E.WOLFE & CO
E. Wolfe & Co is a family run business, established in London in 1850 and is still making jewellery to this day. They are most famous for creating exquisite animal brooches and jewellery, with diamonds and coloured stones. In the 19th century they were known for making tiaras, which were worn by royalty. At the 2003 Tiara Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, fifty percent of the tiaras on display were made by E. Wolfe & Co.
Emeralds are said to be the gemstone of good fortune, healing and fertilty according to the various cultures which have revered them over the centuries. They are a variety of the beryl family, coloured green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium, a family which also includes aquamarine. Beryl scores 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. The word “emerald” comes from the Greek ‘smaragdos’ meaning green stone.
The emerald-cut is a type of step cut, similar to the baguette, with a rectangular or square outline, truncated corners and stepped facets. A classic cut with a subtle beauty and elegance, emerald-cut diamonds display less fire than round brilliant cut diamonds but tend to have more dramatic flashes of light. This cut is reserved for stones of a very high quality and value, as low clarity and colour appear far more noticeable to the eye.Although the style of cut was widely used for coloured stones throughout the Victorian period, it was only in the 1920s with the beginning of the new Art Deco style that the emerald-cut began to be used for diamonds. With the new fashion for clean lines and dramatic geometric shapes, jewellery designers required a corresponding style of diamond cut. Emerald-cut diamonds became very popular for engagement rings, particularly in solitaire diamond rings as they provide an effortless art deco look with minimal embellishment. They also feature in more elaborate Art Deco cluster rings and were set with similarly cut coloured stones in two stone and three stone rings.
A French term used to describe jewellery that has been set in such a way that it trembles when touched. This is mostly seen in 18th and 19th century jewellery. The movement is particularly effective in diamond set jewels as they shimmer the light beautifully when trembled.
There are numerous different enamelling techniques that have been developed throughout the centuries, each producing a different and individual result. However, all the techniques involve the fusing of coloured glass to metal that leaves a layer of smooth, polished colour.
Enamelling itself is a highly skilled craft which takes a great degree of control. A combination of potassium oxide, quartz sand, iron oxide and borax is ground together into a powder. Different metal oxides can be added to create different colours. These are then made into a paste and applied in a manner similar to paint. When it has dried the piece is fired in a kiln with temperatures rising to between 700 and 900 degrees Celsius. This is one of the most vital stages of the process and it is important for the kiln to remain at an even temperature. When the piece has cooled it is then sanded and polished.