Art Nouveau jewellery by Philippe Wolfers
Art Nouveau jewellery by Philippe Wolfers. Belgian jeweler, sculptor and glassware designer Philippe Wolfers (1858-1929) was the son of Louis Wolfers, head of the renowned Belgian court jewelers Wolfers Freres. He trained as a jeweler at the family business and became adept at all aspects of jewellery making. His skill was noticed by the Royal Court and he became one of the first jewelers to use the new medium of ivory from the Congo at the request of King Leopold II and created the famous ‘Album Congolais’.
In 1889 he had a villa built in La Hulpe and moved there with his team of jewelers. His colleague at Wolfers Brothers, Isidore de Rudder, had urged him to follow his artistic instincts and branch out from the family business and pursue his passion for art nouveau.
He spent the years to 1905 using his extensive grounds to study nature and to create a beautiful series of 109 unique jewels. Each jewel was given a name and was seen as the ultra modern pinnacle of art nouveau jewellery.
He was less prolific in his work than other masters of his period such as Rene Lalique. Unique series established him as one of the truly great master craftsmen of art nouveau jewellery, and is considered some of the best work of the 20th century.
This jewel titled ‘Huppe’ is number 134 from the Ex. Unique series. The catalog entry by Philippe Wolfers states that Huppe was made with a pearl, though it is possible that this opal drop is the original.