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.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

10 Extraordinary Emerald Facts

By Katie McMath

If you’ve celebrated your birthday recently, or will soon, you may have settled for something simpler than usual. Maybe you cozied up on the couch with a loved one and watched your favorite movie or ordered some delicious takeout. To make your special day a little more special we’ve compiled a list of exciting facts about May’s birthstone.

1: Emeralds Are Part of the ‘Big Four’ Gemstones

Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds: they’re stones everyone has heard of, even if they aren’t big jewelry fans. These four are the only “precious” gemstones, meaning May’s birthstone is up there with the best.

2: They Are Quite Rare

Emeralds are even less abundant than diamonds. Less than 4 million carats worth of emeralds were mined in 2015, compared to diamonds’ 11 million. Even with these statistics, it’s possible to find a good emerald if you keep your eyes peeled. One of Eve’s gallery staff found a raw, natural emerald on the beach this year!

3: Just Like Your Coffee, Most of them Come from Colombia

Colombia’s lush geography isn’t just good for growing coffee beans. It is also the point of origin for 50% or more of the world’s emeralds. Long ago Inca people used this supply to decorate their jewelry and precious vessels. If you have an emerald, there’s a half and half chance you can guess where it came from. 

4: They’ve Been Used as Writing Tablets

Green is a scared Islamic color, symbolizing paradise. The Mogul Empire, home to a thriving stone carving industry, is responsible for this beautiful dual-sided emerald. Carved in the late 16th century, with sacred text on the front and flora on the back, this emerald weighs around 218 carats. It is one example of how large emeralds can grow! 

5: Emeralds Soothe the Eyes

Emeralds are a beautiful, earthy color. Looking on them is like looking at a rich green landscape. In fact Ireland and Seattle, WA have both been nicknamed after the stone because of their greenery. Many believe the soothing color of an emerald relieves eye stress. Stone cutters once kept the gem handy to relieve their eyes after hours of hard work. 

6: They’ve Been Around a Long Time

The oldest emeralds are nearly 3 billion years old. Considering the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, emeralds have been around for most of our planet’s history! If only they could tell us their stories. 

7: Emeralds Were Cleopatra’s Favorite

Egypt is the oldest known site of emerald mining. Cleopatra took ownership of this ancient mine from the Greeks, and collected a bounty of emeralds for her palace and jewelry. Her cache included a massive emerald named after her. It is a whopping 97 carats, and rumored to be cursed. 

8: Aquamarine is Cut From the Same Cloth

Both greenish gems are made of the mineral beryl, though this was not known until the 19th century. Beryl comes in a variety of colors. It is called heliodor when bright yellow and morganite when soft pink. 

9: More Bang for Your Buck

One carat emeralds are larger than one carat diamonds. How is this possible? Carats measure weight, not size. A stone’s density, material, and cut all affect its carat total. Since emeralds are less dense and lighter than diamonds their beauty comes in bigger packages. 

 10: It Tastes Sweet, but Please Don’t Lick Your Emeralds

A few hundred years ago chemists would use all their senses to collect data, even taste. They found that beryl had a sweet taste, and nearly named it ‘glyceynum’ after glucose (or sugar.) We now know that beryllium is toxic when ingested. Don’t follow these scientists’ lead. 

Bonus Fact: Eve Has Designed Many Emerald Pieces

A lover of green, Eve has crafted many gorgeous articles honoring the emerald. Her “Mistress of the House” earrings come with removable emerald drops, and give the feeling of Italian royalty. Their rich 18 karat gold plays off the emerald’s warmth. 

The “Emerald Amulet” makes a beautiful, delicate gift for someone with a May birthday. Also set in 18  karat gold, featuring graceful leaf designs, this pendant may be worn on different chains to customize the look. Perhaps it could make up for the unusual circumstances eclipsing this year’s spring celebrations.

Now is a great time to get in touch with Eve’s Gallery and order a custom piece, or browse tantalizing creations on our website and Instagram. Eve hasn’t stopped creating, and continues to gain joy from passing on her one-of-a-kind treasures. Why not treat yourself?

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

A Rainbow of Diamonds

By Katie McMath


Did you know that diamonds occur naturally in a rainbow of colors? White diamonds are the best known, as they are more common than their colorful siblings. The Gemological Institute of America estimates that only 1 in 10,000 diamonds has enough tint to be considered colored. These special stones are gaining more attention in recent years as collectors and shoppers learn more about them.

Mines like Argyle in Australia harvest and sell incredible gems in all shades. This mine in particular is known for red and pink diamonds, the rarest of all colored diamonds. Most red diamonds are small, but that doesn’t make them less valuable or beautiful. Other factors like vividness, cut, and clarity come into play. So how do red diamonds form? Their color comes not from additional minerals, but their unusual atomic structure which reflects back red light rather than white.

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The Argyle mine is also responsible for the popularity of brown diamonds in the 1990s, likening them to champagne and cognac. Before this, they were little known. Today their rich, powerful tones are highly coveted. Jewelry brand LeVian has trademarked the term “chocolate diamond,” advertising them with luscious confectionary metaphors.

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In general, brown diamonds with green hues are prized above those with orange. However, with so much natural variety, there is room for each person to pick their favorite. If you don’t mind small sizes,naturally colored diamonds in brown, yellow, and black are within reach.

Yellow diamonds also have an enticing nickname which has elevated their glamorous reputation. When they are pure yellow, with no tints of other colors, they are called canary diamonds. One of the most famous colored diamonds is a canary yellow diamond found in 1877, long before colored diamonds became popular.

The Tiffany Yellow Diamond is a massive stone just under 300 carats. Once Tiffany bought the stone, they trusted its cutting to new gemologist George Frederick Kunz, only twenty three years old at the time. He proved his talent by cutting 90 beautiful facets in a modified square brilliant cut. Audrey Hepburn wore this incredible gem on a collar as she promoted Breakfast at Tiffany’s. At the 2019 Oscars, Lady Gaga wore the historical diamond in a new setting as a pendant.


A large number of all diamonds have yellow or brown tints. In the past they have been color corrected in the hopes of being sold as white diamonds. Ironically, white diamonds are more valuable the closer they are to colorless. Colored diamonds are valued for their intensity and saturation. Today the GIA grades colored diamonds from Faint to Fancy Deep, with Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid being the most valuable.

Unlike brown and red diamonds which get their color from the arrangement of their atoms (also known as the stone’s “crystal lattice,”) yellow and orange diamonds are colored by nitrogen. Orange diamonds are more rare and desirable than yellow. One of the largest and most colorful orange diamonds was bought by American jeweler Harry Winston the day before Halloween. It was amusingly nicknamed the Pumpkin Diamond. 

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Two of the most famous colored diamonds come in cooler shades. Also once owned by Harry Winston, The Dresden Green comes from Southern India and dates back to at least the early 1700s. It was bought by the King of Poland and Prince of German Saxony, who stored it in his museum collection in the Dresden palace. This famous collection of artifacts and natural wonders is called the Green Vaults. Its walls, like the Dresden diamond, were once a lovely green color.

The Dresden Green is a pear-shaped stone, weighing about 40 carats. It is a beautiful apple colored green, especially spectacular as green diamonds are very rare. An average of less than ten are sold each year. This means less green diamonds have been studied. Still cloaked in mystery, the green diamond’s makeup is uncertain to gemologists.


It is possible their color comes from radiation in rocks nearby, as the diamond forms. Irradiation is used in labs to make artificially colored green diamonds, usually a deeper color than natural ones, and more consistent in shade throughout. When natural green diamonds are cut, they lose some of their vibrancy, which seems to concentrate on the gem’s outermost layer.

Another unusual phenomenon, some green diamonds change to yellow depending on light and heat. These mystifying gems are called Chameleon Diamonds. Even less is known about them, having just been discovered in 1943. Storing them in the dark, or heating them to about 400 degrees, will change their color temporarily. In a way, they are similar to Alexandrite, the color changing birth stone of June which you can read about on Eve’s blog.


Probably the most famous colored diamond of all is the coveted Hope Diamond. This steely blue gem, known in French as “The King’s Jewel,” was once owned by French royalty. It was made even more famous by its theft two hundred years ago. Today it rests safely in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. In 2000, the Dresden Green and the Hope Diamond were displayed there side by side as two of the most striking and historically rich colored gems.


While the Hope Diamond and the Dresden Green were mined in India, many other blue diamonds come from South Africa. This is a popular location for sourcing yellow diamonds as well. Natural blue diamonds have the unique property of conducting electricity. The reasoning behind this is still unclear, but most likely has to do with the stone’s structure.

Colored diamonds contain a wealth of information, which we have so far only been able to glimpse. Like all diamonds, they come from deep within the Earth, and carry stories upward from this place no human eyes have seen. Colored diamonds are beautiful natural wonders, economic heavyweights, and scientific contributors.

It’s likely that colored diamonds will continue to grow in popularity over the years, as they branch out of obscurity, and are picked up by clever marketers and celebrities. Their abundant, complex range of shades is a reminder of nature’s incredible capacity for surprise. Which color is your favorite?

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Sustainable Jewels

by Ann Covode

Actress and left-wing activist Jane Fonda signaled her goodness at the Academy awards via social media, posting a photo of herself in a recycled designer dress and her “ethically harvested” and “sustainable” jewelry.

Jane Fonda at the 2020 Academy Awards

Fonda’s designer dress was also reportedly “recycled,” meaning she wore it to an award show once before. Fonda, an avid climate activist, presented “Best Picture” at the 2020 Oscars.

What does it mean to have ethically harvested gold and sustainable diamonds? At this time in our country and around the world it is a good question to ask.
Eve has been buying recycled gold for years. “This is a great way to recycle as there is lots of gold out there that can be reused. The refiner that we use has very high quality mixtures. They remix gold for various uses”. When using recycled gold you avoid the environmentally toxic methods of mining.”

Eco-friendly Gold, Eco-Gold or Green-Gold is mined and recovered with a minimal ecological disruption and WITHOUT using mercury, cyanide or any other hazardous chemical, usually using the gravity method. Gold jewelry and coins are often recycled through brick-and-mortar dealers or mail-in programs that pay individuals for the unwanted gold. Gold recycled from fillings and other dental work is often collected by dentists and sent to a recycler.

What does it mean when you use your family’s gems? It is a form of recycling that has been happening for years.

Eve is a long time fan of recycled and redesigned jewelry. Many of her customers bring in gems from their parents and grandparents to have Eve redesign a piece for their tastes. A recent example is a customer who brought in her mother’s gold watch with rubies and some family diamonds. Eve worked with this customer to design a ring that would contain all of these gems.

Eve sketching a new design

The 14 karat rose gold came from her mother’s watch, as well as the 6 rubies that contribute to the elegant, fun spirit of this Confetti ring. It is 8 mm wide in front, but of course, the diamonds stray beyond its borders!

The Wax for the Ring

The customer requested that the names of the women in her family whose diamonds are in this ring be inscribed inside. It is also signed Eve J. Alfille.

The finished piece!

Recycling and redesigning jewelry isn’t a new concept at all. It has been happening for hundreds of years. A famous example follows:
In the early 1900’s the maharajas from India became enchanted with the art deco designs they had seen coming out of Paris. They, too wanted to redesign some of their jewels for the modern age.

Jacques Cartier with Indian gemstone dealers. Photo from Jacques Cartier’s album recording his voyage to India in 1911. Cartier Archives

The maharajas were fascinated by the Parisian styles Cartier showed them, and many would entrust their jewels to the Parisian house. Between 1925 and 1928, for example, the Maharaja of Patiala commissioned Cartier to re-set his Crown Jewels — one of the largest single commissions in the firm’s history.

The close bond between Cartier and India was most apparent during the Art Deco period, and resulted in two types of jewels: the Indian gems redesigned in the Cartier Western style for the maharajas, and the ‘India-inspired’ jewels presented to Cartier’s Western clientele.

In 1936 Daisy Fellowes, the French-American socialite and Singer sewing machine heiress, commissioned the Collier Hindou, a garden of rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds believed to have been inspired by a Cartier creation for the Maharajah of Patna. It was secured with an adjustable silk cord in the Indian style.

Cartier’s Tutti Frutti Necklace

This style later became known as the “Tutti Frutti” necklace and became popular for years to come at Cartier.

Daisy Fellowes

A long time customer of Eve’s brought in a large diamond from her grandmother set in her wedding ring. She preferred to have a pendant instead so Eve designed a new piece for her.
The result is a stunning pendant that she will wear often!

Design for pendant
A beautiful redesign!

One client brought in a beautiful Marquise diamond and some round diamonds to ask Eve create something new for her. Eve came up with a vine ring creation which also incorporated her round sapphire and a new pear pink tourmaline. Underneath she wanted a green stone so Eve suggested a tsavorite garnet as a secret stone. The result is a stunning combination of gems set in 14 karat white gold.

Another lovely creation by Eve

Another customer brought in some Native American earrings that she wasn’t wearing. Eve then redesigned them into a necklace with onyx and turquoise in an asymmetrical design.
We also designed these beautiful Sleeping Beauty turquoise earrings with cultured fresh water pearls and our 3mm diamonds set in 18 karat yellow gold. What fun it is to recycle and redesign with Eve!

A happy customer!

Perhaps this is a time to look through pieces given to you from someone special that you might want to redesign into something new?