Curious Objects: Katherine Purcell’s advice for serious collectors

Editorial Staff Curious Objects

Benjamin Miller, Host of Curious Objects & the stories behind them

Benjamin Miller, host of The Magazine ANTIQUES’ podcast Curious Objects, interviewed Katherine Purcell. In this excerpt, Purcell—a principal in the London jewelry firm Wartski—offers her advice for serious collectors.

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Benjamin Miller: Now, for more experienced collectors who might be listening right now, what’s a mistake that you sometimes see experienced collectors make that you would caution against?

Katherine Purcell. Courtesy of Wartski, London.

Katherine Purcell: I think when one starts off as a collector one inevitably starts off fairly modestly because your means are probably quite modest when you start off.

Benjamin Miller: Sure.

Katherine Purcell: And then you’ll . . . as you learn, your tastes become more and more refined, and one becomes braver about buying more significant pieces. What can then be difficult is actually refining your collection to rid yourself of the first pieces that you acquired, because they may have all sort of rather nostalgic connotations to them because it’s the first piece you bought.

Benjamin Miller: Of course.

Katherine Purcell: But there’s no doubt that what makes the strength of a collection is the universal strength of the pieces, and sometimes one comes across collections where there are, let’s say, five or six masterpieces, and then there are maybe more pieces that are more modest or middling pieces. And I would always urge a collector, if they can, to perhaps just go for the very best because in the end it’s the very best that will really hold their own in whatever context.