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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

HOW CAN YOU BE SURE IT'S JEWELRY by SHERMAN?


That's a tough one to answer. I used to be adamant on this subject: if it wasn't signed Sherman, I didn't buy it. And quite honestly, I still feel that way about Shermans and most designer vintage jewelry, especially since the vintage jewelry market is being penetrated by very authentic looking fakes.

It also doesn't help that in a reference and guide book titled "All That Glitters" by Valerie Hammond, she states emphatically that no Shermans were ever unsigned. She bases that statement on conversations she has held with the Sherman family who still reside in Quebec.

However, in conversations I've had with other Sherman collectors, there's quite a bit of disagreement on this subject since according to them, there were pieces with paper hang tags that came in the distinctive "Jewels of Elegance" box that Sherman used, shown in photo. Incidentally, if you come across a jewellery box like the one above, buy it! They themselves are collector's items. And if you can get Sherman jewellery in its original box, so much the better. We have only one like that: it's the stunning signed Sherman bracelet in its own box shown in this photo: But now back to the question of authenticity: as with all vintage designer jewelry, you need to learn to recognize the style and craftsmanship of a designer piece. Sherman was partial to slender navette stones. He liked alternating aurora borealis with clear swarovski crystals in similar shades. On bracelets, the clasp was usually hidden by stones so that the clasp became unseen when it was being worn.

As for his signature, he used either block lettering, often seen on the earlier earrings, or the very familiar script-style Sherman, with a big "S". Sometimes the signature was stamped right into a piece, but he also used an oval cartouche bearing that scripted signature. If you visit my SHERMAN JEWELRY SHOWCASE or OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE and type in "Sherman", you'll see lots of photos of the Sherman signature on the back of our authentic Sherman jewelry.

Bottom line, for me at least, I still prefer to buy a signed piece anytime over an unsigned piece ... and given the cost of Sherman, you should too!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

SURPRISE: THIS SHERMAN DIDN'T SELL FOR AS MUCH AS IT SHOULD HAVE!

In yesterday's blog, titled "THE MOST POPULAR SHERMAN COLORS", I told you about a fuschia Sherman set consisting of bracelet, brooch and earrings that was on auction on eBay. Well that auction just ended and much to my surprise, it didn't get the dollar I thought it would. After all, bidders on eBay have been almost going silly for fuschia or red Shermans in the last month or so, fetching not hundreds, but thousands of dollars.

So what happened? Why did this rather lovely set that I would have added to my collection go for only $212.49? (The winning bidder must be grinning from ear to ear!)
My guess is it had more to do with the time of day the auction ended ... 5:45 pm EST ... than it did with the set itself. That's close to dinner time for some of us while our neighbours on the west coast are still at work.

The other possibility is that this particular seller warned bidders that they'd have to pay taxes. For those of us in Ontario, that would add another 14% to the cost of the Sherman. Then add in shipping for another $13 - $15, and hey presto, that Sherman has become an expensive buy. And that's okay if you're only buying as a collector and money is no object: a set like this is well worth it. But it would stop those who buy to sell down the way. You see, like anything you hope to make money with, whether it's stocks or jewelry, you're always looking to buy low and sell high if you can.

In scouting around websites selling Shermans, I find the price range is extremely varied. Only a handful, like myself, have reasonable prices on Sherman, though I'm sure visitors to my SHERMAN JEWELLERY site who aren't familiar with how expensive Sherman Jewelry can be would probably find me expensive too. But let me tell you this: I've been floored by the prices I've seen charged not only on websites, but at heritage and antique shows. I went to one about a month back and well, I couldn't afford the Shermans I saw on display. I did purchase one set and
it's very lovely (pictured here ... click photo to see more views and read about it) but even it cost more than I wanted to pay. The rest, well forget it. In short, if you love Sherman jewelry and want to collect it or wear it, start saving now.

Monday, June 2, 2008

THE MOST POPULAR SHERMAN COLORS


Right now on Ebay, the set shown in the photo is on auction. I'm watching it, not because I want to try and win it but just out of curiosity. You see, this set will probably go for huge dollars for two reasons:

1) It's a 3-piece set

2) Its color: FUSCHIA

I don't usually draw attention to jewelry being sold by others since I have plenty of my own to sell, but if you're interested in investing in Sherman jewelry, an auction like this one is a good one to either bid on or at least watch.

Shermans in fuschia or red shades command the highest dollar. With reds, the dollar will be even higher if it's what is known as "SIAM RED". Be it earrings, a brooch, a bracelet, whatever, if it's SIAM RED, collectors want it and they'll pay for it. It's much the same with Sherman jewellery in fuschia. These colors are also hard to get simply because those who own them hold onto them. About a month back, I actually saw a set of Sherman jewelry, bracelet & necklace, go for over $7,000 on Ebay ... and they weren't even a perfect match. The match wasn't perfect but the colors were!

So are there any other colors of Sherman that are popular? Well all Sherman jewelry is highly collectible, but preferences for both those who wear Sherman and those who collect it are the deeper colors: Purple is rare and sought after. Deeper shades tend to be more popular than lighter colors. Blues are very common, easier to obtain. Also highly desirable and hard to get are the "Alexandrite" type stones that change color in different lighting situations. I have 2 such pieces available from my website at SHERMAN JEWELLERY SHOWCASE. They are absolutely gorgeous. My favourite is the one pictured in this post. Click on the photo to see other photos that show the color changes. It's magnificent!

While you're on my site, don't miss the exquisite Fuschia set that I'm also selling. It's a 3-piece set consisting of dangling earrings, necklace and brooch. It also has something else that Sherman collectors are always looking for: the backing is "japanned". That means that the backing has a black finish, meant to give even richer color to the jewelry. It's definitely a set that anyone who wants valuable Sherman and is willing to pay for it should be adding to the collection. Here's what I'm talking about:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION on JEWELLERY by SHERMAN

The Sherman Jewellery company was a baby boomer business i.e. it began operating in Montreal, Canada in 1947.

The "Jewels of Excellence" produced by Gustave Sherman's company have become so valuable because Sherman's goal was to use only the finest quality materials and stones available at the time. Sherman imported his "findings" as they are called, from the B.A. Ballou company in Rhode Island. The stones in Sherman pieces were made by Swarovski in Austria.

(Click photo above to see enlarged view. This is gorgeous!)

Another thing that set Sherman jewellery apart was the backings: rather than using chromium plating which was prone to peeling and chipping, Sherman used rhodium-plating. Rhodium comes from the platinum family of metals and is extremely durable. Durable is right! Some of my Shermans still have their original silvery shiny rhodium backing showing next to no wear. They look brand new!

Sherman's insistance on the highest quality made his pieces more expensive than other vintage jewelry of the time. But if they were expensive then, they have become even more so now. Sherman jewellery still fetches a high dollar today and is as much a collector's item as Miriam Haskell, Schiaparelli, Trifari, Schreiner, or Hobe or many others.

In future posts, I'll fill you in some more or just which pieces and colors are most in demand. While you're waiting, be sure to check out some of my gorgeous Sherman pieces at SHERMAN JEWELLERY SHOWCASE

DISCOVERING SHERMAN JEWELLERY: My Story

Blindsided by the gold rush!

(click photo for larger view)

Over a year ago, while selling on Ebay, I got caught up the "gold rush" ie. if you wanted to make money, you sold gold. Gold bracelets, rings, necklaces or scrap ... it didn't matter. You'd always find a buyer for your gold pieces!

So one Saturday, I headed out gold hunting at garage sales. Foolish me thinking anyone would sell gold at a garage sale! I hit the ritzier area of our city. Much to my surprise and delight, I found a lady selling gold, rings and some super sparkly stuff that was very beautiful but not of interest to me at that time.

I purchased a lovely vintage gold bracelet from her which took all the money I had on me and as I walked away, she said "You're not interested in any of the Shermans?" She looked incredulous when I said "no", I was just after gold. She shook her head, probably thinking I was passing up on the real gold: jewellery from vintage Canadian designer, Gustave Sherman.

Some months later, while surfing vintage designers on Ebay, I discovered why she shook her head in disbelief. Jewelry by Sherman was selling like hotcakes at prices I couldn't imagine folks would pay for pretty, but pre-loved (nice word for used or worn) swarovski crystals and rhinestones. I had to find out more ... and did I ever!

And that, dear reader, is what I hope to share with you in this new blog. Stay tuned! By the way, that gorgeous set shown in the photo is available from both my website at SHERMAN JEWELLERY SHOWCASE or via my SHOP AT RUBY LANE Lots more photos of this piece too in the RUBY LANE SHOP.