Friday, September 06, 2013

Vintage Sherman Jewelry Gallery: Identification via Example

Vintage Sherman Jewelry Gallery: Identification via Example

So, you think you have a Sherman piece and you want information to confirm or deny that. Or perhaps you're a collector and you know the jewelry well and you just want some eye candy. Or maybe you're just interested in what makes Sherman jewelry so special anyway? (scroll down for pictures)

This post hopes to give you either the answers to your questions, the eye candy you desire, or the information you're looking for. It's a big one so sit back and enjoy this gallery of past pieces from Vintage Jewelry Girl and my analysis of what makes Sherman jewelry what it is.

First, I am not a Sherman expert and I don't own the latest book on the company and its jewels (yet). However, I have been doing this for a while and consider my "Sherman eye" quite refined. I'm a Canadian resident, jewelry enthusiast, and seller, who has seen my fair share of Sherman throughout the years in person. Your comments are welcome and encouraged!

Sherman Jewelry

Sherman was a Canadian (Montreal) company which produced costume jewelry of exceptional quality most commonly in Austrian crystal, either of the rhinestone or bead variety. According to Illusion Jewels, it was in existence from 1947-1981 and bore at least 3 signatures. SHERMAN in all caps, Sherman in script, and Sherman with STERLING in all caps underneath it. The company logo, “made to last a lifetime,” was evident in the heavily gold-plated, rhodium-plated, and japanned settings with the highest quality crystals which were ordered according to Gustave Sherman's exacting specifications. Because of this, pieces are recognizable by the brilliance of the stones as well as the components commonly used in the jewelry. Sherman pieces were expensive in their day and remain so through the collectible market. Sherman jewelry ceased to exist in 1981 and Gustave Sherman passed away in 1984. Please see Collector's Weekly for more information.

The following is a gallery of vintage Sherman jewelry I have had throughout the years. I hope you enjoy the show of the beauty that is Sherman! HINT: Click each image to make it bigger. It's worth it!

Sherman Gallery

People collect jewelry for many different reasons. Here is one of mine. This is my Grandma's jewelry box complete with vintage Sherman brooch and earring set and necklace. This started my love for shiny things and the connection to my grandma started my love for vintage items which are connected to people and times gone by.

This set is in a highly collectible color called Siam red which brings some of the highest prices in Sherman jewelry. It's actually a darker and deeper red than the image shows.

This piece is a prime example showing the thin navette stones which Sherman so often used and cluster element at the top, also seen repeatedly in Sherman designs.

Here, you can see the back of the cluster which shows that the stones are open-set. This type of backing is also seen on pieces by Schreiner. 

This next piece is a flower design which is common to Sherman jewelry. This piece, however, has some unusual grey striped stones which I haven't ever seen in any jewelry before ever!

The next two photos show a light pink Sherman brooch and earring set along with the signature on the brooch. This would be considered a less desirable piece because of the less interesting design, however the crystals are still of the utmost quality.

 Next is a Sherman necklace in yellow. Even simple designs like this can cost upwards of $100 due to quality of materials and collectability of the brand name.

You can see by the image of the back, the heavy gold plating and the components used, including extender chain which makes the necklace adjustable. 

This piece, which has unusually brilliant crystals compared to other jewelry of this style, would be another lower valued item, however, still coveted due to its brilliance and quality. The center stone only looks dark due to my lack of photography skills.

The same comments about the last item can be made about these super sparkly clear crystal Sherman earrings.

Sherman yellow screwback earrings with "keystone" crystals.

An example of higher end Sherman earrings. Brilliant, big, and gorgeous!

Here you can see the heavy rhodium plating on the earrings.

Sherman brilliant topaz brooch with aurora borealis stones and little floret earrings. Little florets are common to Sherman jewelry designs. 

Sherman clear crystal necklace in super brilliant aurora borealis crystals.

Back of the necklace. Notice the elements on the end. These "rhinestones interspersed with loop elements" in addition to the "J" hook clasp are common to Sherman designs and serves to make the piece adjustable.

Here, you can see the same elements in another Sherman necklace.

The SHERMAN in all caps signature, on the earrings shown above, can be seen here.

And this is the script signature on the necklace with a close-up of the adjustable chain element.

Sherman brilliant clear bracelet with fold-over clasp and safety chain.

The crystals are amazing!

An example of a wider Sherman clear crystal bracelet utilizing many thin navette stones.

Beaded Sherman Jewelry

Beaded jewelry is something Sherman commonly made. Here is an exquisite example of a multi-strand bracelet with faux pearls and red crystals.

Signature on the bracelet.

This is what I believe was the matching necklace, although unsigned.

I had these earrings along with the bracelet. I'm not completely certain they were a match but they looked incredible together.

Signature on the back of the earrings.

Unsigned Sherman Jewelry

Which brings us to the discussion of the unsigned. There is plenty of reliable evidence that points to the existence of unsigned Sherman jewelry. If the piece didn't have a place for the signature to be added, one might be added by paper tag, making the worn vintage piece appear unsigned. Here are some examples to illustrate that point.

The academic consensus (as well as my own) holds that many Sherman pieces were unsigned, including smaller crystal necklaces like the one shown below. Elements that lead me to make the attribution to this as a Sherman piece are: 1. Brilliance of stones that are unmistakable to a trained eye in person, 2. Use of the same adjustable rhinestone and loop element seen in many pieces above, 3. Heavy rhodium plating and exquisite quality as shown in all three photos.

Another example is this brilliant green crystal set which bore a signature on the earrings only. Beaded necklaces are commonly unsigned because they only had a paper hang tag which was later removed.

I find this piece unusual because of the diamond-shaped element at the closure.

Here is another example of the same type of thing. The silver coated crystal earrings are signed but the necklace is not.

This next image shows the "J" hook clasp with a single crystal navette element decorating it which is common to Sherman jewelry. Also notice the three navette crystal element which connects the three strands.

Here is another unsigned piece that I believe is Sherman. First, the crystals are unlike any I have seen on other unsigned beaded necklaces (see other photos). Second. The piece is adjustable and has the crystal navette decorative element on the clasp. What do you think?

Also, these earrings appear to be unsigned Sherman. The crystals are incredibly brilliant, there is the use of thin navette stones, and the tall slender sprigs are signature of Sherman jewelry. Opinions?

Here is an old blog post with some other pieces I've had a long with a bit of additional information and some explanation regarding color. 

This ends today's lesson. 

I hope it was helpful and inspires some conversation on the topic! 


  1. Maddy1:26 PM

    I have some of my mothers vintage jewelry that looks very much like some of the Sherman pieces you show. Mine are not signed. Is there another way to tell if they are really Sherman pieces?

  2. Hi Maddy! There is no way to tell for sure if your pieces are Sherman. Some very educated people in the field would even disagree that there are any unsigned Sherman pieces because there is information that any unsigned pieces were actually made by someone else. However, in my extensive experience with this designer, all unsigned pieces I have had are of the EXACT same exceptional quality and there is no difference between the signed and unsigned. Also, I've had matching sets where one item in the set was unsigned. So, although there is no way to tell, quality and construction shown and mentioned in the photos here is a good indicator if your piece is a Sherman design in my opinion.

  3. Anonymous9:58 AM

    I have 3 signed pieces and cannot find their value. Where should I look for this info?

  4. Vintage Collector7:31 PM

    Great post! There is some really cool stuff here. Keep up the great work on this blog!

  5. I have a signed Sherman set..Necklace and earrings... Gorgeous pieces.. Topaz and Citrine... Have not been able to find anything comparable to the desing of these pieces... looking to find out more info on it, but can't find anything, I am interested in the value as well as history of it...any help would be appreciated.

  6. I have a gorgeous Signed Sherman earring and necklace set.... with tag and velvet gift box... it is citrine and topaz in colour and I have not found anything comparable to it. I am looking for info and a value on this, but cannot find anything or anyone to help me. any suggestions ..?

  7. Would the signature (Caps vs other) indicate a closer estimation of time/date?

  8. Hello, where is a good place to get my Sherman jewelry appraised? Thanks, Jennifer

  9. @frypan1968 You can contact me through Facebook or my website and I can give you an idea of value. FB: Website:

  10. I can't seem to respond to anyone on this post anymore so I will try to answer your questions here.

    1. Valuing Sherman jewelry
    a) Look for similar pieces on Ruby Lane, SOLD Ebay auctions, or in Google images. It's a difficult process for someone who is new to vintage jewelry because sellers can price an item however they want. You must do your research and find reputable sites with reputable sellers. I recommend of course because it's my site! :-) Just email me through there if you have a question.
    b) Find a reputable seller locally to ask.
    c) Buy one of the Sherman books on the market and educate yourself on the company and the value of individual pieces. It varies according to design, color, and rarity!

    We will appraise your Sherman jewelry for you. We charge a fee for this service. Please contact us through the website for details.

  11. Thank you for sharing wonderful vintage jewellery designs .

  12. I was 6...I found an old hat in a bin with a hat pin sticking out of it...a large aurora borealis crystal...from that moment I adored AB in all colours ...Sherman specialised in the use of these crystals...nothing else quite like them! I have a small collection now and never tire of looking at them...

  13. AB is mesmerizing in't it?

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  15. Hello, Thank you for such invaluable information. In my recent purchase of an antique collectors estate sale. I was blessed with an extremely rare Sherman AB cuff bracelet. I've tried searching online for any information on this piece and could only find 1 article from RUBYLANE that was from a few years ago. I've added this piece to my own blog and I hope you do not mind that I referenced your article above. If you have anymore information on the piece that I have, would be greatly appreciated. It can be viewed here along with your article.

    1. Hi! Great piece you have! Feel free to email me if you would like more information. I can give some brief info and I also do appraisals if you're interested. I don't want to link my email here but you can contact me through any of my pages at the top of this blog. Take care! Jo-Ann

  16. Anonymous4:37 AM

    Hello. I just inherited a beautiful crystal Sherman broche just wondering if I can put in my sonic jewelry cleaner?

    1. Hi. I don't think it's preferable to put rhinestone items in a sonic jewelry cleaner. You'll probably find that the stones will fall out and I imagine the item could become scratched.