Friday, July 4, 2008


Recently a colleague of mine who buys, collects and sells Shermans like I do, was telling me about one of her customers who is hell-bent on investing in Sherman jewelry but is still rather new at it. She apparently knows what to look for in terms of color and condition, but because she loves to wear Sherman brooches and bracelets, she's been busy buying up just brooches or just bracelets.

Well while there's absolutely no reason a buyer shouldn't do that if that's what she likes to wear, if you are an investor in Sherman or plan to sell it down the way, you should ALWAYS be looking to acquire sets. A Sherman brooch with matching earrings will always be more valuable than just the brooch or earrings. If that brooch and earrings are also paired with a matching bracelet, as in the photo below from my site at SHERMAN JEWELRY SHOWCASE, or if you can find a set that includes a necklace with the brooch and earrings, or even better yet, a 4-piece set of brooch, earrings, bracelet and necklace, then you have found a super valuable Sherman parure and it's definitely worth buying because then it has become a true investment. Incidentally, this applies to all the famous vintage

designers: wherever you can, try to get sets by Schiaparelli, Shreiner, Weiss, Miriam Haskell, Kenneth J. Lane ... the list goes on.

Why are sets so much more valuable? After all, you might not like wearing clip-on earrings but you love necklaces or bracelets. Part of the reason, as is common with vintage jewelry, the sets have become separated over the years. People have sold off a bracelet to one person and the matching brooch to someone else. Bottom line then is 2, 3 and 4-piece sets are much harder to obtain, and as you know, the rarer something is, the greater its value. That's why my colleague has now counselled her eager buyer to look for sets where she can. She doesn't have to wear all the pieces at the same time if she doesn't want to; she just needs to have as many sets as she can get!

But here's something you can do (and it's kind of fun) if you have only piece of Sherman ie. a brooch or necklace. You can become a hunter! Attend estate auctions in your aread. Online, scour eBay, Ruby Lane, Trocadero, eCrater or Cyber Attic. Or simply just type Sherman jewelry or Sherman Jewellery into Google or Yahoo and see what you can find. If you're really lucky you might find earrings that are a perfect match for that brooch or necklace you love.

Is it impossible? Not at all. I have found wonderful matches that way and have been able to turn a 1 or 2-piece set into a valuable 3-piece parure like my Sherman fushia set of necklace, earrings and brooch shown below. Because of the color, fuschia, each of the pieces alone is valuable, but as a set, it's value is many times greater.


Valerie said...

As author of All That Glitters, the first and only reference book written about Sherman Jewellery. I have two comments about this blog . First I must say that in the three years of research I conducted prior to writing the book including conversations with his suppliers, ex employees, retailers
and yes members of the Sherman family, they all state catagorically and without any hesitation that there was never any unsigned Sherman, so the difference between signed and so called " unsigned Sherman " is not cost it is authenticity.
This is why you will never find any other manufacturers jewellery in our Sherman cases, " pretending " to be Sherman .
Why pay Sherman values for non Sherman pieces.
As for the question on sets, since not all pieces were made in complete " parures " or sets it may not aways be possible to have a complete set. It's always wonderful to have more pieces to choose from and to wear a necklace and earrings or brooch and bracelet, but in either case, remember whatever you do, when you are putting pieces together make certain that they are signed. A Sherman bracelet with an unsigned brooch is not a Sherman set !!!


Thanks for your comments Valerie and I'm delighted to have your contribution to this blog. If you read all my posts, you will see that I quote your comments on what the Sherman family said about unsigned Shermans time and again. In fact, I have gotten into some mighty arguments with other Sherman buyers and sellers because I espouse your stance i.e. If it's not signed, it isn't a Sherman. I've used this belief at all times when buying Sherman and only once have I purchased a piece that was an obvious set but only the earrings were signed. It really gave me reason for doubt ie. there's no question the earrings and necklace are a matched set but only the earrings are signed. I too have researched the net and found it stated that some Shermans did indeed have just a hang tag on one piece of a matched set. This does make it hard to know who is right. But that's why I agree with you and believe a buyer should look for that Sherman signature on what they are buying before putting their money down. And of course, the difference between signed and unsigned is not cost; it is indeed authenticity. And that really was the point of some of my other posts on this subject: Just because someone calls it a Sherman, if it's not signed, most wary buyers will NOT bid on or buy the item. Thanks Valerie. Please come again. Your well worn book is my constant guide and I advise others to get a hold of "All that Glitters".

Agi Gallus Vintage Collection said...

I disagree with Valerie. I have found an original Sherman Ad which displays an unsigned crystal necklace and coil bracelet with signed earrings. View it on my webpage Also check out the new book called Sherman Jewellery: The Masterpiece Collection. There is a detailed chapter on the signed vs unsigned debate with pics. The book is awesome and a true tribute to Shermans genius. You can order it at


Thanks Agi. I agree with you. I've completely turned my thinking around on this after reading many similar comments to yours. Valerie says she based her stand on her interviews with the Sherman family but there's too much other evidence to show they might just be wrong. And yes, I've read the part on this in the new book which has taken its place alongside Valerie's book and my many other vintage costume books. Highly recommeded for other Sherman devotees.

valerie hammond said...

you may not agree with me but who are we to argue with his family members, ex employees, owners of jewellery stores, suppliers and sales representatives including those who bought SPECIFICALLY for Birks and Eatons . This was not my opinion, I did not make this up it is based on vital factual information provided to me by those who know .
Valerie Hammond

Mistik said...

Having interviewed people as well for this book, we are confident that there is a fair amount of unsigned Sherman jewellery out there. My understanding is that there are also family members, buyers and jewellery store owners who have also gone on the record as saying there is unsigned Sherman. We met a woman last week who worked in a jewellery store in Ontario for years and insisted she had bought unsigned pieces from the Sherman company. Regrettably, there is also a lot of unsigned jewellery that people claim is Sherman but we don't believe it is. That's why it's important to handle a fair amount of Sherman, to become as familiar as possible with the designs, construction and stones.


Deb said...

Having collected a fair amount of Sherman jewelry over the last several years, I too used to think there were no unsigned pieces.

However, after carefully examining my own collection and trying to approach this topic without the foresight of how knowing how extremely collectible and expensive this jewelry would become decades later, I have now changed my position.

I believe that there are Sherman made jewelry pieces without a "permanent" signature. These would have originally been identified with a paper hang tag or sold with other perfectly matched signed pieces in a Jewels of Elegance case. No doubt in my mind, too much evidence to support this.

Thanks for doing this post. It is a great topic to debate.


Anonymous said...

We have been handling Sherman for over 20 years now, and are fully cognizant with both it's appearance and the way it was made. We have approx 1000 pieces in our current inventory .
To look at it from a common sense point of view, it was put to me this way by both his family and everyone else we have spoken to over the three years of research we conducted.
If it cost Gus $ 10.00 to make a piece, and he sold it to Birks for $ 15.00 ( SIGNED ) so that they could sell it for $ 20.00, why would he then make the same piece, which cost him the same $ 10.00 and sell it to a retailer for less so that they could sell it for $15 UNSIGNED ?? It was the Sherman name which attributed the value , and why would I buy it if I can't be certain he made it, and pay the same high price that the signed items sell for ?
The fact of the matter is that the company Sherman bought his findings from also supplied dozens of other manufacturers with the same settings. When the settings and stones were completed at the various firms, they then applied their logos ( much as Sherman and Weiss did ) with the use of a small plaque, attached to the back of the piece. Many dealers attribute the patent numbers as being Signed Sherman but the same patent number will be found on Mazer, Jomaz, Weiss Schriener and a myriad of other makers pieces. The exact ,same , perfect design made by the same findings maker . Colour combinations of the various eras were based on fashion trends, so if Weiss did a pink and yellow combination so did other designers.
We have over the years had identical SIGNED sets made by different companies. Other than the signatures on the pieces, there was absolutely no way to differentiate between them other than the signatures .
Why would a man whose name was his guarantee produce any item without his name on it at the same cost factor and sell it for less because he did not sign it ? .
Tie on tags were most certainly used, but in conjunction with his signature on every piece.
How great it is for dealers who are selling unsigned Sherman for Sherman prices. ! Why wouldn't they want to believe there is unsigned Sherman. According to one person very close to Gus, buying unsigned Sherman would be like buying a Rolex watch without the Rolex name, and paying the Rolex price .Just because you have been told it's a Rolex. Anyone can put a no name watch in a Rolex Box, doesn't mean it's a Rolex !
I was most recently able to have a wonderful conversation with the Senior Buyer of Birks Mayor, who very kindly sent me Catalogues from Birks dating back to the very first one which showcased Sherman jewellery, and she assured me, based on the archival records she has , that whle the advertising in the catalogue did not state who the manufacturer was, each and every piece without exception was signed. She was also kind enough to snd me original boxes ( which by the way were sold seperately. Most were packaged in the Birks blue Boxes in order to promote the retailer .
She included original inventory cards and other wonderful material .
It's interesting to know also, that the head buyer for Eatons told me at a recent show that Sherman was the only costume jewellery line they carried which was never put on sale.
I am aware that this discussion may go on for ever, but I state again.
He was a man inordinately proud of his quality and his name . He put his name on his jewellery because he wanted everyone to know who made it !
The people who knew him best, immediate family members, have all emphatically stated he only made Signed pieces, his employees, suppliers, salesmen and buyers have all , even after repeated requests for verification , stood by their words and they know what they know from having been there. They can't all be wrong !

Based on their statements, I will, as a reputable dealer never sell " unsigned sherman "
Why even have to consider the authenticity of a piece, when a simple look at the back will answer the question for you !

Valerie Hammond


Hi Valerie

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and reasoning with us. You make many valid points. I think for all of us now caught up in this debate, this is going to be an ongoing argument as it seems for every argument pro there's a con that also makes sense. But I really appreciate your contributions to this blog, as I do all of those who taken time to give their thoughts on signed vs unsigned Shermans. What a controversial subject!


Just wanted to thank Mistik and Debbie for stopping by and adding their thoughts too. What have I started here LOL! I know Debbie too has devoted a huge part of her blog to this same topic so I hope anyone reading this comment will also slip over and read Debbie's reason for believing there are indeed, unsigned Shermans out there. There seems to be a lot of support for both sides of the argument. Gustave, where are you ???

DeeDee said...

The debate goes on...

I am of the opinion that there are in fact a number of unsigned pieces out there. Not every piece in a parure was always signed, or so I have been told by 'people who knew'.

I personally own a three coloured titty brooch which has two Sherman nameplates attached. Does this not suggest that perhaps the next one to it on the Sherman 'assembly line' missed out, and didn't receive its Sherman nametag? Who knows?

There is so much conjecture on just what was what back then, even amongst 'old' employees,... memories have grown increasingly dimmer and less reliable.

The Eaton's store management (owners) were also reputedly extremely anti Semitic - the biographical book 'The Eatons' by Rod McQueen actually refers to this fact. Apparently the Eaton's management at some point actually requested that the Sherman nameplate not be applied to jewelry meant to be retailed by the Eaton stores. True - or untrue?

Here in Canada we often hear anecdotes relating to members of the Sherman family - from people who claim to have known them on a first hand basis. Many of the stories have now reached mythical proportions.How many of these stories are factual and which have become urban myths?

My own approach is to stay away from unsigned pieces as there are sufficient numbers of signed pieces still available to satisfy my 'addictions', however, I see nothing wrong at all in buying an 'unsigned' piece that I may particularly like, - as long as I am not being asked or expected to pay 'Sherman' prices.


Wow Dee Dee...great points. Never thought of that. Thanks for offering that information.

Anonymous said...

What is really so great about the new book "Sherman Jewellery: The Masterpiece Collection?"

Certainly NOT the price!

It does not even a price guide in it.

The Pictures?

Big deal.

We can look at Sherman all day/night long on the net for one monthly fee and even that is cheaper and much more informative than the book.

"All That Glitters" by Valerie Hammond sells for $30.00 CAN, the new book "Sherman Jewellery: The Masterpiece Collection" sells for $75.00 CAN.

Okay, do the math, you can pay $30.00 for a book WITH a price guide or you can pay $75.00 for one WITHOUT.

Which makes more sense?

Valerie Hammond is the recognized authority on Sherman jewelry and I'd be advising collectors to invest in her book.

At least Hammonds book has lots of verifiable information as well as pictures AND it is purse size so that it can be carried with you.

The authors of "The Masterpiece Collection" have done nothing except a fine marketing job and put into print unverifiable information on "Unsigned Sherman."

I'm sticking with Hammonds book and praying that she writes another, THAT I'll pay $100.00 for!!!!

"The Masterpiece Collection" is not worth the paper it is written on. Unless, of course, you're into "Picture Books".

Evelyn said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment, but there are a few errors in your post I would like to correct.

For one thing, the book is available at $60 Canadian plus shipping from my web site. As this is not my blog, I won't post a link to it, but it is easily found. The $60 US price you are referencing is on Ebay and includes shipping, for which, I might add, we take a loss. Ms. Hammond's book's price reflects the cost of publishing hers, as does ours. I suggest you might want to check into the expense of Canadian publishing before you try to equate the costs of two very different books. You may be surprised.

Yes, indeed, we have published a picture book, as we felt that was what we as collectors wanted to see. And it was how we felt Sherman jewellery deserved to be shown. And based on the increasing feedback we have had from other collectors and from dealers, it is also what they wanted to see. It is a picture book of pieces from several collections, pieces that for the most part are uncommon and do not come up all that often on the Internet or at bricks at mortar stores.

It is precisely because they are so uncommon that we did not put in a price guide. As long-time collectors, what we would be willing to pay for a tiara or a cuff bracelet in very rare colours would probably differ dramatically from what someone else would pay. Does that mean our price is correct? Is theirs? With the wild disparity of Sherman prices on Ebay, on other online sites and in stores, we did not feel a price guide based on our jewellery was appropriate. We also felt it would be incredibly self-interested to price and then sell pieces from our own collections. Longtime collectors and dealers who specialize in Sherman are very aware of the current state of Sherman pricing. So to newcomers, perhaps we should apologise that we did not include prices. Experienced collectors probably don’t need to carry a price guide with them when they buy.

And ... price guides also date books very quickly. As our book represents a substantial investment to us, we did not want that to happen.

We researched the book thoroughly and while you may not agree with our conclusions, we stand by them. Again, we have heard from many dealers and long-time collectors who agree with us.

By all means stick with Ms. Hammond's book, as it suits your needs. I am slightly baffled as to why you feel there should only be one book on a subject. What a colourless world we would live in (especially on a subject like this) if that were the case. I enjoy a good debate, as it seems, do you. A pivotal difference between us is that I am proud to put my name by my comments.

With best regards,
Evelyn Yallen


As the moderator of this blog, I was tempted to delete the post by Anonymous regarding "Sherman Jewellery: The Masterpiece Collection" but when I read Evelyn's response I decided to leave it there. She has answered the points raised better than I could. I'm also more than happy to provide the link where this excellent book can be purchased directly from the authors for only $60 CAD. You can buy it here:

If that link doesn't work, just copy & paste it all into your browser.

Now for my comments on Anonymous' thoughts:

Have you ever published a book? Are you aware of the massive difference in cost of publishing a hardcover book, 11" X 8.5" in full color? You cannot compare the cost of such a publication to the cost of putting out a soft-cover book.

Secondly, the sheer volume of photos and the the sizes of them in Evelyn's book makes this a very expensive book to produce. So price comparisons on the two books is pointless.

Regarding having prices in books, yes, I like seeing prices but quite honestly, they are a very poor guide to what one should expect to pay for Sherman. Prices will vary from vendor to vendor and buyer to buyer. I sell my Shermans at prices much lower than others do. So are my prices more accurate than those of say, Carol Tannenbaum who sells to an upmarket clientele? Can we use ebay as a yardstick? It caters to those trying to get a bargain at all times, even if the prices go sky high. Prices are determined by several factors: the sellers, the buyers, the current interest in Sherman. There's a season to all vintage designers.

It's fun to look at prices but I've yet to get for my Shermans anything close to those quoted in books. My first piece of Sherman appears in Valerie's book on page 95. Valeris has the price as $190 - $225. I paid $110 for this piece on ebay about 2 years ago. I listed it in my shop at Ruby Lane for nearly a year and steadily dropped the price to what I'd paid. No-one bought it. In desperation, I put it up on ebay and it sold for a whole $37. I cried and cried over it. So what good are price guides really?

In the end it all comes down to what a buyer is willing to pay. I cannot believe what some are paying for Sherman. Who's wrong? Who's right? Who knows??!!

As for carrying a book around with you as you shop for Sherman, well, okay but all books become outdated in short time. Even our dollar doesn't buy today what it bought yesterday. So price guides are really quite irrelevant.

Personally, I like both books and refer to both of them often. The Masterpiece Collection offers a fantastic look at the range and styles of Sherman Jewellery, pieces I'll probably never afford to own. Its value is in helping me familiarize myself with all the variations on Sherman jewelry, and I'm sure even then, we can never cover them all.

Both books are a great investment and there are NEVER enough books on any subject for those who want to know more. Yes, there's a ton of info on the net, but it's sometimes a lot easier on the eyes to just look at a book.

Thanks to each of Valerie, Evelyn and Sandra for making their books available. I wish I had the money and expertise to produce books like these.

Robert Campbell said...

Hey folks, Rob Campbell from Dumpdiggers here. Evelyn Yallen was kind enough to send me a (signed) copy of the book Sherman Jewellery, The Masterpiece Collection, which I reviewed in some detail in an article entitled, Hunting Unsigned Sherman in the Dumpdiggers library. I mostly just reiterated what I learned in the book, but I did manage to capture some superb photos of this new reference manual.

And for the record, anyone who comments anonymously is playing 'hide and speak' with us, and so their opinions should be considered worth less. Not worthless, but worth less, just like unsigned Sherman.


Hi Robert

Thanks for leaving your comments and astute observations on this topic. I've visited your site and read your article. Love your viewpoint on anonymous postings. Couldn't agree more. Just wish you'd included a link to our blog here too as further information and reference for your Dumpdigger visitors LOL! Thanks for stopping by!

SassyD13 said...


I have just read this string of comments and, for the most part, have enjoyed the debate of signed vs. unsigned. Having said that, I was very unimpressed with the post slandering the new book “Sherman Jewellery: The Masterpiece Collection”. I LOVE this book. I have been collecting Sherman for about 3 years. I have turned over rocks, but have not been able to get my hands on a lot of the examples photographed in this book. I'm so glad there is a book that showcases the extent and scope of Sherman’s magnificent pieces. This book is a product of many years of collecting and deserves nothing but praise. I thank Sandra and Evelyn for sharing their collection with the world.



Couldn't agree more Sassy. Thanks for saying what most of us think.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know this is kind of an old post and I hope I am not repeating anyone. But I personally think from everything that I have researched on the web that there are no unsigned Sherman pieces. The other posters that see things as I do I feel have very good points. When it comes down to it...a little hang tag is never acceptable proof. It can be attached to anything. You could loop it onto a Nikon camera...that doesn't mean the camera is an authentic Sherman piece. In addition, as others have stated there are many many beautiful jewellery designers out there. Think about when you read a fashion magazine and they show some beautiful model dressed in a gorgeous outfit. Just because the shirt she is wearing is made by a couture company doesn't automatically mean that the purse, shoes, watch, belt and skirt are also made by the same couture company (no matter how well they coordinate and are similar in quality). A display that says "Jewels of Elegance" to me means that there are many beautiful displayed elegant jewels (that doesn't mean they are automatically Sherman just because they are beside a Sherman. Final note: just because something coordinates beautifully with another does not mean it's of the same maker.

Have a lovely day!

katherine said...

I have an usual color combination earrings and brooch set that I bought in a very rural Corner Gas setting town. They were in a snack sized ziplock amongst other children's dress up jewelry. I have about a dozen pieces of Sherman but having never seen a Sherman piece made up of 6 different colors with one of those having the ab and not having my glasses on I was sure when I glanced at the back of the earrings that they were signed When I got home I couldn't stop staring at the set. It was simply breathtaking. I took our my magnifying glass and was delighted to see the clip earrings were signed SHERMAN. A complete break from his conservative pieces. The earrings have a large brilliant cut round fushia pink stone surrounded 3/4 of the way around with one small round stone and 6 marquise shaped. The colors around it are: round - pale yellow, then the 6 marquise are: ab (in pale blue), olive/peridot, same fushia pink, pale yellow, lilac and lastly dark purple. The brooch has the exact same color combo - no more, no less, in an overall rectangular shape comprised of one exact same sized brilliant cut fushia pink stone as the earrings, two slightly smaller ones in the same cut but purple, a large oval in the ab pale blue. Mid sized marquise in purple and fushia, and a very large "emerald cut" rectangular lilac stone, following those there are 4 pear shapes, 2 marquis exactly the same size and cut as the earrings, 5 small round ones exactly the same size and cut as the earrings, and 2 baguette. In total there are 6 fushia pink, 5 olive/peridot, 4 liac, 4 dark purple, 3 pale yellow and 2 AB in pale blue. All the color hues and several sizes match EXACTLY to the earrings and the design is obviously done by someone extremely talented as it is put together both in color and shape as to be nothing short of a work of art. Not only that but when you butt the earrings up against the brooch on either side it looks like one long piece. Now, the brooch is unsigned, but it has the exact same thick silver plating, same prong shape as the earrings, plus only the large fushia pink round ones have lots of prongs on both the brooch AND the earrings while all the rest regardless of size and shape have 4 prongs. So tell me, what designer would bother to make the exact same quality stone cut, size, shape, hue and color combo to match these Sherman signed earrings? Particularly as this color combo is exceedingly rare? Wouldn't be all that viable really. This person would have had to sell it nearby to where the Sherman's were sold so they could be bought to be worn as a set. Also, the person who designed this brooch shows more artistic talent than that that went into the earrings. It would be more logical to think Sherman copied the brooch if we didn't know how talented Sherman was and would never stoop so low. No. Signed or not, this is a genuine Sherman brooch - makes no logical sense to see it any other way, imho.

sarah said...

I'd like to say that my mother purchased lots of Sherman in the 1960's for my grandmother. She would purchase the brooches and matching earrings and I'd like to let you know that the brooch is signed Sherman but the matching earrings are not signed at all and it was purchased at the exact same time as sold to her as a Sherman set at the jewelers. The matching earrings say Pat Pending with a number. So in conclusion. Not every Sherman piece was signed and that is a 100% FACT!

Anonymous said...

I am a new collector of Sherman and was alarmed to find out that there are lots of Sherman fakes out there! I am worried that some of my pieces are fakes and I would like to know if there is some fool proof way of authenticating my pieces at home. They are all signed but I've learned that a signature can be faked. Can anyone help me?


To our new collector ... I really can't advise how to spot a fake. I don't think Sherman has been "faked" as much as say, Schiaparelli or others. All you can do, as someone else suggested, is handle lots of Sherman. Become very familiar with Sherman "signatures" and look at those first. Study books, like "The Masterpiece Collection" and look for style elements that are particular to Sherman. I'd be glad if any of our other followers could add more to help you.

cpilger51 said...

to any collectors out there i have a signed sherman brooch that is red in colour.. the back is all black.. my grandmother worked at Eatons in the 40's and 50's and that is probably where it was purchased.. i read somewhere that they were sold in Eaton stores.. I am open to offers. if you want to see a picture you can email me at

cpilger51 said...

to all sherman collectors. i have a signed sherman brooch . red with a black back. probably from Eatons in Toronto. my gradnmother worked there in the 40s and 50s.. if anyone is interested in purchasing this or seeing a picture email me at

Phil Morris said...

I have made the mistake of buying the book, All That Glitters by the Valerie mentioned above. She only posts rather commom bracelets and common brooches. Very few pages overall of bracelets. I rather do not find her any dealer I would normally want to buy from. I have bought some very rare and complicated designs for Sherman and found some unsigned. There have been some of the Sherman family who seem to have very different recollections based on what they have written. There were not any manufacturers that I know of that would try to replicate some of the most complicated designs based on the difficulty alone. Valerie does not even come close to showing complicated signed Sherman in her book. Very poor book indeed. " Sherman Jewellery The Masterpiece Collection," is the only book I know of that is worth the little money that is wanted for it. I come from the prairies where we had Birks which sold Sherman, and it is easier to buy online than find customers who would have demanded Sherman. Contionental made some nice pieces but have seen very little to none that was complicated to manufacture. The writers of the Masterpiece Collection have also sold some of their book pieces to me that were signed and which I love. I am not an invester as much as a collector and I want to have a nice collection to pass down to my sister, hoping she will have a friend to help her sell in case she needs to, which seems iminent. Sherman Jewellery made many unsigned pieces. For instance very few of their pieces made of beads were signed. Often only the earrings were signed, and we know that in most sets, only the earrings were signed.