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fashion: feature


Exclusively Faux

‘Only your jeweller knows for sure’: Vivian G. Kelly meets Sharyn Fireman, a jewellery designer whose faux bijoux are at the top of their class


SHARYN FIREMAN is an iconoclast, no doubt about it. Raised in a very well-to-do, conservative, Midwestern family, Sharyn grew up in an environment in which bragging about labels and one’s money was verboten. These days, should you be lucky enough to get an invitation to dinner, you might find ‘a CEO who’s come in on his private plane and the gal who sold me my bag at Bergdorf at my table,’ she laughs, over a glass of wine at Grand Central Terminal’s Cipriani Bar.

Sharyn was recently in New York City for the jewellery trade shows at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. She took a breather from her busy show schedule and updated us on the latest developments, and showed us some of the latest pieces in her stunning Jewels-to-go Cubic Zirconium Collection. She is newly svelte after a two-month régime of three-times-weekly kickboxing. Like fashion designer Zang Toi, she is a tireless traveller, visiting boutiques and customers up and down the East Coast, as well as maintaining her homes in Boston and Miami Beach.

This redhead dame has done it all. She was Penny in Love of Life for one season, an interior designer, a General Merchandise Manager for R. H. Stern (she worked for Abe and Barbara Goodman) in Boston and was responsible for turning it into ‘a fashion store’. She’s also owned a custom bridal gown business in Boston, and an international telecom business with offices based in Delhi and Boston. To all of that, add a stint working for Sarah Fredericks, previously one of the most prestigious retail stores in the USA.

What she loves most about her current business: building a concept and building a trend. Her mission for this latest venture is clear. ‘The trend for elegant jewels [which European women have done for years] is not whether the items are real, but to establish a style, a chic, an über-trend in fashion.’

Her philosophy is simple. ‘Be comfortable enough with your own spirit and decide if a piece is right for you. Everyone has an inner diva, bring the inner diva out! You don’t have to be pretentious to have fun!’ There’s a motto to live by!

We first met Sharyn while running in the rain to reach the Funkshion Fashion Tents on Ocean Drive. Funkshion’s organizers had set-up an accessories’ trade show in the tents to showcase some of the accessories used in the evening fashion shows and to introduce exciting new resources, such as Jewels-to-go.

This redheaded dynamo divides her time between her homes in Boston and Miami Beach, all the while working on Jewels-to-go, her one-year old faux bijoux jewellery line. The line was born by necessity, one of those, ‘We should really …’ ideas. Sharyn and a group of her girlfriends were nervous about traveling with so much real jewellery.

She recalls, ‘[It] frankly put a damper on the weekend.’

Then and there, she resolved to start a line that would give everyone from socialites to the well travelled the opportunity to own wonderful pieces inspired by the most covetable original jewellery available. The line would be priced so that women could own one in every colour of, if they so chose. ‘It’s about fashion and trend,’ she explained while modelling two pieces set in sterling silver and cubic zirconium inspired by floral platinum and diamond pieces created in 1945 for the Duchess of Windsor.

Sharyn travels the world over looking for wonderful designs. Once she’s found them, she has the big stones set in Antwerp or Israel and then produced in China to keep the price down. She let us in on a little-known secret: ‘What you should know is that anytime an important piece is created, it is first made in cubic zirconium. When a cubic is properly cut, it is flawless.’ Another knock-out designs she showed us was a Red Carpet worthy necklace weighing-in at 250 carats set in platinum one could wear with a matching 100-carat bracelet.

Her parting words to us are hard to argue with, ‘You can be stylish in my faux bijoux for in this case, pay the mortgage, put food on the table and swathe yourself in exquisite "diamonds".’ Thanks to Sharyn you can have it all. I took Sharyn at her word, and decided to unleash my inner diva: I’ve worn her eye-popping six-carat diamond Palm Beach tennis bracelet (Graff-style) everywhere. I’ve been rewarded by innumerable compliments from women who stopped me and begged for just a look. I may have to start carrying Jewels-to-go business cards. •



The Estate pieces range from $500 to $3,500. Custom pieces are also available upon request. Many clients actually prefer wearing their Jewels-to-go pieces, which are set with Russian cubic zirconia in either platinum or 18 ct gold or sterling silver. Says Sharyn, ‘It’s fitting to have critical pieces when necessary. It has served the clients well who have had precious pieces stolen or lost for reproduction purposes, for insurance and to have for travel.’


Where to get it

Trunk shows at upscale boutiques all around the country, online at, by telephone at 1 786 566-0521, or by contacting Sharyn at The line is also available at fine specialty stores including the shops at the Hotel Rita in South Beach, Fla.



Fun facts about Jewels-to-go
Cubics v. diamond: a cubic zirconia is a mined crystal; it is not made in the lab. CZs are mined from the top of the ground, which is why they’re pure colour D crystal, the purest crystal you can find. By contrast, Swarovski crystals are man-made.
The advantage: CZs can be turned into any colour. They are put into a chamber and the colour is blown in.
Fashion inspiration: kudos to Coco Chanel who began the trend when she urged the Duke of Vedura to create jewellery that was fun and mixed her real with “fashion fakes”.
A pledge to exclusivity: Sharyn takes down every client’s name and what they have purchased from her in a database. No more than two dozen are made of any one piece. This level of customer service ensures that a woman is sure to be the only one wearing a certain piece within her circle. RTW houses might well want to take note of Sharyn’s system as many women have had the unfortunate experience of walking into an affair only to find that their friend is wearing the identical dress they paid several thousand dollars for.
The clientèle: Sharyn treats the pieces in her collection with as much care as she does the real high-end jewellery pieces she actually owns in spades. ‘The secret to wearing this stuff is to keep it very clean. Clean it in a little bit of Joy and warm water. No Windex please: CZ is a mineral and it will cloud over time.’
What’s new: bracelets in the likeness of Buccelati, Bulgari, Cellini and our personal favourite, ‘Palm Beach diamonds by the yard’ (the “diamonds” are the size of silver dollars).
Trend watch: Sharyn watches RTW trends. For fall–winter 2006–7, she intuits that taupe and brown colours will be very strong.


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