The Death of Lapidary
The Birth of a Magazine

by Hans Durstling

It has become a kind of conventional wisdom: lapidary is a dying hobby.

Oh really? Not from my perspective it isn’t. Within a month after I came back home (to New Brunswick, Canada) from Tucson and California last year I had no less than nine students wanting to learn lapidary and silversmithing. Several in fact want to pursue it commercially and systematically. That's a rough road but to make a living at any artistic pursuit is that.

In the course of being systematic, they’ve scouted outlets and talked to store owners and brought back the assessment that there is a growing demand for local materials, local work. The owner of a jewelry kiosk in a nearby large regional mall told me so directly. People are asking for local stuff; local work and local stones. Another jewelry kiosks in the same mall two years ago began showing pieces by a local jewelry maker alongside the usual imported sterling dolphin and moonstone stuff. Then it was two, and now three artists.

Atlantic Canada, my area, is sparsely populated and not wealthy. Young people leave to seek opportunity elsewhere. Here is not where trends are made; this is where, in time, they filter down to. So if the demand for local stones and local work is so much in evidence here, it surely must be in more wide resurgence.

Things go in cycles: they are discovered, become popular, are cheapened, and fade. Then the debris is swept away by a new crowd of practitioners and it becomes fresh and exciting again. I think that may be what we are witnessing now. The picture from this admittedly small canvas suggests that lapidary is by no means dying; there is not only hope, but an exciting sense of promise.

Welcome to Lapidary World
It is in that spirit that I present this publication. To sustain that spirit, to enhance it, to share it, to pass on the joy of discovery, the sense of adventure, the satisfaction of craftsmanship and just in general the love of stone in all of its many aspects, in all of its many places of origin. Lapidary World is a comprehensive title: intentionally so.

Lapidary World will appear monthly. Be warned however that the February/March issue will not only be combined but may be delayed due to Tucson. The first two issues will be free for everyone to access. After that the publication will move to a paid subscription basis of $20 a year. This helps pay for web space. More importantly, it will make it possible to actually PAY for contributions. Writing takes time, and writing well takes much time. The person who does it ought to be remunerated, and this will in turn bring good writers on board. Subscribers will receive a password good for one year access to the publication.

Introductory Subscription Offer
10 dollars for one full year

At this moment Lapidary World is a one-man show. It will not remain that way. Such ventures come with hazards built in in the form of burnout and loss of energy. What you’re looking at is the very first Lapidary World, without track record. You know there’s an element of risk involved. That being made clear, if you want to take that risk now, without evidence of continuity, without track record, for all who subscribe on or before April 1st, your price, for the full one year subscription, will be only ten dollars (US $10.)

Subscription Details
In the the rush to get this first issue up I do not yet have paypal or shopping carts or other easy modes of electronic payment. All this will come when I get back from Tucson. Until then, personal cheques, money orders, or cash will be welcome. Simply email me

To let me know that you intend to subscribe and I will mail back with the address to send the subscription fee.

I hope you will enjoy this first issue of Lapidary World. There will be many more: this venture is for the long term. A lapidary discussion forum is in the works, and other features like personal classified advertising for subscribers. If you have suggestions, or story proposals or any other comments, email me, email me, email me!

Hans Durstling
Moncton, New Brunswick

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