Strategies To Make A Difference

Ultimately, responsibility for preservation and access rests with both the holding institution and the jewelry historian who uses the materials. Identification of items for preservation is best a shared process. Associations such as the Society of Jewelry Historians, the Appraisal Association of America, the International Society of Appraisers, the Association of Women Gemologists and the Gemological Association of America could support preservation efforts within their specific disciplines and within the general jewelry field, by taking positions that foster preservation efforts of source material. They also could educate jewelry professionals about the moral and ethical dilemmas of preservation, including the responsibility of ownership.

The subject/discipline specific library or special collection are the treasure houses where possibilities abound. The value of cooperative preservation projects among similar institutions or collections became apparent as this report was taking shape. Each unique special collection mentioned in the report complements the other collections. United by some form of index or bibliographic database, they would enable formidable exploration and foster new discoveries in the jewelry field. Suggestions for action follow:

Jewelry Historians

  • Encourage the development of archives and indexes within the jewelry industry.
  • Insist on publishers who print on acid-free paper.
  • Use complete bibliographic citations in all work. Give credit to the reference library for assistance rendered.
  • Alert librarians to special items in their collection of particular interest or value.
  • Learn to make use of the national databases.
  • Support or generate interest in library preservation activities.
  • Contribute ideas, help update a core bibliography of jewelry books and recommend books for preservation.
  • Share concerns with other members of the profession.

Jewelry Related Associations

  • Support special collections of jewelry books, especially within areas of expertise.
  • Encourage private industry to preserve and maintain records and archives that can be used by researchers, scholars and appraisers.
  • Insist on acid-free paper for all publications and appraisals.
  • Educate and interest members in the preservation crisis. Advocate activities that will encourage members to take active steps.
  • Cooperate with other associations with shared interests.

Libraries

  • Educate patrons about the brittle book crisis.
  • Teach scholars how to use endangered materials.
  • Solicit selection participation from jewelry historians.
  • Be alert to the unique and valuable books within each collection.
  • Cooperate with libraries with complementary special subject strengths.
  • Apply for grants or actively raise funds to further preservation needs.