Although a sprinkling of academics would be useful, if not essential, nevertheless specialist dealers who have spent their lives handling, studying, examining and – not least – risking their own money on their purchases will without doubt have a wider and deeper understanding.
However, it is clearly undesirable for dealers within the fairs to be part of vetting committees. I believe expecting fellow exhibitors to judge each others’ exhibits totally dispassionately is demanding a little too much from humanity.
The current practice of a system of appeals for rejected items seems to me to be ludicrous. The vetting committees are presumably composed of carefully selected experts in their respective fields whose negative decisions are very frequently overruled by fellow exhibitors with often as not no specialist knowledge of the items rejected.
To be meaningful, the task of vetting committees must above all be to protect the public, not to avoid disappointing exhibitors.
Vetting needs to be daily
MADAM – At various times I’ve been head of jewellery vetting at Olympia, LAPADA and other fairs.
The problem with disallowing vetting by fellow exhibitors is that the original vetting is carried out on a single day by a considerable number of vetters, many of whom have travelled to be there, but are reluctant to revisit unless they are nearby.
Dealers often bring in new stock, and in the case of jewellery, it is easily smuggled in, so it’s essential that someone goes round vetting daily – and that can usually only be another exhibitor.
Some dealers are reluctant to vet at all, as they worried about possibly upsetting a dealer they sell to.
I would like to think that fellow-exhibitors will treat their co-exhibitors fairly – and there’s always the possibility of appeal.
N Bloom & Son