Collector's Handbook

collection management
everything you want to know

Collection management for you

Whether you have a few pieces or an entire collection, sooner or later you will find yourself wondering things like ‘should I insure these pieces? What if I want to donate them to a museum? How do I clean silver….?’ Perhaps you have come across more complex issues as well, such as ‘is it ok for me to own this? Can I use them in my dance performance?’ And then there is the legal and ethical department….what is all this with CITES-lists and UNESCO-conventions? What does that mean for me?

The Collector’s Handbook helps you navigate these aspects. It focuses specifically on private collections of traditional jewellery from North Africa and Southwest Asia (although museum professionals may find some useful thoughts here, too). None of this is The Law (except in those cases where it is *actually* law) – this is a resource. A growing series of short articles, where you will find tips and suggestions, angles to consider, and lots of practical references for further reading. You decide what to do with your collection, and I’m here to help you do that!

The Collector’s Handbook

Click on any title to read the article. Titles in red are already available: other titles will be added over time, so check back every now and then or subscribe to the mailing list to be the first to know when a new article has been added!

Introduction

5 reasons why collection management matters

The importance of information preservation

1. Research

What is ‘research’ and how can it help you? There is more to it than finding parallels: find some pointers and tips in these articles!

1.1 How to conduct research

1.2 Identifying reproductions

1.3 Wear as indicator of age

1.4 Source criticism: early photography

1.5 Awareness of selection and filtering

1.6 Factors in describing the origin of a piece

1.7 The information value of ‘dirt’

1.8 Odd materials in jewellery

2. Ethical considerations

With collecting jewellery from cultures that are not our own comes responsibility and accountability. That is not simply whether you have acquired a piece legally – that is not the point with jewellery still offered for sale in the countries of origin. This is about respecting other cultures. A multilayered field with many angles to consider: here are some of my thoughts, that may be of use in forming your own opinion.

2.1 Jewellery: property and heritage

2.2 Cultural appropriation in 1 minute

2.3 Cultural appropriation and historic exhange

2.4 Can I wear traditional jewellery from North Africa and Southwest Asia?

2.5 Jewellery and communities

2.6 Some guidelines for ethical collecting

3 Care and preservation

How to take care of your jewellery? Here are some pointers!

3.1 Cleaning silver: 3 methods with their pro’s and con’s

3.2 Storing silver: 4 tips

4 Legal considerations

The fine print! What to think of when offering your collection, what is the relevance of provenance and what does UNESCO 1970 really mean…?

4.1 Documentation: 5 basic tips

4.2 What is UNESCO 1970?

4.3 What is CITES?

4.4 Selling or donating a collection: what do I need?

Organize your future

Collection Game Plan

Ready to start bringing clarity and peace of mind to your future? I have created a free workbook for you to help you get started. This step-by-step guide covers the most important ingredients of your collection’s ‘Spring cleaning’ and is based on my experience working for museums as well as on museum standards. This book has been downloaded over 200 times: I hope it will get you on your way as well!