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“Maker & Muse: Early 20th Century Art Jewelry” Guided Private Tour

February 18, 2015
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René Lalique, Chrystanthemum Pendant/Brooch, c. 1900. Collection of Richard H. Driehaus.

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. The tour will feature an array of unique pearls and other gems in the new exhibit: Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry. The tour will be followed by a brief Q&A.

  • When: Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 10:30 am
  • Where: The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 East Erie Street, Chicago

Reserve your place now as space is limited to only 15 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 10:30am. Parking is available for $14.00/car with museum validation at ROW Self-Park, 50 East Ohio, Chicago.

Ringing in Super Bowl XLIX

February 6, 2015

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Regardless of whether your team ultimately emerged as the victors or the losers in this year’s Super Bowl, it is still always easy to root for the team of diamonds, gold, and then more diamonds. I’m talking about this year’s eagerly-anticipated Super Bowl ring, which will undoubtedly be emerging in the near future in an array of Patriots-themed colors and designs. But if you simply cannot abide the anticipation of awaiting this ring’s announcement, why not click over to this amazing ‘listicle’ compiled by Buzzfeed, giving you a nice, close-up look at “Every Single Super Bowl Ring Ever?”

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As this glittering compendum so brilliantly showscases, some trends in ring design seem to flow in a similar vein: many take pride in flaunting the number of Super Bowls won by the team question through massive, central diamonds. Some rings use marquise-cut diamonds shaped suspiciously like footballs, while some inventive creators have even replicated the shape of the Lombardi trophy out of diamonds and other precious devices. Though metals have varied, the amount of diamonds (seemingly the Super Bowl stone of choice) has only grown. While we eagerly await the unveiling of the newest ring for 2015, now is the perfect time to click away and find out what your favorite ring is for your favorite team…or maybe even that of a rival! Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

 

 

 

Love on the Rocks: Learning the Love Gems

January 28, 2015

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Does your love life resemble a blank slate? Are you in love, but it’s on the rocks? No need to feel jaded! According to the ancient tradition of gem therapy, there are stones you can turn to that may be able to help get you back on the road to romance.

Despite the mystical atmosphere surrounding these gems and their powers, experts say that they are not intended for such drastic uses as love spells or potions (as convenient as that might seem!)…rather, these stones are meant to enable and encourage you to become the best “you” that you can be, and consequently, can encourage and create an environment in which love can more easily happen. In fact, the number one attribute that most of these stones seem to share is their ability to promote “self love,” or the love of oneself, which is arguably the most satisfying love of all!

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“Do you need company” rose quartz necklace by Eve Alfillé. Photo credit: Matt Arden.

Many gemstones do, however, possess certain specialities when it comes to the romantic arts. Perhaps the stone most well-known for being a “love gem” is Rose Quartz, a delicately-hued pink stone that has been said to be the stone of unconditional love. This stone promotes within the wearer a greater sense of self-worth, and as such, may be a  well-employed accessory for those who wish to bolster confidence, both romantically and otherwise, throughout the day. If a splash of rose-colored jewelry doesn’t do it for you, experts recommend either placing the stone beneath your pillow at night or tucking a piece into each corner of your room.

ChakraOpeningAre you feeling downright down-on-your luck when it comes to love? Try Malachite! This striped green stone is known for its ability to charm away the bad feelings of a broken heart, and to clear the way for future possibilities. You may want to try sleeping with this stone placed over your heart chakra, which is located in the very center of your chest and is represented by
the color green.

Moonstone, the lusty evening stone, said by some to be made of moonbeams, is among the saucier love gems that you might find. Give your love a moonstone on the night of a full moon, and you may find that you will always have a mutual passion for one another. Throw a sunstone into the mix, and the resulting sparks are supposed to fly even higher, as this is meant to amplify the sexual energy and mutual attraction caused by a moonstone alone.

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“From every fruit you taste,” a moonstone bracelet with central sunstone, by Eve Alfillé. Photo credit: Matt Arden.

It can be fun to experiment with mixing and matching your stones: if you want to kick your love life up a notch, combine rose quartz and moldovite to create a power house in your heart chakra! If you find that the effects of your rose quartz are overpowering and you are simply loving everything TOO MUCH, add some amethyst to tone it down! And, of course, any jewelry combination you should choose (whether given as a gift, or maybe given as a SELF-gift) which makes you feel beautiful, can be considered a resounding success. So go on and treat yourself, because: you rock!

Eve’s Guide to Ring-Buying: Pt. II

January 21, 2015

…The awaited continuation of Eve’s wise words on how to best select the perfect ring for your loved one.

d. Private pleasures

I am very happy to add a romantic inscription within each ring: something to make one or both of you feel cherished, or perhaps some words that have a special meaning to just the two of you (in any language). I can hand-write your message on the inside of the band, and the inscription length would depend simply on how wide the ring is. There is no charge for this.

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I like to know that for decades to come, the top of the ring with all of its diamonds will still proudly indicate: “Stay away! This woman is taken!” And maybe in 100 years, the next generation can still enjoy your little piece of history: an heirloom with a story inside! But, in addition to that, I think that there should also be something private: something that only the two of you know. This can be in the form of a small gem, perhaps your birthstone, hidden somewhere on the ring where she will be seeing it every day. Depending on how hard she works or plays physically, we can even have the palm-facing side of the ring carry tiny stones as well (which, by the way, aren’t very costly since they are small!) And certainly, decorative details and designs can always either follow around the ring, or remain just in the front. I have even created rings with a special symbol on the back only: totally private!

e. Some considerations on diamond choice

Regarding quality, I generally like for my diamonds to stay either at or above the VS clarity grade, as well as at or above the G color. While the D Flawless may seem exciting, their very inflated prices reflect their rarity…most of these diamonds end up in vaults rather than worn, anyway. The next grade, VVS (hardly any inclusions), is indeed attractive, but not inexpensive.

“Very Slight,” or VS, has a few miniscule inclusions; usually tiny pinpoints of carbon or small veils that still let brilliant light sparkle through. I think that these diamonds have the best cost/value aspect,Diamond_ClarityChart and will both hold and increase in value as long as you stay within the color grade of G or better (the highest grade being D).

Typically, I try to find a diamond with VS/G, sometimes VVS/G, or F/VS grade, or even E color if possible, and not too expensive. Color affects the price a bit more than clarity, since you can see color from across the room. Keep in mind that with clarity grades up to SI/1, any inclusions can only be seen with ten power magnification…beyond that, with SI/2 or I grades, they can be seen with the naked eye.

But very important also is how well-cut a diamond is: the difference is immediately seen when the artist who cut the facets has succeeded, as there are certain parameters to achieve, but he still has some leeway in the proportions. That is why a lot of the diamonds sold online are not very exciting: no one has paid attention to the cutting, and they often appear dull. They are not dancing with light, even though they hit all the points of the certification process, and are of the “correct” color and clarity. I work with a pair of cutters, a father and a son, and I can always recognize a diamond cut by the father– it dances!

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“Interchange 1″ ring by Eve Alfillé, featuring a central 1.21 carat diamond (H/S12). Photo credit: Matt Arden.

When I know the diamond will be set in prongs, where its girdle will be exposed, I also look at how the diamond’s girdle (where top meets bottom) is cut. It should not be too thin, and I much prefer for the girdle itself to be faceted if at all possible. With other, more secure types of settings, where the edge is covered by gold (like a bezel setting) it of course is not as essential.

Also, the diamond market is always fluctuating to some extent: some weeks it is possible to get a diamond in the 1.25 range for the same price per carat as a diamond that is only 1.05 carat…other times, cost per carat will be similar to those in the 1.4-1.5 carat range. It mostly depends on Asia now, as they are increasingly buying larger diamonds, but also on the supply.  Most good diamonds now come from Siberia and Canada, with some retrieved from offshore operations (dredging) near the African coast…Keep in mind that a lot of men are looking for magic (round) numbers: exactly one carat, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, etc. So if you can accept, say, a 0.95 carat diamond, or 1.17, or 1.31, there is usually a price advantage.

With time and care, we can work together to select your durable gem, and set it safely so that it may be enjoyed by the pair of you for the rest of your shared lives.

The continuation of Eve’s wise words on how to best select for your love one the perfect ring. To revisit part one and browse such topics as “precautionary notes on metals, “regarding design,” and “making a comfortable ring,” click here.

So You’re a December Baby

December 12, 2014

For those of you born in December, under the ruling planets of Jupiter and Saturn, you lucky ducks have been assigned by celestial powers-that-be not simply one, but three of your very own unique birthstones to choose from! The month of December, in fact, has more birthstones assigned to it than any other month…a definite upside to having to share your birthday month with all of the other gift-giving holidays, which each year may threaten to steal some of your birthday thunder. The three auspicious stones dedicated to you winter babies are these: Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite…but how much do you know really about your birthstones? Let’s find out!

ZIRCON

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“Boulevard Raspail” zircon pendant by Eve Alfillé. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

The oldest rock on the planet! Many think of zircon as only a suitable sometimes-substitute for diamonds, but it is not so! This stone, besides coming in a fantastic array of colors, also has been carbon-dated as the eldest of all precious stones. In fact, a deposit of zircon discovered in Australia has been carbon-dated a measly 150 million years younger than the formation of our own baby planet! That’s 4.4 billion years old…the oldest known object on this Earth. Perhaps even more impressively, a meteoric Zircon fragment was discovered in Chile which was found to be no less than 4.6 billion years old. For reference, diamonds have only been found as old as 3.3 billion years.

funerary_mask_of_tutankhamun1347162226838TURQUOISE

An ancient, sacred stone famous for its pop of bold color and pleasing texture array, Turquoise is known to range in appearance from a veiny combination of blue swirled with its rocky matrix, to a pure and summer-sky blue. Despite its strong association with the American southwest, as some of the most important Turquoise mines of today are located there, the English word for turquoise actually derives its root from an old French word for ‘Turkish,” Turkey being the province from whence the first turquoise was introduced to the western world.

The use of turquoise in important spiritual and cultural settings dates back to the earliest human cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians, who often used it to decorate their revered pharaohs; turquoise  and can even be spotted among the inlay on the burial mask of Tutankhamun! In America, turquoise is most often associated with Native American culture due to its long and revered tradition of use, but did you know that turquoise can actually be found naturally occurring as far afield as China?

TAN23-Superior-Quality-Natural-Tanzanite-CrystalTANZANITE

Tanzanite, as its name belies, comes from only one place in the entire world: Tanzania. This pleasingly purplish-blue and violet stone has only been introduced onto the world’s stage quite recently (unlike Zircon), having only been discovered in 1967. It has consequently been hailed as the “gemstone of the twentieth century!” and continues to attract attention and demand; both for its incredibly unique origin, as well as its luxurious array of colors ranging from deep, dreamy violet-blues to light and airy lavenders.

Come in to the gallery or visit the website today to see the many beautiful, thoughtful pieces of art jewelry that artist Eve Alfillé has created using these stones and more, or even come in to view the vast collection of as-yet unset zircon, turquoise, and tanzanite stones to create your OWN unique birthstone treasure!

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“La rose des vents II” tanzanite ring by Eve Alfillé. Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

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