TRIED AND TRUE

BY BRIGITTE SURETTE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

“My parents put their heart and soul into Gold Creations,” Elizabeth Wolfe Hudson says. “Their attention to detail and care was instilled in all of us from a young age. It carries over to everything in our lives. It’s our brand and our legacy.”

An enduring legacy aptly describes what the Wolfes created for their children, who understand the importance of that commitment to quality.

Hudson, marketing manager for the company and the third of four children of Gold Creations’ founders, Vicki and Glenn Wolfe, recalls how she and her siblings grew up around their parents’ commitment to detail.

“When I was about six, I remember pulling out a bracelet from the showcase,” Hudson says. “I asked my father how to write a receipt and not only did he show me, he walked me through the sale step by step— from how to complete the sale to shaking the customer’s hand. My parents’ attention to detail still amazes me. They taught me how to straighten a pendant on a stand and ensure that the earrings face the correct way.”

Hudson is loyal to her father’s memory and to her mother’s continued involvement with Gold Creations. Vicki Wolfe, matriarch and mother, is semiretired. Her grandchildren play a major role in her life now, though she remains a prominent voice and decision maker when it comes to the company’s product lines. The Wolfe children— Emily, Glenn, Elizabeth and Patrick—are co-owners and remain actively involved in the company in various roles.

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“Trends come and go, but the special pieces we continue to carry are fantastic reminders of Charleston history,” Hudson says. “It’s wonderful finding my father’s molds in storage and bringing them back to life. He found a niche in the Charleston market, and it’s one that has lasted for over 42 years.”

When the Wolfes started the business in 1975 they did so with a few collected pieces. Hudson’s father bought equipment from a jeweler going out of business, put himself through school to learn the craft of casting jewelry, built the business, and created iconic symbols of Charleston culture.

“My father wasn’t a jeweler when he started, he was an entrepreneur,” Hudson says. “He had his own casting facility in West Ashley. The front [of the facility] was a jewelry store and the back was where he created the molds and hand cast the jewelry.”

Hudson remembers playing with little cast reliefs from her father’s horse-drawn carriage and sweetgrass basket molds. The molds are still used today to create some of Gold Creations’ popular gold and silver charms—the White Point Garden gazebo, sweetgrass basket and Charleston carriage.

The most popular collection of Wolfe’s handmade jewelry was created in the 1980s and is one of Hudson’s most treasured: the handmade Monogram Collection. Year after year, customers seek out Glenn Wolfe’s custom designs to add to their collections. Many of them still remember the day, decades ago, that they bought their first hand-engraved pieces from the Wolfes.

Gold Creations’ tradition of hand engraving select pieces for their customers is part of its specialty. Taking several weeks to complete, local artisans use a painstaking process to ensure these pieces are more than stunning. They are heritage pieces, designed to be handed down from generation to generation.

“So many new people are coming to Charleston and to our store,” Hudson states. “We love our new customers and some of our designs reflect the changing trends. But what remains the same are our iconic pieces, our attention to detail and commitment to our customers—it’s what our parents instilled in us from the beginning.”

Brigitte Surette is a full-time writer who lives near Charleston. Find out more at brigittesurette.com.