The idea to write a book about Sherman jewellery came to me and to my good friend Sandra Caldwell, a fellow Sherman enthusiast and collector about a year ago. But … how to go about doing that? As the saying goes, if we knew then what we know now, we might not have pursued it.
Step one: find a publisher. We quickly found out that might be easier said than done. Costume jewelry is a niche market, and a book about a specific topic narrows the market even more.
That led us to step two: decide to publish it ourselves. We investigated a number of online options and realized they were better suited to photo books, or projects with fewer than 50 pages. We envisioned this as a 200+ plus book – and those wouldn’t do.
We asked for quotes, we looked at a variety of different printers before settling on a Canadian company renowned for the quality of their work, particularly working with images. So now we were not only authors in the making, we were also fledgling publishers.
Step three was actually deciding what should go into the book and how, and how that should translate in terms of design. We were cheerfully told by a local camera store that the photography would be a snap. Uh… not so much. Rhinestones reflect, refract, and generally do not photograph easily, if your goal is to show true colour representation. We had to get creative in a way that essentially broke all the rules, mixing light sources, using unconventional camera angles, and trying to get uncooperative earrings, bracelets and pins to stay put.
Step four was laying out the book – and we had to learn fast. But learn we did.
Step five? Getting the word out to collectors and jewellery dealers that the book was coming. We waited until we were certain that it would be completed (with our production schedule interrupted by a combined total of five kids under the age of 12, summer vacation and one knee surgery, we were hedging our bets!)
The ingredients? Passion, persistence, not a little bit of fear, and above all, determination. We joke that we could teach a course on how NOT to publish a book. The result? A project that we are pleased shows others why we collect, what we collect, and more importantly, the majesty of Sherman designs in pieces that we believe are more uncommon and perhaps even rare.
So … to get back to my title… when is a book not a book? In this case, Sherman Jewellery: The Masterpiece Collection represents months of learning, laughing, sometimes tearing our hair out and finally, being able to share a true passion with the rest of the world. It’s much more than a book to us and we hope for those who buy it that it offers a window into the mind and creations of this amazing designer.