Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Lapidary Journal has turned another corner


#1

The September 2005 issue is so skinny that, for the first time in the
many years I’ve been subscribing and collecting issues, there is no
narrow spine on which “Lapidary Journal” and the month, volume and
number could be printed. The magazine is held together by three
staples in the middle of the issue. When I got it out of the mailbox,
I hefted it and thought, at first, that it was some sort of special
bonus supplement devoted to the 2005 Jewelry Arts Awards. But no, it
turned out to be the monthly issue. How much smaller can it get
before they’re ashamed to take our money? The editorship of the
promising Art Jewelry Magazine has turned over too. This is really
getting discouraging.

Mona


#2
 The editorship of the promising Art Jewelry Magazine has turned
over too. This is really getting discouraging. 

This is true, but not necessarily discouraging. It all depends on
who ends up replacing the departing editor (who is leaving for
reasons having nothing to do with editorial or company policy).

So-- if there is somebody out there who is a qualified editor and
interested in helping art jewelry (my part-time employer) move in a
positive direction, check http://www.kalmbach.com/ [Click Job
Opportunities] Or contact me for more

–Noel


#3

All media in America is having to deal with the competition from
cyberspace. The fact that the Lapidary Journal has issued a small
edition is hardly a basis for damning it. (Judging a book by its
cover…) The L.J. has been attacked by many special interests as
it has morphed to survive over the years. Personally, I credit it
for being responsive to changing times. I too have criticized it,
but not for what it is but, rather, for what it might have expressed
for opinion upon occaision. The 'Rockhound" fraternity has forsaken
it because it has not remained mired in the past as so many "rock"
clubs have. Let us give credit where credit is due. The issue is one
of asking ourselves whether the L.J. is serving the interests of its
readers. If it is, then size is of no real consequence. Bigger is
not necessarily better!

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co., Los Osos, Ca. P.S. If bigger proves to be
better, then I’m sure as hell going to have to go off my diet!


#4

Mona, I just restarted a subscription to LJ and have been very
disappointed with the 5 issues (May, June, July, August and September
all came together last week LOL) I received. The biggest issue was
the buyers guide and that is only a shadow of what they were years
past. I have an issue from 1996 that is a half-inch thick. I stopped
getting LJ about 5 years ago, I did not like the direction they were
going at that time, even less so now. The quality of the articles has
gone down hill, all fluff, no substance. This is going to be my last
subscription to LJ. I was going to write a post about this very
subject.

Tom


#5

It has a lot to do with the economics of the publishing industry,
overall. Even the thick, ad-choked men’s and women’s mags are much
thinner than before. As more and more consolidation has taken place
in the publishing industry, more and more pressure is on the editors
to squeeze more and more cost/ad revenue out of the magazines.

Talk to a librarian about the journals and magazine situation from
their end (they pay much more per issue) for a real eye opener. (my
wife’s a college librarian…)

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#6

Change is not always bad. And magazine publishers are big business,
like anyone else. They have their turnover rate, just like any big
business.

From the three comments I’ve read, regarding LJ, look on the bright
side…perhaps you’ll see some changes for the positive. Personally,
as a newbie still reading and researching, I’ve been happy overall.
There have been one or two disappointing issues, in my two years of
subscription, but more often than not I’m in awe of the artists
highlighted in the issues, as well as appreciative of the business
articles. No one else does those kinds of articles.

Besides, it also gives someone a chance to move up in their
profession. That’s a good thing as well.

Miachelle


#7

I too canceled my subscription about 4 years ago, due to the same
factors of poor content and most importantly, VERY POOR and
unprofessional customer service… Deliveries were NOT on time and
also the magazine was continually being damaged due to no covers on
the mailings…

When I tried to call them and write them as well on several
occasions, they could not have cared less about any of my
concerns…

They recently sent me a new e mail subscription and I was tempted to
go for it and try them again… However, I wrote to them first and
voiced my past concerns… They NEVER wrote me back or apologized or
defended themselves, nor stated that they had changed their negative
unprofessional ways…

What they have done, they have done to themselves… Sad really…

RnL


#8

I recently received a gift subscription to LJ having stopped my
subscription two years ago. I also received four (!) issues all at
one time in the mail. Plus, the subscription was purchased for me in
July and yet the issues run out in May. I called customer service
and they told me it was because they started it in June (June-May
being a year of issues). Needless to say, I’ve found the issues very
disappointing. I won’t tell my friend because it was a nice gift
gesture, but I won’t spend my own money on a subscription again.

Looks like it’s just Metalsmith for me!

Tammy Kirks
Red Bee Designs


#9
The editorship of the promising Art Jewelry Magazine has turned
over too. This is really getting discouraging. 

Dori, say it isn’t so! How did this come to pass?

I have enjoyed (and purchased) almost every issue of Art Jewelry. I
hope that its new editor will do as well.

Best wishes (and hopes),
Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com
Cincinnati, Ohio


#10

Mona, I hate to break it to you but the world of craft jewelry is in
crisis. Magazines devoted to the subject are merely a reflection of
the times. Have you talked to any professional craft jewelers
lately? Have you gone to a craft show? The bona fide jewelers there,
those who make everything themselves are really struggling.

I remember a time when LJ was actually read by professional jewelers.
There were articles about gemstones and about technique
that required skill, equipment and the commitment to use it; the
results of applying that could actually be sold in a
store. Alas, the market for such work today is shrinking and interest
low.

The two favorite subjects of magazines are beads and PMC. What’s the
point of learning how to make beaded jewelry when stores can buy the
stuff by the truckload from low labor markets? Even to most
innovative and beautiful work is coming under pressure because of
the shear volume and demand. I also fail to see the point of
including so much about PMC. The only people I know
making jewelry from PMC aren’t trying to sell the work to stores or
the general public. I doubt that there are even stores out there who
have staff that know what PMC is or how to sell it neither are stores
committed to educating their staff about new products for
that matter.


#11

I have started to say something several times and not, but now I
will. I like LJ and I like the art jewelry mag.s. Having said that I
also like a lot of art others don’t and I dislike a lot of "art"
others sell. My point is that just because I like or dislike
something doesn’t make that judgment valid. It just makes it my
experience. So I am sad that several of you have had bad experiences
with magazines that I enjoy.

Thank you, to all the people on this board that explain jewelry
techniques or make suggestions that I can use to make me a better
artist.


#12

LS Hancock, please don’t be so condescending. I realize that the
worlds of craft jewelry and publishing are in crisis, and yes, I do
talk to professional craft jewelers and gee whiz, I do go to crafts
shows – often. When I display in galleries, I barely cover my costs,
doing so only for the professional exposure, so I know how bad it is
out there. When I assist established jeweler friends in craft shows,
I see them making money, but I see how very, very hard they work for
it. This is not a society that is particularly kind to artists of any
kind.

However, if LJ’s response to the crisis is to cut the quality of its
product by 90% and fill what little space is left in the magazine
with yet more beading and PMC articles, then that’s just not an
adaptive response. They have all but completely ceased to serve the
non-hobbyist market. They have already thrown in the towel; I am
just bitterly disappointed that they’ve made that choice. I also
confess to nurturing a faint hope that maybe they read Orchid and
might come to their senses before it’s too late.

Mona


#13

Larry,

I have to disagree with you about the world of craft jewelry being
in crisis. I believe there is a demand for it. And anything else
made by a craftsman or artist.

Lots of Americans struggle these days, artist or not. My day job has
nothing to do with jewelry, and the company I work for has gone
through quite a struggle in the last few years. It’s just the way it
is right now, all around.

I just did a festival this weekend, and I have to say the
appreciation for interesting, hand crafted jewelry is alive and
well. Those truckloads of cheap imports are instigating the interest
to rise. People are tired of the same old thing. There will probably
always be a market for the cheap imports, but that doesn’t mean
there isn’t a market for art jewelry.

Of course, the Lapidary Journal I get today is a much smaller
magazine from when I first began reading 12 years ago. But, I don’t
have a clue about what it takes to run a successful magazine. I am
sure there are multiple reasons for it’s downsizing. Lack of interest
in art jewelry is not one of them.

Nancie
www.moonfishdesign.com


#14

Dear LS,

Yes, the jewelry craft world is in a crisis. Yes, those who do
really beautiful, really skilled work, and “make everything
themselves,” are struggling–that’s what I heard from many art
jewelers at the ACC/SF. That’s why I decided to back off from
trying to make a living at it myself. But I have posted before
about one (yes, there are more) of the reasons this is
happening–at the same time that the bead stores are proliferating
and doing very well indeed.

Lots of consumers of jewelry want to become producers of jewelry
(did you know that, from a certain unmentionable perspective, this
is a very good sign?). I started as a consumer. I followed the same
route as a whole lot of other Baby Boomers (and Gen Xers, and
whatever they call “kids” these days). I took a beaded earring
class. I took a stringing class. I took wirework. I took 10
different kinds of advanced wirework. I went to nearby art centers
and studied some fabrication. I studied PMC. I did a few shows (and
my jewelry was purchased primarily by artists so, look, ma, I’m an
artist!). Now I’m back at the bead stores, where thousands of us
are studying fabrication with butane torches.

Can you guess how many things at the ACC I looked at, and loved, and
couldn’t afford? Are you surprised to hear that I then tried to
figure out how they were made and whether I might be able to make
dumbed-down versions for myself? Do you have any idea how many women
at the show I overheard talking and knew were engaged in the same
effort? “Ooooh, cool! It’s not keum boo… maybe sweat soldering…?
Hmm…”

The two favorite subjects of magazines are beads and PMC. What's
the point of learning how to make beaded jewelry when stores can
buy  the stuff by the truckload from low labor markets?

The point is to have something you can wear that’s exactly what you
want, envisioned by your own mind’s eye, and made by your own two
hands.

I also fail to see the point of including so much about
PMC. The only people I know making jewelry from PMC aren't trying
to sell the work to stores or the general public.

Right, they aren’t selling it, they’re wearing it–and giving it to
their friends as birthday presents. And they have an absolutely
insatiable desire for more articles, because lots of them feel
insecure. I find most of the magazines less than compelling now,
too, but that’s only because I have more hubris than a lot of my
cohorts. Or because I had my 15 minutes of professionalism, so now
I’m an artist, with a self-image to protect.

I know that LJ used to include more articles that were of interest
to professionals. But am I wrong in believing that it was begun as
a magazine for amateurs, i.e. rockhounds? Maybe it’s merely
returning to its roots. Beaders and PMCers are the rockhounds of
the new millennium.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
who will have to sell something soon, in order to justify having a dba


#15

I understand that there is a concerned reaction to the newest issue
of Lapidary Journal, and our decision to go to a saddle-stitch
(stapled) format from our traditional perfect bound format. I thank
all those who have commented, both positively and negatively. I won’t
try to say that a reaction to the change was unforeseen – it was not
the first choice of any of us at LJ to forego the spine. However, it
was a decision that I recognize as necessary.

As you are all no doubt aware, all magazines, LJ included, compete
for advertising dollars in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Recent years have seen the addition of new forums, with Web sites,
broadcast, and cable media all making claims on available advertising
dollars. At the same time, the financial costs of producing a print
magazine have increased substantially, with increased delivery costs
(tied always to rising gas prices) and a precipitous increase in
paper costs contributing to the ongoing challenges publishers face.

It is our particular challenge in these circumstances to produce a
magazine that addresses a wide variety of readers, that maintains its
integrity and its usefulness. While the loss of the spine was
unfortunate, it was deemed a reasonable compromise, as the reduced
production costs had an immediate payoff, in allowing us not to
reduce our page count; although the September issue may feel smaller
because of the binding, it actually has more pages than the previous
month. I’m as fond of the spine as anyone – it helps in archiving,
and it lends a sense of elegance – but given the choice, I’ll take a
change in binding over losing a feature, or a project.

We continue to try very hard to bring readers as many features,
departments, and projects, with as much beautiful full-color
photography as we can afford to do, and we make every effort to
create a balance of subject matter that will interest as many readers
as we possibly can.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about Lapidary Journal, or
would like to offer feedback – whether positive or negative – can
contact me via e-mail. I can’t address specific circulation concerns,
but I’m open to discussion regarding content, and hearing from
readers is always helpful to us.

Thank you,
Hazel Wheaton
Managing Editor
Lapidary Journal


#16
    I also confess to nurturing a faint hope that maybe they read
Orchid and might come to their senses before it's too late. 

Hi Mona,

They do read Orchid, but rarely post. Shortly after Merle White got
her gig with the magazine, she posted a request here, requesting
suggestions for improving it. Of course, I wrote her immediately,
requesting they lose most of the beading and PMC articles, while
increasing the amount of actual LAPIDARY articles in "Lapidary"
Journal.

Her response to me was that many of their advertisers are beading
companies, and they have to pay the bills. I’m sure they all want
paychecks, too. Her complete apathy to the world of lapidary (in a
lapidary magazine) is the main reason I allowed my subscription to
lapse. Besides, I learn far more about lapidary and SO many other
things right here on Orchid that I’d never bother with LJ again.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFl


#17
I have to disagree with you about the world of craft jewelry being
in crisis. I believe there is a demand for it. And anything else
made by a craftsman or artist.

nancie- but most sincerely how do you deal with discount store
thinking? my shop name says custom jewelry when you walk in you
see a shop full of tools and equipment im wearing an apron i look
working man tired and 8 out of ten people still ask the question as
they are walking out the door so, do you make jewelry? any more i
just smile and go on and hope ive presented my self as the best
choice in a world full of stamped out product w/ no life in it. i
try to stay competitive with the other stores i see everyone
struggling but peopl always are looking for value i hope - regards
goo


#18
Anyone who has questions or concerns about Lapidary Journal, or
would like to offer feedback -- whether positive or negative -- can
contact me via e-mail. I can't address specific circulation concerns,
but I'm open to discussion regarding content, and hearing from
readers is always helpful to us.

Hazel, Merle made this exact offer to this forum a while back, and I
was suckered into contacting her. Her attitude was anything but
"open to discussion regarding content" due to the fact that she
wants to get paid, and I’m sure you do as well. However, if
"Lapidary" Journal ever does decide to lose the beading and PMC
content in favor of actual lapidary articles, you may feel free to
contact me via e-mail. I may renew my subscription and tell my other
friends that LJ has come home.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFl


#19

Dear Lisa,

It is pretty much a given that all human endeavours are somewhat
cyclical. This is certainly true of jewelry which seems always
looking for new directions. I formerly made items using silver and
semi precious When the market became flooded with very
cheap, albeit nicely made jewelry , I yielded to practicality and
stocked the imported stuff. It wasn’t long before the cheap stuff
flooded the market and was being sold by beauty shops, gas stations
and anyone with a few dollars to spare. It was Indian Jewelry all
over again! (Anyone here remember the seventies ?) In my opinion the
market is once again at that juncture. The cheap stuff has not kept
pace with the market…it is hackneyed and the stones are the
same old mass produced cabochons which have spewed out of the
Chinese cutting shops for decades. All the while, people would still
be buying low end silver were it not for the fact that it is so
uninspired and unimaginative. In my opinion the time is ripe for
those of us who work with silver to pull the market out of the
doldrums with work that is affordable yet innovative. We should also
attempt to inject variation through the introduction of gems that
are readily available through domestic sources, but that are not
feasible for the factories to utilize. (They have to have some
degree of uniformity so that their product can be used in quantities
that have a high degree of constancy…read catalogue
illustrations. Remember the old adage…timing is everything ! Now
is the time! Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#20

Hello Hazel Wheaton, editor of LJ,

I don’t mind the stitched/stapled binding. It makes it much easier
to pull out the pages I want to keep. Now if you could arrange to
3-hole-punch it…

Thanks for your explanation of changes to the format, materials,
etc. Cost-cutting on those minor things is a fact of life, and I
think we’re all being more aware of how those pennies could be
saved.

Hang in there,
Judy in Kansas