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Vintage Sherman jewellery has glitz and sparkle
- by Lorraine Syratt


Collectors of vintage costume jewellery have a penchant for the rhinestone pieces of the 1940's to the 1980's, especially those pieces made by Canadian fashion pioneer, jewellery designer Gustave Sherman. Collectors see his designs as sparkling wearable art. And his original pieces are as beloved today as they were in the mid 20th century.

It's the sparkle that draws the collector. Sherman jewellery has always been made with the finest Austrian Swarovski crystals. Careful attention to detail was given to each piece. The stones, whether navettes or marquise in shape were prong-set. They were never glued in place.

Sherman Jewellery
Highly collectible Sherman jewellery pieces from Calgary’s Heirlooms Antiques.

These heavily polished pieces were either gold-plated, made of rhodium or japanned metal. Rhodium plating was used in most cases. And the majority of the pieces were signed Sherman with a long S.

Sherman, who operated out of Montreal from 1947 to 1981, produced all kinds of jewellery including wide sparkling bracelets, large earrings, huge brooches and necklaces and they were often grouped into sets.

Numerous stones, brilliant in colors of Siam red, pink, purple, amber and fuchsia, are clear while others have an iridescent coating that produces the famous Sherman aurora borealis light effect.

Sherman Jewellery
Vintage brooches designed by Gustav Sherman

Suites of Siam red Sherman pieces can cost well over $1,000. And Siam red brooches usually begin at $100. It's possible to find other items in a variety of colors for less than $100, but it can be an expensive collectible.

Antique shops and antique malls are the best places to look for Sherman jewellery, and if the collector is lucky, she may make an exciting rare discovery at a garage sale.

Since the company's closure, the trade in Sherman jewellery has continued. It has become very collectible and wearable. The brooches add sparkle to a winter coat. The earings light up the face. And a Sherman bracelet shimmers around the wrist. Worthy pieces to add to any jewellery box.

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