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Deaccessioning—Or When You Can’t Wear It All, All The Time

AJF in Conversation at NYCJW19



What will happen to your jewelry when you pass away? Who do you want it to go to? Is it a museum-worthy collection—how do you know if it is?—and how do you find someone to work with at an institution? How do you determine which museum is the right one for you and your jewelry?

Art Jewelry Forum hosted a panel discussion during New York City Jewelry Week 2019 to discuss these very questions, and more. What if your collection has changed—you’ve been collecting jewelry for years and some of your pieces no longer fit in with the rest, or perhaps you need to make room for new work you just purchased. What do you need to know before passing your jewelry on to another collector, gifting it to an institution, or selling it through an auction house? Or maybe you inherited jewelry from a relative who loved their collection, but don’t feel the same way about it that they did. How do you respectfully pass it on?

Deaccessioning describes the official removal of holdings from an institution’s collection via various methods, but our panel used it to describe the ways you, as a collector, can plan the future of the pieces in your collection. What are your options? What are the questions to ask about your jewelry, and where do you start? View the video of the panel discussion here.

AJF in Conversation: Deaccessioning or When You Can’t Wear It All, All The Time took place during NYC Jewelry Week, November 19, 2019, at The Jewelry Library. It was moderated by Lindsay Pollock, the chief communication and content officer at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and former editor-in-chief of Art in America. The panelists were

  • Barbara Gifford, assistant curator at the Museum of Arts and Design
  • Mark McDonald, a gallerist and appraiser specializing in 20th-century art and design who has worked for years with collectors to create museum-worthy holdings of mid-century decorative arts and jewelry
  • Sienna Patti, of Sienna Patti gallery, a leading expert in studio jewelry who has presented artists and designers in major museums and exhibitions around the world


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