Sterlé was a major award winning designer notable for his innovative approach to jewelry design using baguette-cut diamonds and colored gemstones in sweeping, curling lines. His love of nature played out in his favorite motifs: birds, flowers, leaves, arrows, feathers and bows. Sterlé’s designs epitomized the dynamics of 1950s design and were wrought with great movement and energy. Aside from the sheer beauty and grace of Sterlé's work, his greatest contribution to the jewelry industry was the invention of a gold plaiting technique called Til d'ange, permitting the creation of fringes, manes, tails, and flower accents.
Born into a family of financiers and orphaned after his father’s disappearance during WWI, Pierre Sterlé learned the craft of jewelry from his uncle and guardian who owned a jewelry shop on the rue de Castiglione in Paris. He showed great talent and motivation and at the age of 29 opened his own workshop the rue Sainte Anne. There he designed and manufactured jewelry for some of the leading houses in Paris, among them Boucheron, Chaumet and Ostertag. Soon Sterlé established his reputation as a gifted jeweler and gained a loyal following. By1939 Sterlé produced jewelry exclusively for individuals.
In 1945 Sterlé opened a third floor boutique at 43 Avenue de l’Opera, near the Place Vendôme. He viewed himself as an exclusive designer, and therefore did not want to have a ground level boutique where his jewels would be displayed to the general public. Greeting his customers in the elite atmosphere of his exclusive boutique, Sterlé entertained and designed for leading fashion and society women of the day.
Sterlé created pieces that were considered revolutionary by his contemporaries for their creative originality and superior technical expertise. His favorite motifs included birds, wings, feathers, animals, and flowers. Sterlé designs were executed in a baroque, asymmetrical style and were typically embellished with a combination of precious and semi-precious gemstones. In 1957 Sterlé invented a gold mesh plating technique called Til d'ange which he used to create gold rope fringing.
Despite being an iconic jewelry designer in the 1940’s and 50’s, by 1961 Sterlé was facing financial difficulties and was forced to sell numerous designs from his inventory to Chaumet. He also sold a limited number of designs to be produced by Montreaux, a NYC jeweler. The following decade in 1976 Sterlé closed the business and joined Chaumet as a designer, later creating a line of “Oriental Style” jewelry for the firm.