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Friday, July 11, 2008

TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY AN UNSIGNED SHERMAN?


I was recently very pleased to have Valerie Hammond, author of the book "All that Glitters", a reference and value guide to Sherman jewellery comment on one of my posts. In her post, Valerie reiterated her comments about the authenticity of unsigned jewelry that is purported to be Sherman. Here's what Valerie wrote on this subject:

I was recently assured during conversations with members of the family that there were absolutely, never, ever any unsigned pieces of Sherman produced by the company at any time. The family is most emphatic about this point. That means no unsigned earrings with signed brooches, no unsigned bracelets with necklaces. There are dealers who sell "unsigned" Sherman, believing that only part of a Parure may have carried that distinctive signature."

If that's truly the case, then how on earth do we explain sets that are obvious matches like the one shown in this post? The earrings are signed "Sherman". The necklace is not! Yet they are a match! I own this set. It's the only set I have where one piece is not signed Sherman since I make it a rule to never buy unsigned Shermans. I didn't realize the necklace in this piece wasn't signed until I got it. It came from an estate of a Sherman collector! And there's no denying the pieces are identical.

I've mentioned elsehwere in this blog that supposedly some Sherman sets came with a hang tag on one piece of a set. Could this be true? Many believe this is true. Yet the Sherman family has told Valerie Hammond that this cannot be. Who are we, the buyers and collectors to believe?

In her book, Valerie also states that conjecture is that "at some point during the company's life, designs, moulds and findings were removed from the building and used elsewhere for the manufacturing of copies." If this is true, then perhaps that "unsigned" Sherman is a copy and not authentic and is now coupled with a signed piece. Gee I wish someone besides Valerie knew more about this subject and could help us clarify this issue which is such a sore point between buyers, sellers and collectors of Sherman jewelry.



So while we're on this subject, on the left is another supposed set of Sherman currently being auctioned on eBay. (Click photo to visit the auction) The vendor states: "Earrings are signed Sherman, necklace is a definitive match (and is as expected, not signed)"

As expected??!! Oh boy! Now look what's happening: now we are having sellers claim this is "expected"! I don't think so! Quite honestly, this makes me mad. It's one thing for sellers to say one piece is signed and the other isn't but they're an obvious match. It's another to say we should expect that one of the pieces not be signed. Rubbish! We should expect both pieces to be signed if it's authentic Sherman. This auction will be very interesting to watch.

And by the way, do yourself a favour if you're serious about collecting Sherman jewellery. Buy Valerie's book!

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