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Provenance


#1

Just remembered something my dad told me, years ago. It was at an
exhibition of Chinese art. One scroll had a number of ink stamps on
it. One was the artist’s name, of course, but Dad said the stamps
were the names of past owners of the scroll.

These stamps were on the painting itself, not the scroll that framed
it! Dad said that the stamps did not deface the painting; in fact,
they made it more valuable because the past owners were
rich/famous/powerful, etc.

Are there similar practices in the West, specifically with jewelry?

Janet


#2

You’re talking about “Chops” right? I used to make rings for my
Oriental customers from their family Chop design. Makes for and
interesting and attractive ring.

Jeffrey Everett


#3
        Just remembered something my dad told me, years ago. It
was at an exhibition of Chinese art. One scroll had a number of ink
stamps on it. <snip> >    Are there similar practices in the West,
specifically with jewelry? 

Janet, I don’t know of this being done on jewellery. In general it
would be rather awkward for an owner to add a mark, I should think.

But I can think of three types of work that do gradually accumulate
marks. Paintings of note, that are sold from time to time through
the major auction houses, usually have a label fixed to the back at
each sale.

Paper items, manuscripts and suchlike, in the custody of museums, or
even in private ownership, are usually given a mark consisting of a
small printed “seal”, or sometimes embossed (or both), in the manner
that you mentioned on the Chinese scroll. In this case though the
items rarely move through the markets, and the mark is largely to
discourage theft.

Finally it was the practice until very recently for clocks and
watches to be marked by the horologist when they came in for repair
or maintenance. Most pocket watches have a number of scratched
marks in the case. Although of some value, maybe, for historical
research, the current recommended practice is not to add fresh
marks, but also not to remove existing marks.

Kevin (NW England, UK)


#4
    I don't know of this being done on jewellery. 

Kevin, Too bad–I think the provenance of an object is part of its
appeal. A couple of years ago I bought a used shuttle (yarn
holder/dispenser) from a widower who had given it to his wife more
than forty years earlier. I liked that the shuttle had belonged to a
professional weaver, and he agreed to mark his late wife’s name on
it. Maybe it’s just whimsy, but I feel it added to the value of the
shuttle.

Janet