Title is the concept of using documentary registration to perfect property rights. A person with title is entitled to a presumption that they have the most exclusive right to possess, use, enjoy or control that property. In addition, a purchaser can rely on registration of title to ensure that a seller has the right to pass any or all of those rights to them.
Not all property has title, and the concept is fairly new, having been developed more fully in the 18th century to register ownership of and interest in real property. At present, most major assets have some sort of title system. Automobiles, aircraft, ships and boats typically have some sort of title registered in a central location.
In the absence of title, property rights can only be proved by showing a continuous or exclusive chain of purchase from a rightful owner. This is typical of most forms of personal property, including valuable forms like jewelry. As such, most forms of law have a set of rules to determine who of a set of persons claiming ownership of a given piece of personal property has the best right to it. One of the most basic rules is that the party with possession of personal property is, in the absence of better evidence, assumed to have the best title to it. In most legal systems, an action to quiet title is available when personal property rights are in dispute. This essentially creates a special form of title through the registration of the court's order.