The Real Art of Collecting

 In Artists & Special Collections, Cruise Art Auctions at Sea, Erte

By Johnathon, Cruise Ship Art Auctioneer

Study for a Ring by Erte

Study for a Ring by Erte

A friend of mine who is a Park West Collector phoned me one afternoon and asked me to help her with a new adventure on which she was about to embark.

This client, nicknamed Molly, said that she wanted to start collecting diamonds and she wanted me to help her find someone to be her diamond dealer in the way that Park West is her art dealer. My friend Kim is a diamond expert and I thought she would be a good resource for Molly to use. I was right. We decided the best way to proceed was for Molly and Kim to meet and discuss diamonds at length. I wanted to make sure that Molly was well taken care of, so I went along for the ride.

The ride, as it turned out, ended up being aboard a cruise ship.

We shopped in every port, and spent evenings in the wine bar chatting about all the information required to make a “good” diamond collecting decision.

In the final port of call, I asked Molly if she was planning to collect any diamonds this time, or if this was just a fact finding trip. She said she was looking for something she hadn’t found yet. Molly tried on dozens of rings that day, while Kim told her about cut, clarity, karat weight, and all of the other important items to consider when shopping for diamonds. The “maybe” group shrunk slowly to about 10 rings. Molly tried them on in every way imaginable; over red material, blue material, glass surfaces, in the sun light, florescent light, and incandescent light. Finally, she asked Kim to give her some time alone with the pieces, so she could decide what she “had to have.”

In the end, she picked one ring. Just one. She handed it to the clerk, and said, “I’ll take this one.” It was at this point that I thought Kim was going to faint. She said, “Molly, you brought me all the way to the Caribbean, we have shopped for six days straight, and in the end you aren’t taking my recommendation at all. This diamond doesn’t possess all the qualities I recommended nor the score on the scale I suggested. Is this the only ring that SPOKE to you all cruise long?

Molly responded with uncommon wisdom.

“All of the rings I tried on today SPOKE to me, the last few at the end were screaming at me, but the one I am taking home today, even though it isn’t the highest on any of your scales, is the only one that SINGS to me.”

Molly could have afforded any number of the diamonds in that store, but in the end she collected what she loved, with complete disregard for anyone else’s opinion. It strikes me that as an art dealer that lesson is the best recommendation I can give. People have many reasons for collecting art, but the best one is always that you LOVE it, that it SPEAKS to you, that it SINGS to you! If you collect art that sings to you, you will never regret it. You will pass it each day as it adorns the walls of your home and remember fondly the moment you decided that you “had to have it.”

People always ask me how it is possible that a gallery that started out in the strip mall in a Detroit suburb became the World’s Largest Art Dealer?

Park West has built it’s client base to 1.2 million satisfied customers by selling people the art that SINGS to them.

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