E Wolfe & Co.
E. Wolfe & Co was established in 1850 by Johann Jacob Wolff (also known as J.J. Wolff) in Bedford Square, London. His workshop was a wholesale trade shop for the London jewelers such as Hancocks & Co. and Garrard. As the business grew he entered into two successive partnerships but by 1862 he was alone again until his death in 1869 when his nephew Ernest Wolff took control. Ernest continued to build and was soon employing over fifty craftsmen. In 1902 they received their first significant Royal commission when Carrington & Co. requested they make the coronation crown for Queen Alexandra. This was the first crown to be set with the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Orders for tiaras from Europe were received on a regular basis directly, or on behalf of other jeweler companies. Their archives show they created over 1000 tiara's. They also mounted the famous diamonds Cullinan III and IV into the brooch known as ‘Granny’s Chips’ by the Queen. The last member of the Wolff family to run the business was Monty Wolfe (he changed the second f to an e). He decided to sell it in 1932 and two of the designers stepped forward to buy the firm between them. William Cornelius and William Davies had both joined the company after World War I in need of work. Davies had moved from Birmingham to London and moved in with Cornelius before both getting jobs with Monty Wolfe. They began traveling to Paris to study and research jewelry design. Cornelius and Davies both borrowed money from family in order to buy E.Wolfe & Co. from Monty. The family loaded the money to make the purchase interest free but were required to employ their younger brothers. World War II started and this stopped jewelry production at the time. The jewelers began making parts for the war effort until a bomb blew out the windows at the firm. A diamond had been uncovered in the glass from windows being blown out and this stone helped finance new windows so the company could continue to work. Alan Cornelius was called for service for the war and after the war eventually traveled to the States where the company brought their styles with them. Alan’s son Richard joined his father and grandfather in the business and continued building strong relationships with both private and business clients. In the 1980’s the workshop moved to Hatton Garden. Richard was joined by his daughter Victoria who is the fourth generation of Cornelius at E.Wolfe & Co.