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jewelry glossary

Antieke juwelen glossarium
(verklarende woordenlijst)

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Wolfers Frères

The leading Belgian jewelry firm and the Belgian Court Jeweller.

The firm dates back to Guillaume Wolfers, a journeyman jeweller from Vienna who came to Brussels in 1841. His son Louis Wolfers established in 1850 a workshop of craftsmen from twenty guilds; it designed and created gold and silver jewelry.

His sons Philippe (1858-1929), Max (1859-1953), and Robert (1867-1959) joined the family business and started their retail store in 1890; it was moved in 1911 to Rue d'Arenberg and later to its present address at 82 Avenue Louise.

Philippe became interested in Japanese ware in 1873, and in 1890 started his own workshop; from 1893 he started to make articles with ivory imported from the Belgian Congo (now Zaire). He became a leading exponent of the Art Nouveau style; his pieces were usually dated and signed. After 1905 he became occupied with sculpture and silverware, and by 1910 he ceased making jewelry.

The next generation that carried on the jewelry business included several cousins:

  • Marcel (1886-1976)
  • Lucien (1891-1969)
  • Raymond (1893-1975)
  • Willy (1895- )
  • Gustave-Louis (1905-44)

They have been succeeded by the following generation (sons of Willy Wolfers):

  • Freddy (b. 1920)
  • Jean (b. 1922)

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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