LONDON — Jewelry is booming, and there’s never been a better time to launch a stand-alone magazine dedicated to the brands that are designing, making and marketing it, according to Ian Thorley, the publisher of Something About Rocks, which lands on newsstands Thursday.
Thorley, who nearly two decades ago launched the men’s magazine Jack and who went on to establish Something About Media, a London-based creative content agency, specialized in fashion, luxury, lifestyle and consumer brands, said the focus is on a variety of price points, from fine jewelry to more fashion-focused brands such as Alighieri.
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“It’s everything above the high street. As long as it’s designed, and it’s cool, we can feature it,” said Thorley in an interview. He described the magazine, which will be published twice a year, and priced at 10 pounds, as “a fashion take on jewelry, and something the market wants now.”
He described that market, and Rocks’ readers, as “younger consumers, men and women, in their 30s who are interested in jewelry.”
He emphasized that it’s not a glossy magazine-style supplement, but a stand-alone publication for a category that he believes deserves much more attention. “It’s an exciting time for jewelers and for jewelry. This is their moment,” he said.
The jewelry business has exploded over the past decade, with sites including Net-a-porter, Mytheresa and Matchesfashion bulking up their jewelry offer, at all price points. At the same time, indie high-end designers, such as Solange Azagury-Partridge, Stephen Webster and Shaun Leane, are speaking — and selling — directly to customers on social media.
The rise of lab-grown diamonds and gold-plating techniques (both of which bring overall costs down); an enhanced jewelry offer from fashion labels ranging from Oscar de la Renta to Gucci and Balenciaga, and the proliferation of accessibly priced brands such as Missoma, Monica Vinader and Astley-Clarke, have fueled demand, and opened up entry-level price points.
The 100-page debut print edition follows the launch of the Rocks’ website last year, and Thorley said the magazine “allows us to be more visually interesting.” His aim with both is 360-degree coverage of the market.
The consumer-facing website is free, and updated daily with news and celebrity-focused content, while the print issue digs deeper with shoots and longer-format stories.
Thorley said online momentum has been building since last year’s launch, and his company will “start exploring film and social media” in the coming months. Content for the website and the print magazine is created by part-time staff and freelancers.
The first issue has six covers, including one with Rose Williams, the star of “Sanditon” and “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” and another with the R&B artist JoJo.
There is a shoot with the Olympic Gold medalist boxer Galal Yafai, who’s decked in jewels from Van Cleef & Arpels; the Chanel-owned Goossens, and Ara Vartanian. Another shoot features Zion Sapong and Devenity and showcases jewels by Carbon & Hyde, Katkim and Poche.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Compagnie Financière Richemont have put their muscle behind the project, advertising their high-end brands, including Louis Vuitton High Jewelry, Bulgari, Cartier and Tag Heuer in the print pages.
Asked about the big groups’ enthusiasm for the project, Thorley said LVMH and Richemont had been following Rocks since its digital launch last year “and they wanted to work with us, they wanted to be involved.”
Thorley said more than 100 brands are featured in the first issue, including smaller indie labels from around the world such as Viltier, Shay, Cece Jewellery and Pasquale Bruni.
There are watches, too — from brands including Dior, Chopard, Cartier and Omega — and Thorley said he’ll continue to feature them as long as they’re “designed,” rather than purely practical.
The print edition of Rocks will be distributed internationally, via subscription, on newsstands, at luxury hotels and via airlines.