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Opening Saturday April 6, 2-4pm.

Introductions at 2:30 by Clare McCain, Trudy Gallagher and Tracy Austin. Everyone is invited to drop by, admission is free and there is an elevator.

This exhibition brings together the art work of alumni and faculty from the fashion department of the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design and an exquisite private collection of costume jewellery by the mid-century Montreal designer, Gustave Sherman.

The Designers

Laura Macfarlane

Nightfall,  2023

Taffeta, cotton fabric for the vest, taffeta ribbon, chain, and buttons

Echo (Jing) Chen

Lonely Planet, 2023 Echo (Jing) Chen

Horsehair canvas, bemberg lining

Nicole Daigle

The Meadows Road, 2023

Silk brocade, cotton, velvet, kasha lining

Sherry Kinnear

Asymptomatic, 2023

Synthetic fabrics, leather, metal, paint, beads, sequins, thread, wire, human hair

Gustave Sherman

Gustave Sherman, Jewels of Elegance

“Costume” or “Fashion” Jewellery was popularised in the 18th century with the development of a hard lead glass called paste and marcasite, small cut pieces of faceted steel or pyrite set in silver, which became affordable alternatives to precious stones. By the mid 20th century, French designer Coco Chanel declared “that really elegant women were those who could mix together different jewellery, real and fake, suitable for each occasion … with the aim to complete an outfit.” This lent greater legitimacy to non-precious jewellery, with designers conceiving new styles, using new materials and discovering new possibilities with colour. Restrictions during WWII to certain metals changed the production of jewellery as much as it did fashion. Changing lifestyles for women, who were increasingly part of the workforce, the influence of Hollywood glamour and the weakening of European influences in general during the war years, led to the production of the first completely American look of dressy costume jewellery.

Between 1947 and 1982, Canada’s most renowned costume jeweller, Gustave Sherman, pioneered the manufacturing of high quality, Canadian made costume jewellery that rivalled the best being made at that time. Using the finest Swarovski crystals and later their beads and plating he became known for his sophisticated three dimensional designs, unexpected colour combinations, shape and style of crystal, and quality settings.

Sherman Jewellery has always been synonymous with quality. Sherman designed styles which were intricate and complex, full of contrasting lines, shapes and colour. His pieces required large numbers of crystals all of which were prong set by hand and the settings double plated. Another characteristic of Sherman design is the three-dimensionality achieved through his use of layers and domed structures.  He offered a range of prices by creating different sized pieces and it isn’t uncommon to have one item from a set signed and the others left unsigned.  The cuff bracelet was a unique Sherman design, there are three in Clare McCain’s collection, and they have always been the most desirable pieces. 

One of the reasons he was so well known across Canada was because he sold his work through all the large department and luxury jewellery stores like Birks, Eatons and Peoples but also in jewellery stores in smaller centres across the country.

Gustave Sherman was a son of first-generation parents who fled Lithuania to escape persecution. Although he had no formal creative training, in 1947 he worked as a jewellery salesman, eventually opening Sherman Costume Jewellery in Outremont, Montreal. By the 1950s the company was thriving and Sherman was Canada’s most recognized costume jeweller.


April 6, 2024
May 18, 2024
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