Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Fall-ing for Opals

It’s almost the month of tourmalines and opals! To some, however, the opal remains to this day a bad omen…not so, say we here at the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio! But rather than defending this ourselves, why not let the author of “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones” himself, George F. Kunz, do the explaining?
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“Le radeau de la meduse” opal pin by Eve J. Alfille. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.
“There can be little doubt that much of the modern superstition regarding the supposed unlucky quality of the opal owes its origin to a careless reading of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Anne of Geierstein. The wonderful tale therein related of the Lady Hermione, a sort of enchanted princess, who came no one knew whence and always wore a dazzling opal in her hair, contains nothing to indicate that Scott really meant to represent the opal as unlucky. […] when a few drops of holy water were sprinkled over it, they quenched its radiance. Hermione fell into a swoon, was carried to her chamber, and the next day nothing but a small heap of ashes remained on the bed whereon she had been laid. The spell was broken and the enchantment dissolved. All that can have determined the selection of the opal rather than any other precious stone is the fact of its wonderful play of color and its sensitiveness to moisture.”
– George Frederick Kunz, “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones”
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Engraved Portrait of Lady Hermione in her famous opals by W.H. Mote
In fact, in the novel, Hermione is described as quite a knockout! Perhaps rather than thinking of her opals as bad omens, we should be taking notes…
‘The silver lamp was extinguished, or removed from its pedestal, where stood in place of it a most beautiful female figure in the Persian costume, in which the color of pink predominated. But she wore no turban or head-dress of any kind, saving a blue ribbon drawn through her auburn hair, and secured by a gold clasp, the outer side of which was ornamented by a superb opal […]. The little lady’s countenance was of a lively and expressive character, in which spirit and wit seemed to predominate; and the quick dark eye, with its beautifully formed eyebrow, seemed to presage the arch remark, to which the rosy and half smiling lip appeared ready to give utterance.’
-Sir Walter Scott, “Anne of Geierstein”
…And after reading the book, if your October-birthday baby is still skeptical, well…maybe stick to tourmalines!
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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Belle Epoque Pearls

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The Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio and The Pearl Society cordially invite you to join us on a private, guided tour of the Driehaus Museum, a Gilded Age museum and historic mansion in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

This tour will take an intimate look into the beautiful jewelry of the Belle Epoque period as depicted in poster form in the new exhibit: ‘L’Affichomania’ the Passion for French Posters. The tour will be followed by a brief Q&A.

  • When: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm
  • Where: The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 East Erie Street, Chicago

Reserve your place now as space is limited to only 10 lucky attendees! Call 847-869-7920 to pay by credit card, or stop by the Gallery to pay in person. Private tour cost is $21/person (non-refundable) which is required at the time you reserve your place.

Please make checks payable to Eve J. Alfillé Gallery.

Please note: We will meet at the museum at 12:00 pm. Parking is available for $15.00/car with museum validation at ROW Self-Park, 50 East Ohio, Chicago.

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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Garnet Gunshots

More just an adornment, garnets are known to lead a varied life…sometimes, even bringing lives to an end.

To the spiritual, garnets were some of the first stones ever carried on the body as a protective amulet. To the utilitarian, they are known for more industrial ends ranging from abrasive powders to water filtration. Obviously, they’re a superb choice when it comes to fashion; ranging in color from deep red to yellow to green, these stones evoke a wide variety of moods and looks…even looks that can kill!

Garnets can sometimes be found cut into a “bullet” shape: they’re an attractive cabochon that allows for a fun and unique variety of styles. It hasn’t always been such a playful cut, however…In 1892, during the conflict in Kashmir between the Hanzas and the British troops, bullet-shaped garnets were used – you guessed it – as actual bullets! It was believed by the Hanzas that, due to their similarity to the color of blood, they would be even deadlier than lead bullets. Even earlier in history, garnets were launched from sling bows! If you were lucky enough to be wearing the garnets rather that ‘receiving’ them, these stones might also have also been believed to cause invulnerability in battle to some cultures.

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“To live, to love” ring by Eve Alfille. Currently special order. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

While garnets are of a 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making them an excellent choice for jewelry as well as for as projectiles, we do recommend leaving the slingshot at home when you come visit our impressive collection of garnets here at the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio. Swing by and check out the many different shapes, sizes and colors available in our ‘armory!’

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Royal Recycling

Once one of the most eligible bachelorettes in England, Pippa Middleton became the talk of the town on Saturday, May 20th, when she finally tied the knot. Though she wasn’t wearing anything obviously borrowed or blue, she was spotted wearing something ‘old’…the bespoke diamond earrings which she wore to her sister Kate’s world-famous wedding! Donned again in celebration of sacred vows, these enchanting adornments feature floral motifs and a classic pear-cut diamond drop…the pair was originally designed to be an understated version of the Duchess Kate’s wedding earrings, which also featured an oak leaf and an acorn – elements of the Middleton family coat of arms. The ceremony was a truly royal event, with a guest list including the bride’s sister, Duchess Kate Middleton and her husband, Prince William, along with Prince Harry and his Hollywood girlfriend, Meghan Markle. Young Prince George and Princess Charlotte attended as page boy and a bridesmaid, and the entire entourage gathered at the end of the night in a massive glass palace which the bride had shipped from Belgium to her backyard.

 

Welsh Gold
In addition to the “something old, something new” adage, another interesting nod to tradition which Middleton’s wedding jewelry embodied included the lesser-known trend for royal brides to wear Welsh gold. Over 80 years ago, a gift of Clogau gold was made to the throne, and which was plentiful enough to fashion rings for brides Queen Elizabeth, Princesses Margaret and Diana, and the original bride, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon in 1923. Though Pippa‘s ring may not be from this original supply, it is known that it is indeed of Welsh gold, and thus a part of a very shining legacy.
Design Series, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Gallery Events, jewelry

Q&Eve: Undercurrents

A new series of fine art jewelry opening on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 1:00p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, with guests enjoying festive refreshments, live music, and Evanston-made art jewelry.

Q: What first sparked your interest in life beneath the sea?

A: All of my childhood summers were spent near the North Seas…a roiling, vigorous stretch with frequent storms that others thought scary but I found beautiful, even to the flotsam on the beach after the storm. Calm days were spent collecting shells, seaweed, and observing small crustaceans burrowing at water’s edge.

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Copyright: Eve Alfille. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

Q: What was your thinking process behind the creation of “Undercurrents” and its underlying themes?

A: When you gaze at the ocean, the horizon seems limitless, so of course, you are going to feel that it is an infinitely expandable resource that needs no stewardship. Most of us that are not fishermen experience the animals that dwell therein as “Nemo” cartoon characters, or ingredients in their sushi.

Q: Is “Undercurrents” at all a reaction to climate change?

A: …Not specifically climate change, but anthropocene-induced deterioration, and the now-permanent gyre of plastic debris in the Pacific.

Q: Marine Biologist & past Pearl Society speaker Michelle Hoffman described Earth as a closed system…Does this have implications in your work?

A: More and more, we come to accept this.

Q: Several pieces in your new series feature long, rectangular compositions of undersea life that appear to have a very contained sense of space. What was your creative thinking behind these works?

A: So we can imagine ourselves as attendees at a future museum exhibit presenting bas reliefs of a vanished undersea world…The series of 10 gold bas reliefs will be mounted on bronze bases, straddling the world of sculpture and jewelry.

Q: In what ways might “Undercurrents” be an evolution of some undersea symbols you’ve explored in past series, like “Les Animaliers” and “Sea of Sargasso?”

A: “Les Animaliers” dealt, not with animals, but with how we represent them, anthropomorphize them, and reduce them into near-abstractions. “Sea of Sargasso” was a moody meditation on the allure and mystery that the “unknowable,” the seven seas, have held for humankind. With “Undercurrents,” I think we have to admit that the ocean’s resource is not finite…there are not really “many fish in the sea,” and we can no longer plead ignorance.

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Copyright: Eve Alfille. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

Q: What materials, styles, or motifs might we see in your new series?

A: Obviously, pearls, many, all kinds- even freshwater, since all waters are ultimately connected. Oceanic hues, green seaweed, corals, bright gems adorning rock fish, moonstone-bearing jellies, diamond trails of bubbles, and opals in all their shades…

Q: Just for fun: do you have a favorite sea creature, and if so, then why?

A: A quick, thoughtless answer would be: shells, based on my childhood summers by the sea. But the paradox is that, while collecting shells used to bring delight, seeing some actual living animals in their shell brought only fear and revulsion! Another marker of our human self-centeredness!