertainty.

While the announcement that industry magazine Jewellers Trade had purchased competitor publication Jewellery World raised a number of questions in Australia, it appears the impact of the decision has also been felt across the ditch.

The Jewellers Association of New Zealand (JANZ) has found itself caught up in the mess about which trade magazine would continue to be published and which one would close.

JANZ was unaware that its official member magazine, Jewellers Trade, had closed, and the matter caused more embarrassment because it came at a time when the Kiwis are, once again, debating the pros and cons of a unified industry under one peak jewellery industry body.

Greg Winegar, JANZ chairperson
Greg Winegar, JANZ chairperson

The most recent debate about industry unification – of which there have been many – was raised late last year by JANZ chairperson Greg Winegar in the JANZ-endorsed Jewellers Trade.

Winegar has a monthly column in the magazine, and his article, Debunking the myths of the New Zealand jewellery groups, stated: “At last count there are no less than 10 legitimate jewellery groups in New Zealand. Ten is not a large number on its own but when you apply it to a country of only 4.5 million people you begin to realise that all the people involved in the NZ jewellery industry would fit into a moderately sized hotel conference room.”

Winegar was championing the cause for the two major groups, JANZ and the smaller association Jewellers & Watchmakers New Zealand (JWNZ), to unite under one “umbrella group that can act as a true singular voice for the entire industry”. (Longtime readers of Jeweller might have a sense of déjà vu.)

As a result of that story and earlier articles last year, widespread discussion erupted about which industry magazine would best serve New Zealand jewellers should an industry amalgamation eventuate under a peak body.

The JWNZ stable was concerned that its official magazine, Jewellery Time, would be “sacrificed with Australia’s Jewellers Trade magazine”.

The JANZ website lists Jewellers Trade as a member benefit but given the magazine has closed – a fact that Winegar was surprised to discover – the debate over Jewellery Time vs Jewellers Trade is redundant.

However, the misunderstandings did not stop there. Not only was Wingear unaware that the magazine had closed but Steven Haywood, a JANZ executive, was surprised to find that the article he wrote for the JANZ monthly column in Jewellers Trade suddenly appeared without notice in Jewellery World.

Haywood was also bewildered because Jewellery World had listed him as JANZ chairperson, which he is not.

Why all the confusion?

The original confusion began on 11 May 2015 with an industry announcement stating that, “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.”

The news meant that, 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.

However, only one month later there was a complete about-face; Jewellery World was not disappearing, Jewellers Trade was, in fact, closing. A second industry announcement on 11 June declared the exact opposite of the first announcement: “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.”

At the time of that announcement I observed, “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’.”

Background reading: Jewellery World closes after 34 years

Given the publication’s own management was confused about which of the two magazines would close and which would continue publication, Winegar and JANZ could easily be excused for not being aware that their official magazine had ceased to exist.

What remains in question, though, is how Jewellery World came to publish the official JANZ article when it has no association with JANZ and has not been endorsed as JANZ’s official magazine in any way.

JANZ is now reviewing its corporate governance because not only did the JANZ monthly column appear in a rival magazine, there is also a question as to whether the JANZ member mailing list was used without authority given Winegar and Haywood were unaware of any discussion at a JANZ executive level. 

Winegar is taking the matter seriously, telling Jeweller, “The executive committee at JANZ will be addressing these issues at our next meeting.”

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The JANZ relationship with Jewellers Trade began on shaky grounds in 2011 and created confusion and furore at the time. It also resulted in the then JANZ chairman, Mark Beckett, resigning over continuing disillusionment with the group’s corporate governance.

JANZ functions as a specialist trade section within Retail New Zealand (formerly known as New Zealand Retailers Association – NZRA), the largest retail organisation in the country.

Brenda Chalmers, JANZ trade group executive
Brenda Chalmers, JANZ trade group executive

In September 2011 Beckett discovered that NZRA employee Brenda Chalmers had thrown the organisation’s support behind Jewellers Trade without prior consultation with jewellers, and despite the existence of its quarterly publication, Jewellery Post.

Chalmers wrote to all JANZ members saying, “On a recent visit to Sydney I met with the Editor of the Jewellers Trade magazine which is available as a free subscription in Australia and has no affiliations to any buying group, trade association or lobby group providing news without fear or favour.”

In a very unusual turn of events, it was discovered that Chalmers was never in Sydney to meet with the magazine – a fact that was later confirmed by a NZRA official – and Beckett queried why an industry association would knowingly allow a fabricated email to be circulated to its members.

When he asked NZRA to clarify why an employee would produce such an email, Beckett said no explanation was forthcoming. He subsequently resigned as chairperson saying, “In effect, you have non-jewellers making decisions that benefit themselves rather than the jewellery industry.”

Despite the past and present confusion, this saga has at least resolved the issue about the JWNZ-owned Jewellery Time being “sacrificed” to Australian magazine Jewellers Trade. The publication has closed so one would assume it poses no threat.

It should be noted, however, that, at the time of publication, Jewellers Trade was still listed as a member benefit on the JANZ website six weeks after the announced closure.

More reading
Confusion over jewellery magazine closures
Jewellery World closes after 34 years
JANZ chairman resigns over industry discontent
New furore in Kiwi jewellery industry

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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