Collecting Native American jewelry is undoubtedly a joyful pursuit. First comes the hunt for the perfect piece of Native American jewelry. Then, comes wearing that incredible work of art, reveling in its beauty, and enjoying standing out from the crowd. There’s more to being a collector of Native American jewelry, though, than pure delight, for collecting comes with the responsibility of being a good steward.
One of the best ways to be a good steward is keeping a detailed catalog of your jewelry collection, a catalog that tracks the who, what, when, where and why - essentially the story behind each individual piece of jewelry. As Native American jewelry enthusiasts, we can better honor Native artists and their powerful, one-of-a-kind jewelry by keeping track of these all important stories.
How To Catalog Your Native American Jewelry Collection
Unfortunately, as a Native American jewelry seller, I often receive jewelry collections without any background information at all. These are glorious, beloved high-end pieces of Native jewelry that arrive without their corresponding stories. Sometimes generations worth of history is completely lost. It pains me to know that every single one of these pieces once had a tale to tell. Even the seemingly mundane details like date of purchase, place of purchase and price paid become increasingly significant with the passage of time.
I've realized that collectors need an easier way to maintain the details of their Native American jewelry collections, so that we don't lose any more stories.
For a long time, I've been meaning to create a custom spreadsheet you can use to track your Native American jewelry collection, but I found myself too busy until the recent fire ravaging New Mexico and destroying cherished homes and possessions. Living in the midst of this heartbreaking devastation was the impetus for me to finally create a custom Native American Jewelry Collection Spreadsheet for you.
After years managing a high-end Native American art gallery and my 5th year running my own Native American jewelry business, I know how to catalog a collection. I know what works and what doesn’t. I’ve spent thousands of hours using a custom-built, $10,000 inventory database that was overly complex and inefficient. I’ve also worked with expensive, out-of-the-box computer programs that didn’t fit my needs as a dealer or collector. Therefore, I’ve taken my years of experience to create this straightforward spreadsheet that will hold the specific data you need without additional complex frills.
The data that you easily (and lovingly) enter into this spreadsheet will tell the story of each specific piece of jewelry within your collection which ultimately reveals the story of your collection as a whole.
Benefits of Cataloging Your Native American Jewelry Collection
The more you use your custom spreadsheet, the more you’ll discover other huge benefits of cataloging your jewelry:
- Access your jewelry collection from anywhere! It's securely cloud based living in Google Docs, so you can access it when traveling, shopping, and visiting museums. Since it doesn’t live on a single computer, if you’re traveling, say to Indian Market, and you want to take a look at your collection to make more informed purchases, you can call it up right in the middle of the Santa Fe Plaza.
- Easily interact with your jewelry catalog in its entirety to note gaps in your collection, plan future purchases, and discover more about yourself as a collector. Besides telling the story of the artists and pieces, it tells a story about you as well. In fact, the simple act of recording your jewelry items in the spreadsheet may give you new important insights.
- Instantly identify how many pieces are in your collection.
- Instantly identify how much money you've spent on your collection.
- Email copies of your collection catalog to accountants, attorneys, insurance agents or family members.
- Easily access your collection catalog in the case of loss, theft, or fire. Hopefully, you'll never have to use it for this purpose, but it's better to have than to not.
- Change location status of individual jewelry pieces so that you know at a moment's notice where any item is whether it be in a safe, with you on vacation, at a second home, or on loan to a museum or gallery. There's no more wondering where a piece of jewelry is if you can't find it.
- Designate specific pieces of jewelry to be sold or consigned out as you review your collection and notice your taste has inevitably changed. Once you've sold or consigned (hopefully to Turquoise & Tufa), you can log the net price in your spreadsheet.
- Plan for future gifting of your jewelry to family, friends, and institutions. Once plans are made, you can easily email a copy to attorneys and future recipients. Remember, part of stewardship is planning for what happens to this jewelry once we’re gone, for it will live many, many lifetimes beyond our own.
- Record past appraisal information.
- Use for future appraisals - just send a copy of your Native jewelry collection catalog to appraisers and they will have all the details they need for a formal appraisal (they'll love you for your detail and organization. Maybe they'll even offer a discount).
- Utilize a powerful FIND function to find details on specific pieces, artists, and more in your large collection spreadsheet.
- Color code different pieces of jewelry to stand out (perhaps all the pieces consigned to Turquoise & Tufa are highlighted in turquoise).
- Gain peace of mind that your Native American jewelry collection is digitally recorded and well organized.
- Access provenance information at your fingertips, which can increase value of pieces.
- Export your entire collection to an Excel spreadsheet or PDF.
- Print your entire collection for a hard copy.
For all the reasons above, please make the important decision to track your collection using this Native American Jewelry Collection Catalog.
Thank you for being a good steward of Native American jewelry.