Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

“Dwellings & Habitats”

by Ann Covode

Provence village house in South of France

“The snail inside its shell, the fox in its burrow, sparrows gathering twigs – I watch and see how we crave structure, a place to rest, to be, to dwell..” Eve Alfillé.

Eve has been thinking of the idea of home for her new series for several years but during the pandemic it has become even more important. At first she focused on the idea of home because we were all spending so much time there. As the pandemic wore on her ideas became more about the emotional reactions to the pandemic.

“About two years ago, I began to think about jewels in praise of habitat. Reeds and poles, bricks and stones. I hunted for rough gems that could be bricks, clear aquamarines like the sky through a window, and all the while, it was going to be just that: the entrance to my house as a brooch, tiny fireplaces for earrings?” reflects Eve.

“But, just like when I was a very small child and war erupted around us, suddenly things changed.”

At first Eve felt numb when the pandemic began. It was a shock to all of us and she was no exception. Although, she could draw on her experiences from her childhood in France where her family was forced into hiding during WWII. At age 6 ½ they lived in a small room in a house and she couldn’t leave. She was home schooled at a young age. Perhaps, that’s where her creativity started to bloom?

In her collection she experiments with the ideas of independence using keshi pearls which have an independent spirit of their own. She mimics the hard choices we now make in her beautiful “Small wedding” necklace with bold stormy aquamarines and kyanite.

Eve captures many of the emotions we have all experienced in her new pieces. She mimics the sky and freedom with her aquamarine earrings.

She also explores the positive side of home with warm stones that reflect the hearth and warm fires burning.

Eve’s creativity is alive and well in this new series. Diving deep into an emotional response, she captures our conflicting new emotions at this time.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Eve’s Fall Palette

by Ann Covode

With the coming of autumn, our color palette turns to the colors of turning leaves. We reflect on the change of season with the sunsets and change of light. Over the years Eve has created many pieces with these fall colors using garnets, sapphires, carnelians, Tahitian pearls and fire opals.

When I first came to work for Eve she was launching her “Sacred Geometries” series. I was drawn to a fire opal necklace from Ethiopia that was part of this series. Each bead dazzled with fire to create an aura of luminescence.

Fire Opal Necklace

Fire opal is a translucent opal with warm body colors ranging from yellow to orange to gold. Even though it usually doesn’t show any color play, sometimes a stone will show bright green flashes. Querétaro in Mexico is the most popular supplier of fire opals; these opals are commonly referred to as Mexican fire opals.

In the 1990s, Ethiopia became an important source of opal. Much of the Ethiopian opal is fire opal and precious fire opal. Much of the Ethiopian fire opal is yellow.
Smaller amounts of fire opal are produced in Australia, Brazil, Honduras, and Guatemala. In the United States, Nevada and Oregon produce some beautiful fire opal.

Fire opals are cut in a variety of ways. Some are cut as faceted stones, others are cut as cabochons. The cutter decides how he/she thinks the stone will be most attractive. There is no rule for cutting fire opal.

Eve continues to explore this fall pallete in her more recent series. For her “Aux Portes du Passé” series last year Eve created these lovely “Sacre Coeur” earrings with Grossular Garnet in 14 karat rose gold. The jackets in18 karat gold contain stones of carnelian, rhodolite garnet, garnet, lepidolite, covalite and amethyst.

Eve’s “Sacré Coeur” Earrings

Grossular is a calcium-aluminium species of the garnet group of minerals. The name grossular is derived from the botanical name for the gooseberry, grossularia, in reference to the green garnet of this composition that is found in Siberia. Other shades include cinnamon brown (cinnamon stone variety), red, and yellow.

Variety of Garnets

Hessonite or “cinnamon stone” is a common variety of grossular. The name comes from the Ancient Greek: ἣσσων (hēssōn), meaning inferior; an allusion to its lower hardness and lower density than most other garnet species varieties.

Tsavorite or tsavolite is a variety of the garnet group species grossular, a calcium-aluminium garnet trace amounts of vanadium or chromium provide the green color.
Tanzania in a place called Lemshuko is where this garnet was first found. The specimens found were of very intense color and of high transparency. The find interested the gem trade, and attempts were made to export the stones, but the Tanzanian government did not provide permits.

Believing that the deposit was a part of a larger geological structure extending possibly into Kenya. They began prospecting in that nation and were granted a permit to mine the deposit. The gemstone was known only to mineral specialists until 1974, when Tiffany and Co launched a marketing campaign which brought broader recognition of the stone.

Eve loves to create with these stones and is inspired by the lustrous colors they reflect.

Another favorite from her “Sacred Geometries” series are these “Kurgan” earrings with two carved Carnelian drops in 18 karat gold. Carnelian is a brownish-red mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. The color can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense almost-black coloration. It is most commonly found in Indonesia, Brazil, India, Russia (Siberia), and Germany.

Eve’s “Kurgan” earrings

This “Dappled Sunlight” necklace from her “Helios” Series 18 karat and 18 karat Green gold with, Quartz, Citrine and fresh water pearls exudes warmth at the end of summer. Citrine is a variety of quartz whose color ranges from a pale yellow to brown due to ferric impurities.

Eve’s “Dappled Sunlight” Necklace

Natural citrines are rare; most commercial citrines are heat-treated amethysts or smoky quartzes. Brazil is the leading producer of citrine, with much of its production coming from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The name is derived from the Latin word citrina which means “yellow” and is also the origin of the word “citron”.

Eve’s mimics the fall colors perfectly with this Fine Tahitian South Sea Pearl necklace with 5 Diamonds .24 TW. EF/VS in 18 karat white gold from her “Acanthus “ Series.

Eve’s Tahitian South Sea Pearl Necklace

There is general consensus that the quality of pearls from Pinctada margaritifera is the highest quality out of all the pearl oysters. Pearls form when a small particle enters into the oyster and nacre is released by the oyster to coat the particle or object, eventually creating a small pearl. The particle might be a grain of sand, organic material, or even a parasite. The oyster’s release of the nacre serves as an adaptation of the immune system to isolate the invasive particle and irritation. P. margaritifera in particular produces gray or black pearls.

Finally, Eve has some fun with these Opals, Jade, Fresh Water pearl and Magnesite, in this “Random Encounters” bracelet. She loves the play of color and texture in this piece.

Eve’s “Random Encounters” Necklace

Eve helps us to embrace fall and all its beautiful tones in her designs. We hope you consider making an appointment to see the complexities of her offerings and the stones from which she can create something specifically for you.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Jewelry in Trying Times

By Katie McMath

When history plays out as tumultuously as it has this year, a little perspective can soothe our unease. Many of us are still shaken by what feels like tectonic plates shifting beneath us. Yet as health, safety, and security are challenged, we continue to celebrate the positives. Couples are still getting engaged and married. There are birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. If anything, loved ones should be held a little closer. When family is able to reunite, what marks their milestones? Sentimental, personalized jewelry.

At Eve’s we have had the pleasure of creating many special pieces for such occasions this year. Many recently engaged couples have come to Eve looking for their perfect rings. One such couple decided to each get a special engagement ring, both for the man and the woman. For the woman, we placed her fiancé’s exquisite pale blue Paraiba tourmaline in an elaborate setting. Small stones glistened around the sides of the band, and the raised bezel which held the tourmaline aloft in a highly decorated seat like a royal jewel.

Her fiancé chose for his own ring a unique, smooth chrysoberyl with a gleaming cat’s eye effect. When tilted from side to side a beam of light flashes across the stone’s surface. This gem we set between two canary yellow tourmalines, echoing the tourmaline for his bride-to-be. The ring’s medieval style, green gold band gives off a confident, masculine look. Finally in the back of each of these exquisite rings, a small blue sapphire is set as a hidden treasure for the bride and groom.

In August an equally unique couple selected their wedding rings from Eve’s gallery. One bride wore an organic vine ring, modeled after the twisting branches of a tree. Its white gold arms cradled a pear-shaped diamond, and seven smaller diamonds sprinkled throughout. The fluid lines of Eve’s vine rings offer something for nature lovers and those with less traditional tastes.

 Her wife-to-be wore a more structured band with intricate swirling openwork, mimicking the vine ring’s curves, contained within the band’s borders. Also set in white gold, this band held four deep blue sapphires and five diamonds, for much needed sparkle. Each ring is one-of-a-kind, yet they are harmonious together.

The couple’s beautiful backyard ceremony brought family and friends together. Even the couple’s dogs were part of the wedding party!

For another summer wedding, the mother of the bride trusted Eve to transform a family heirloom. Using their onyx stones, Eve created a new band for the bride’s watch, in white gold. Segments of dark, polished onyx were cut and carefully bezel set, side by side in geometric links. Between each stone, diamonds punctuated the bracelet, complementing an elegant watch face. Before embarking on this project Eve sketched up a blueprint, which touched the family as a precious memento. They are having a copy of Eve’s sketch framed, to forever capture this glimpse in time.

Another popular item lately has been gifts for babies. Little additions to the family are always a cause for celebration, no matter what is going on in the larger world around them. One customer recently came to the gallery, shopping for something to honor her friend’s new baby. She purchased a pink tourmaline and freshwater pearl bracelet, small enough for a newborn wrist. Eve has created many varieties of these tiny bracelets with different gemstones stones giving pops of color. For an October baby, the tourmaline was a perfect choice!

For another newborn, Eve crafted a detailed spoon cast in sterling silver. Carved on one side were the baby’s initials, in elegant abstracted script, echoing the twisting vines of a tree. On the other side Eve carved a joyful illustration of a rabbit, and set a small pink sapphire (the baby’s birthstone.) The spoon was a charming labor of love which now shares a special place in the family’s trove of memories.

Suffice it to say, custom jewelry design plays a crucial role in honoring important occasions and expressing love. Even amidst sickness, war, and chaos, loved ones gather to celebrate the positive moments and enjoy what they find beautiful. Our staff has been surprised to see how much pleasure people take from the process of designing one-of-a-kind pieces to fit harmoniously into their lives and last long into the future, whatever the future may bring.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Peridot: the Stone from Outer Space

Just beneath the Earth’s surface, a satiny olive green stone abounds. Olivine fills out the landscape beneath Norway’s majestic Scots Pine forests. This cache provides half of the world’s olivine supply. Among the jagged rock faces and towering pines, explorers learn more about this surprising stone.

            Olivine is both common and grounded. It makes up, in large part, the Earth’s upper mantle just beneath the crust. Once on the surface it degrades quickly, making unharmed pieces more valuable. Translucent, high quality olivine is called peridot, the birthstone of those born in August. It is a particularly fascinating gem, with many wild stories to tell.

  Unlike sapphres and diamonds, peridot only comes in one color: green! For many green lovers (including Eve) that isn’t a problem. It is usually yellowish green, but is considered more valuable when pure, without yellow tints. Trace amounts of nickel give peridot its olive color. These shades remind us of the craggy, forested landscapes from which peridot comes. In Ancient Egypt, peridots were called Ra stones, after the sun god. Their vibrant, warm color may be one reason.

While Norway is a huge site for olivine mining, most gem quality olivine (peridot) comes from Asian countries like Myanmar, China, and Vietnam. One particular tropical locale is brimming with peridot to the point they have a whole beach full of it! Papakolea beach, on the Southern coast of Hawaii’s largest island, glows with green sand. This sand is made up of small olivine particles. It is believed they washed up from the nearby volcano and collected by the sea. There are only three other known green beaches in the world. Glacial mineral deposits color one beach in Norway green, while olivine colors one in Guam and another in the Galapagos Islands.  Because of olivine’s presence on the Hawaiian Islands, peridot is locally known as the Hawaiian Diamond.

So where does this beautiful, prevalent stone come from? To answer that, one has to look beyond our own green planet to the stars. Olivine is often found in meteorites which have crashed to Earth’s surface. One olivine-carrying meteorite traveled from Mars to Egypt in 1911, known as the Nakhla meteorite. When peridot is exposed to water, it structurally transforms into Iddingsite, a mineral found in Martian rock. This suggests that Mars once was home to a supply of water.

On a more bizarre note, a fragment of the Egyptian meteorite was said to have broken off and landed on a local dog, instantly vaporizing it! Hopefully this is an urban legend and not a sad reality.

Another meteorite discovered in a small Argentinian town, sparkles with whole olivine crystals. Called Esquel, it has broken into many small translucent fragments scattered around the world by collectors. It’s hard to believe this stunning bunch of crystals came from outer space.  

Spectrometry is the measurement of light frequencies given off by different materials. This method of study suggests that olivine is present as a fine dust, haloing around many young stars! Peridot carries stories from beneath our Earth’s surface, to far corners of the universe, and back. It is simultaneously otherworldly and grounded in our own soil. Its heavenly energy is supposedly an agent of health and compassion.

One lovely example, Eve’s “Peradiso” necklace, boasts unique faceted peridot discs, and smaller diamond-shaped peridot beads. This gorgeous string of gems is completed with an 18 karat green gold clasp. It is reasonably priced at $390, and comes from Eve’s “Raining at Rosehill” series. This and many other exciting Eve designs feature glistening green peridots. A custom piece could even be designed using one of the gems in our collection.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Summer Delights

by Ann Covode

Fireflies, ice cream, berry pies. All of these delicacies of summer that we all remember so well. Whether or not it’s the fireworks on the fourth of July or the frozen custard at the local ice cream shop, we all have such fond memories of those beautiful summer days.

Having a summer birthday, my mother always made for me a delicious lemon orange cake that had that drippy see through icing that was just so delicious. So when I saw a ring that Eve had designed with a large yellow beryl and peach gold it brought back the memory of that all over again. I knew I just had to have it. This luscious stone sits atop the threshold of Eve’s Madrid style ring. Her 18 karat peach gold is an exclusive house mixture.

Having found such a brilliant ring I knew there must be more delights in her collection. Straight out of her “Just Desserts” series is the pie shaped ring in sterling silver, 14 karat white gold and 18karat gold with small rubies depicting the berries.

This ring reminds me of the pies at “Hoosier Mama Pie Company” at the corner of Chicago and Kedzie in Evanston. Right now you can get Peach Raspberry with Pecan Crumble as a rite of summer.

Growing up in Danville, IL I had the unique experience of going to “The Custard Cup”, an original ice cream shop. Eve’s “Plain Vanilla” earrings bring me back to those days when we could spend the hot afternoons deciding which flavor to try. These earrings feature two freshwater pearls and 14 karat green gold.

Eve’s “Plain Vanilla” earrings

Of course, now in Evanston, you can delight in the gelato at “Frio Gelato” at 1301 Chicago Avenue with their smooth cool flavors. Eve is obviously a fan as well as she reflects on that with her “Tutti Frutti” earrings from her “Just Desserts” series in 14 karat gold with chalcedony, keshi pearls and amethyst.

Eve’s “Tutti Frutti” earrings

Mint chocolate chip is another one of my favorite flavors and the luscious color of these chrysoprase earrings remind me of that.

Eve created these lovely earrings with 12 diamonds for her “Sacred Geometries” series with the chrysoprase skillfully carved by Dieter Lorenz. These are set in 18 karat white gold.
One of the true gifts of summer is the sun and Eve pays homage to that in much of her work. This “You are my sunshine” pendant in 18 karat gold from Eve’s “Helios” series features mandarin garnets, 8 spinels and spessartitie garnets.

Another sunny inspiration is this 18 karat gold pendant from her “Helios” series.

Watermelon is another favorite at this time of year. This pink tourmaline ring from Eve’s “Déjà vu” series reminds me of that luscious fruit. This exquisite ring features a large tourmaline, 2 sapphires and 16 diamonds set in 18 karat white gold and 18 karat gold. Summer could be a year round thing when you wear this ring.

The lake is never too far away in Evanston and a dip in the water is always a welcome summer treat. Eve’s “Feet on Earth, Heart in Heaven” earrings bring in the blue of the sky and water and the sunshine for a marvelous combination. These earrings from her “Sacred Geometries” collection feature two kyanites and two citrines in a bold triangular form in 14 karat gold.

The sun is apparent as well in her “Midnight Sun” earrings which feature 2 lovely golden beryls, 6 yellow diamonds (.34 tw) and 24 diamonds (.18 tw) set in palladium from her “Winter’s Tale” series.
Also shining is this luscious “1930” yellow citrine ring with 10 diamonds (.20 tw) in 18 karat white gold from Eve’s new “Aux Portes du Passe” series.

Fireflies are only present in July and August and light up the summer skies. I remember chasing them and putting them in glass mason jars to hold them. Eve made a special pendant depicting a firefly for one of our employees. This unique pendant features three sumptuous yellow green tourmaline trillions in 18 karat green gold.

I think the moral of the story is that if life gives you lemons or citrines or beryls, make lemonade or cake or cocktails. Life is short. Enjoy the summer and Eve’s playful way of expressing herself through her jewelry.