Keeping track: 5 quick tips
Keeping track of your collection is essential: if you have not already, read 5 reasons why that matters here. But how to get started with that? Here are 5 quick tips on how to organize your collection!
Keep detailed records: Keeping detailed records of your collection is essential for documentation. This can include information such as the date of acquisition, the source of the piece, the materials used, any marks or hallmarks, and any other relevant information.
Use high-quality images: Take high-quality images of each piece in your collection. These images should be clear, well-lit, and taken from different angles. Label the images with information such as the piece’s number (if you have assigned one), and the date. Read more about photographing jewellery in this book. Pro-tip: take an image of the backside, too! Too often only the front side gets photographed, but the reverse can be instrumental in cases of theft or other disasters.
Keep copies of any paperwork: Keep copies of any paperwork that may be associated with a piece of jewellery, such as invoices, receipts, export papers, and appraisals. This can provide valuable information about the piece’s history and origin and build up the provenance in case you should decide to sell them later. Add these to your records.
Store your documentation securely: Not just your jewellery, but also its documentation and accompanying images should be safe. Store your documentation and images securely: a fireproof safe for actual original photos (those endless rolls of film from before the 90’s, for example) or a secure digital storage system for digital images and documentation. This will help to protect your records from damage or loss. An essential point for your insurance!
Share your documentation: This is an important point! Share your documentation and images with other collectors and experts. That is not to say you should put your entire collection online including its purchase details, but sharing images of your pieces online along with whatever you know about it, can provide valuable information about your collection. After all, the collective knowledge out there is enormous!
Of course, documentation can be time-consuming and it is simply not always possible to document everything about a piece. However, having a good documentation can help you and others to understand the significance of your collection, and it can also help you to take care of your pieces properly.
More tips on how to get started with collection management and how to set up a system is in this free e-book: happy documenting!
Sigrid van Roode
Sigrid van Roode is an archeologist, ethnographer and jewellery historian. She considers jewellery heritage and a historic source. She has authored several books on jewellery from North Africa and Southwest Asia, and on archaeological jewellery. Sigrid has lectured for the Society of Jewellery Historians, the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, among many others. She curates exhibitions and teaches online courses on jewellery from North Africa & Southwest Asia.