Friday, September 5, 2008
The battle rages on: is it a Sherman or isn't it? I listed this gorgeous set in my SHOP AT RUBY LANE yesterday. Now those of you who follow my blog know that I'm a bit of stickler for buying only Shermans that are signed "Sherman" for the simple reason that you don't have to prove whether it is or it isn't! Given that according to members of the Sherman family, no Shermans were ever unsigned (see Valerie Hammond's book, "All that Glitters") what do you do when you come across a set like this, fresh from an estate sale of a lady who was an avid Sherman collector, sold to you by a reputable estate seller's firm, and then you discover only the earrings are signed! So is it a Sherman or isn't it?
Well a blind man at midnight can see when you look at this set, that the earrings are a perfect
match to the necklace. The photos are one thing: screens can have different colors. But when you look at the actual items with the naked eye, there's just no way they didn't come together in the first place.
Just after I listed this yesterday, a fellow Sherman collector emailed me and asked where did all this talk of signed and unsigned Shermans originate. I told her what I knew. Now she's been collecting Shermans for years and here was her response to my explanation:
"This is fascinating, Viga. We all know Sherman quality is distinctive. The stones are superior, but I think the metalwork is even more telling. So few manufacturers equalled the quality of Sherman"s metalwork, including most of the really high-end companies. Boucher did, for example, but Boucher designs were so different from Sherman, it's hard to imagine the two being confused. So when you find an unsigned piece that is equal in quality and exactly matches a signed Sherman piece, it's hard to imagine they're not part of a true set, especially if it's one of the more unusual Sherman designs. I have one unsigned piece that has a really distinctive stone and an unusual setting for Sherman. But I have a signed set with the same unusual setting and another signed piece with the same unusual stone. And when I say unusual, I don't just mean for Sherman - other than these two pieces, I have never seen this stone in any other jewellery. Nobody will ever convince me the unsigned piece isn't Sherman. I can believe their intention was to sign all pieces, but mistakes happen, and it's harder for me to believe that they were 100% successful than it is to believe that some pieces made it through without the signature.
I don't know of any Canadian company that came even close in quality to Sherman - certainly not Jay Flex/Jay Kel, Triad, or Continental. Not even their very best equals Sherman. And the Americans STILL don't know Sherman, so it's hard to believe an American company was producing unsigned look-alikes. So who was creating these pieces that are identical in design and equal in quality, if it wasn't Sherman itself?"
Well what do you think of my associate's comments? I found myself agreeing with her. I can no longer hold my rigid stance on this topic. What I have for sale above is a true Sherman, even if only the earrings are signed. I've heard and read that some later Shermans had one piece in a set signed while a hang tag was attached to the other piece. That makes sense. And of course, over the years, if the owner was wearing that Sherman, the hang tag would have been removed and lost ages ago.
Do you own a Sherman set where only one piece is signed? Why not leave a comment for us here and tell us how you came across your Sherman and how you feel about this very controversial subject. And if you're not too busy, do stop by my site at SHERMAN JEWELLERY SHOWCASE and take a look at some wonderful new additions to my collection. More coming soon too!