Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

The incredibly shrinking Lapidary Journal


#1

When I received the Feb. 2006 of the Lapidary journal, I thought:
“It just can’t get any worse than this!”

I was wrong!! The March 2006 issue is thinner and worse. If the
incredibly shrinking Lapidary Journal keeps getting any thinner, it
will no longer be a magazine but a colorful craft’s newsletter.

Whatever happened to the great Lapidary of yester years? Ahh, could
it be that when the publishers of The Lapidary Journal starting
publishing that “other” jewelry Magazine, they decided to take the
articles of one good magazine and divided in half to produce two
magazines and double revenues?

Big mistake! I am one subscriber that will not renew her subscription
until the Lapidary Journal returns to be at least as good as what it
used to be before 2005 not just another mediocre craft magazine.

The Lapidary Journal carries a lot of advertisement for beads and
PMC. Apparently the publishers of the Lapidary Journal feel that the
articles in the magazine must cater to that sector of the industry.
It has apparently never occurred to them that the advertiser were
advertising with the magazine way before the magazine became a bit
more than a newsletter.

Julia


#2
could it be that when the publishers of The Lapidary Journal
starting publishing that "other" jewelry Magazine, they decided to
take the articles of one good magazine and divided in half to
produce two magazines and double revenues? 

If by "that ‘other’ jewelry magazine, you mean Art Jewelry, it isn’t
published by Lapidary Journal. It is from Kalmbach, a completely
different business.

Noel


#3

Dear Julia,

I really have a hard time understanding your very negative remarks
regarding the Lapidary Journal. The only really tangible criticism
you have made is that it is not big enough for you ! Big certainly
is not better. Their articles continue to be timely and interesting
and diverse and the illustrations and graphics are excellent. Please
reconsider your remarks and tell us WHY you don’t like the magazine
! Ranting and railing serve no purpose other than being negative
without specific reasons.

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#4

Julia,

While I join you in being dismayed at the changes in Lapidary
Journal over recent years, the editor is very open to receiving well
written and photographed articles. They depend on the input of
friends of lapidary. So maybe you and I should contribute something.

The fact is that I see fewer and fewer young people taking an
interest in lapidary. Stone cannot be cabbed or faceted in the blink
of an eye. And I fear that most younger people today lack the
patience required, hence the interest drops.

Also, the cost of good tools and machinery is a bar to easy entry,
that’s for certain. Let’s face it, there are lots of cheap beads
available, and string is not costly. For the price of dinner, one
can enter that hobby to see if there is lasting interest. If you’d
like to learn to facet, well, it’s not super cheap and requires the
some knowledge of how to select proper rough and lots of other
things as well.

Easier too tie knots in string.

Wayne, not wishing to demean some of the awesome beadwork I see out
there


#5

Wayne,

The fact is that I see fewer and fewer young people taking an
interest in lapidary. Stone cannot be cabbed or faceted in the
blink of an eye. And I fear that most younger people today lack the
patience required, hence the interest drops. 

Welllll, not sure about that. In addition to fabrication and
casting, I include cabbing in my classes at Boca Raton Museum Art
School. I can only teach 5 students at a time due to equipment
limitations but classes are full every term and we turn people away!
That means at least 40 students learn cabbing each year (5 full terms
plus 3 summer terms). I also give periodic two day introducturary
workshops.

I venture to say 50 percent of my students are under age of 25. A
number of them as low as 15. The youngest one also has continued
taking fabrication and recently took an apprenticeship. Two other
students are now cabbing and selling on the market full time. Many of
my students are beaders who want to take their skill up a notch or
two…cut and set their own stones and incorporate them into their
beads.

I am also a member of the Gold Coast Gem and Mineral Society in Ft
Lauderdale, FL. When we had a shop (lost it when our affiliate
musuem closed last year) I taught both cabbing and faceting there
where in 4 years I had over 100 cabbing and more than 50 faceting
students. Twenty three of the cabbers and 6 of the faceters were
under 18. Most of them are still cutting.

Its true that there are fewer ‘hobbyist’ cutters than there were in
say the 50 or 60’s but there are many reasons for this. The cost of
equipment for one, the unavailability of low cost rough for another.
But mostly, I see the availability of very cheap machine cut stones
as killing the interest. When one can buy a cab for $1.50 why fuss
around cutting one? Well, the answer as you and I know is that these
stones have no life, are uninteresting and one looks like another.
Whereas a hand cut stone takes advantage of the stones life - its
colors and designs.

In the end, I hold out a lot of hope for the future of stone
cutting. New equipment and techniques that allow awesome cuts will
always encourage cutters, beaders, setters, fabricators, etc to try
new things and push the envelope. Anyway, lets hope so.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#6
Stone cannot be cabbed or faceted in the blink of an eye. And I
fear that most younger people today lack the patience required,
hence the interest drops. 

I am not a young person (any more), but I am the mother of four of
them and acquainted with many others, and I feel compelled to jump
in here. I don’t think out young folks are any less patient, or
lazier, or what-have-you than any other generation. They are under
enormous pressure, in a world where sex can be lethal, real income
is dropping, jobs hard to get and tougher to keep, money goes to
wars but education funds are cut, etc. If they don’t feel they have
time for expensive, sedentary, time-consuming hobbies, who can blame
them?

It has been my observation that the vast majority of faceters in
this country are retired guys-- mostly long retired. If the next
generation ever get the luxury of a secure retirement (something I
have no expectation of, myself-- and I haven’t had time to facet
since last May), maybe they’ll take it up.

–Noel


#7

Hi Don,

Its true that there are fewer 'hobbyist' cutters than there were in
say the 50 or 60's but there are many reasons for this. The cost of
equipment for one, the unavailability of low cost rough for
another. But mostly, I see the availability of very cheap machine
cut stones as killing the interest. When one can buy a cab for
$1.50 why fuss around cutting one? Well, the answer as you and I
know is that these stones have no life, are uninteresting and one
looks like another. Whereas a hand cut stone takes advantage of
the stones life - its colors and designs.

I agree with your first two points but not so much with your point
about cheap machine cut stones killing interest in lapidary arts.
One very important factor that you forgot is the space required for
this costly equipment. In the day and age when our cars remain in
our driveways because our garages are filled with our “stuff” where
would a person put this equipment even if they can afford to buy it?

The midwest and northern states are better areas to find people who
are interested in lapidary arts because it tends to be an indoor
activity, great for those harsh, long winters. However, in the
southern and western states you will find people’s garages filled
with not only boxes, yard equipment and various junk, but also tons
of outdoor sports equipment. It is so difficult to keep these people
indoors when most every day of the year is sunny and beautiful.
People are on the beach, in the mountains, hiking the desert,
swimming in the ocean or lakes, hunting, fishing, boating, etc.

I have fallen in love with the lapidary arts only by being exposed
to it from my Oregon born husband. Being of the generation that saw
the introduction and explosion of video games and computers (and
succumbing briefly to the addiction thereof), all of these people
are only doing what there mothers have told them for years. “For
goodness sake, go outside and play!”

Nancy Stinnett
Geosoul Arts
www.geosoul.com


#8

Hi Noel,

I think most of the hobbyist faceters are indeed retired folks. But
the ones I speak with on a daily basis are far from retired,
including myself.

I’m sorry, but most of the young people I meet at demonstrations are
more interested in the instant gratification provided by CD players,
IPods, etc. They are not lazy, just not accustomed to activities
which require long and quiet concentration for hours on end. When I
reply to their queries of how long it takes to finish a nice stone
with “Six hours or more.” they seem to be incredulous and many will
say they would never spend that much time for so little result. Of
course, there is no other way to arrive at a result that is close to
perfection, but the short experience of their lives thus far has not
made that apparent. In their defense, it IS a sedentary occupation
and can try one’s patience. I find it relaxing and Zen-like, other
find it frustrating. I was not speaking of this from a hobby
standpoint. Although I loved it as a hobby 38 years ago.

Wayne


#9

The last time we had this discussion, I was near enough to a B&N
that I checked out the current issue, I would have to say that it may
have been small, but it was cherce. I remember a feature on Arline
Fisch and a thoughtful and inspiring transcription of a speech given
by an award-winning lapidary, which explored the issue of originality
in design. And I know there were one or two other worthwhile pieces.
I bought it–and at the newsstand price, too. It may have averaged
out to a couple of dollars each for those wonderful articles, but it
seemed worth it.

Unfortunately, up here in the woods, nobody carries it, so I can’t
comment on the contents of the current issue.

And I think the “other magazine” is Colored Stone.

Lisa Orlando
(mistress of avoidant behavior, who is undoubtedly posting again
because she’s supposed to be house hunting…)


#10

To follow up on “coralnut”’ comments.

Lapidary Journal catered to the rock-club reader and was successful
back in the day. That reader has passed on. Lapidary Journal has not
adapted to the new reality. There are astonishingly good American
cutters today. And many more learning.

LJ is ignoring this potential market. It seems there is no one in
charge, at least no one with passion or direction. They’re trying to
please many while pleasing few.

I had a little interaction with LJ over a reprint. They worn me out
by switching me from person to person, no one being of much help.
Finally I gave up, (full disclosure here).

I would like to subscribe if they show any incination to cover
lapidary interests.

Beads are all very nice, PMC also, [ my wife loves both of these
things], but I want stones, rocks, lapidary. Give up on the shotgun
approach and live up to your title.

Kevin Kelly


#11
The fact is that I see fewer and fewer young people taking an
interest in lapidary. Stone cannot be cabbed or faceted in the
blink of an eye. And I fear that most younger people today lack
the patience required, hence the interest drops.

Not all the younger people, or even slightly older people are like
that. I know more than a couple who are into jewelry and lapidary,
but like myself (older ) find it very hard to find good training. It
either cost a fortune or is to far away to travel to. And unless your
born into the business, no one these days believe in apprenticeships
anymore as most businesses lack the patience to spend training
someone as they want someone to do it now, and do it fast.

I saw an interesting blurb on the Tube the other week. In Asia and
Europe, Apprenticeships are back in full swing. There was a drop for
the last 20 years, but they never hit the lows it has in the states.
They have always believed in apprenticeships for building skilled and
dedicated employees, and in some cases, larger companies use school
in conjunction with apprenticeships. They were showing everything
from Machinist and jewelers, to tailors and shoemakers.

I wonder if this could have something to do with the reason we are
loosing all of our manufacturing and skilled craftsmen advantageous
over other countries. If you can only afford to pay off your student
loan by learning a skill that has a relatively small educational
curve, and fast return and high pay, then skills like craftsman are
never going to be more than a novelty trade. In the same TV show I
saw they were showing were it can take 10 years to reach the point
where some European and Asian jewelers will let the apprentice work
without supervision. And They don’t just focus on bench repairs like
most trade schools here do. These apprentice can do it all, and do it
very well.

But, we live in a fast food, fast money, want it now country and
most of the really skilled craftsmen have either starved to get
there, immigrated from a country where they learned a trade as an
apprentice, or already made their fortune and have the money to
pursue their hobbies. The latter I feel is the bulk of it. Crafts
people nowadays is more a “hobby” than a honored trade. Now lawyer or
stock broker, those are idolized trades as they fit the want it now
mindset of the US. To bad, there are many gifted people if just given
the chance.

Daniel


#12

So, what are you going to do to improve it?

We have many intelligent, articulate, well written members on this
forum.

So, write something for the magazine. That is, if you actually have
some technical to contribute.

regards
Mark Zirinsky, Denver


#13

Hi Daniel,

I agree entirely with your post (I think mine sounded a little harsh
of the younger folk). I learned to facet through the patience of some
"old guys" like Sumner Olsen, Bob Long and Norm Steel, who are now
regarded as grand old wizards of American faceting. Now I’m an “old
guy”, most of them are gone, and practice, practice, practice has
made me pretty good at what I do. I really wish I could find a young
person or three to pass the freely available “secrets” on to,
but…

Wayne


#14

I do think LJ is not giving us on lapidary. The articles
are well written and with the step by step instuctions and pictures
a person could accomplish the project. So here is my question: Is
there a web site that gives on cutting and polishing
stones that a person collecting rocks for 40 years could use?

Linda Johnson


#15
I would like to subscribe if they show any inc[l]ination to cover
lapidary interests. 

This is so ironic, Kevin. I have just ended my subscription of
eleven years to LJ because they seem to have listened to earlier
criticisms and to be returning to a greater emphasis on lapidary
(which is not my area of intererest). However, I will always check
out LJ at newsstands and buy there, when I want to.

Judy Bjorkman


#16

Hello, Everybody

When I first started in jewelery, Lapidary Journal was an incredible
magazine- full of articles on metalsmithing, jewelers, lapidary, and
beads. The Step-by-Step section was interesting and varied.

The last few years, they’ve dropped the bead articles; they’ve
dropped the in-depth articles on interesting and fascinating
artists; the stone articles all seem to be about mainstream precious
gems. They could go for the more advanced crowd, I think, and find
themselves a valuable niche among professional artist jewelers. They
could add more stories.

There are lots of artists featured in the Orchid gallery; maybe LJ
could start at the top and do an article on each one. What about a
story on Glass On Metal Magazine? Yes, another mag, but one that
fills an important niche and provides valuable Or how
about a series of in-depth articles on enameling and metalwork for
enameling, and how to set stones in enamel? How about a story on
gemstone and bead dealers at Intergem Shows? Maybe follow a dealer
for a year, and do a series of stories on how he finds his material
and takes it to market. How about “101 ways to use gemstone beads in
jewelry”? Or a story on using organic/perishable materials in jewelry
(including a side-bar on casting organics)? These are stories I
personally would like to see. I would be happy to write an article,
but it would probably take me two to three years to do it- between my
business, my kids, and my husband, I’m lucky to get a bath. ;^)

As for lapidary, I agree- equipment is expensive. It took me three
years to save for my rock rascal, and it came without a manual. I had
to teach myself how to use it, and I still don’t know what most of
the attatchments are for. It was frustrating, but then again, I’m
stubborn! Maybe in Step-by-Step, they could pick a gem and go through
the steps of selecting rough, cutting and polishing it. Right now,
I’m slabbing rock on the rascal, and then I finish the gem with my
flexshaft. Frankly, I’m not wild about the lackluster polishing
results I’m getting, and would like some help.

Sorry have run on so long!
Best wishes,
Susannah Page-Garcia
Moonshine Metal Creations
@Susannah_Garcia


#17

Linda

Is there a web site that gives on cutting and polishing
stones that a person collecting rocks for 40 years could use? 

Try http://www.rockhounds.com/ as they have a lot of great
about rock collecting and lapidary. Don’t forget to check
out the links too.

Karen Bahr
Karen’s Artworx


#18

Lapidary Journal needs articles from the very people who are
complaining so loudly about their interests not being met.

You are simply getting on the complain and belly ache bandwagon
instead of becoming part of a solution. You can see your name in print
in a positive manner, but you need to change your focus of attention.

Merle White has made this point several times over the last few
years, try reading her editorials as well as her online replies.

LJ is thinner, but heavier in quality articles. The only ones you do
not see are the ones you have not written.

Enough already,
Terrie


#19

Susannah,

I would be more than happy to help you with any lapidary polishing
problems you may be experiencing. E-mail me at
wayne(underscore)emery@msn.com and we’ll try to get you on the easy
path! Looking forward.

Wayne


#20

Could those Orchidians who have actually submitted articles,
proposals or queries for articles to Lapidary Journal share their
experiences? Was LJ receptive to such proposals? I have had very
positive experiences to such queries from the editors at Art Jewelry
Magazine, which actually led to a sale, but I don’t know whether
others on this forum have met with similar active encouragement when
they contact LJ.

Mona