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Artful Amethyst

February 3, 2016
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“Two as One” carved amethyst necklace. Copyright: Eve Alfillé, Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

An intoxicating gemstone, the amethyst is the birthstone of February! In fact, it is so entwined into the history of this month, that it is said St. Valentine himself was known to have worn an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid. If the patron of love loves this stone the most, then who are we to disagree? It is also the gem of choice for 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries, even more reason to sprinkle on the romance.

A form of quartz, amethyst is the stone most commonly associated with the color purple (though plenty of other stones also come in this delightful color). It is the most highly valued quartz variety today, and was once even priced at the same value as such stones as ruby and emerald…that is, until Brazil’s large deposits were uncovered.

Due to its lovely range of color from reddish-purple to purple, amethyst has unsurprisingly been associated with the color of wine for thousands of years. Possibly due to this, the ancient Greeks named the stone “amethystos,” which literally translates into “not drunk.” This is because they believed that by wearing the stone, they could maintain their sobriety while enjoying an evening out. They were even known to carve drinking vessels out of it!

For those of you who would like to do as the Greeks do and mix wine with wearing amethyst, don’t hesitate to stop by the gallery this upcoming Feb. 6 to enjoy our Pre-Valentine’s Jewelry Wish List Party! There will be libations, treats, and a healthy helping of delicious jewelry items by Eve to add to your wish list, or to take home to your own heart’s desire.

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Gorgeous Garnets

January 20, 2016
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“Darn It, Another Garnet” necklace. Copyright: Eve Alfillé, Photo credit: Matt Arden

The garnet: an ancient gem, it has been seen adorning the fashionable ever since the pharaohs! Today, the stone is hailed as the birthstone for the month of January; a precious element of warmth and color during the depths of winter, but also an excellent way to celebrate each new year as it arrives!

This stone is both diverse and of great historical significance. It is largely known for its “carbuncle” shade, a term which once referred to just about any red gem, but today means the species of garnet called “Almandine.  ” Carbuncle”, from the Latin term for “live coal” denotes its inner warmth, and is also the most common type of gem garnet. This is the shade which we see most often in art of the ancients,  from the jewel-encrusted weaponry of the Anglo-Saxons to the garnet-encrusted crown of such illustrious royalty as King Otto of Germany, with a famous garnet called the “Wise One.”

In religion, this stone is known to be a root chakra stone. According to some beliefs, it can be used to gain access to ancient memories, and is a recommended stone to use for past life regression. In Indian mythology, the garnet is called the “Kundalini fire,” or ‘fire of eternal metamorphosis.’ It is also believed to have an energizing effect in the bedroom!

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Like sapphires, which are known for being blue (but actually come in an entire rainbow of colors), garnets are much more “multi-faceted” than given credit for! For instance, the red “carbuncle” shade is the most well known, and yet these diverse stones come in colors ranging from greens to oranges, pinkish oranges to deeply saturated purplish reds. These colors can be classified by a whole family system, dictated by each garnet’s chemistry as well as by its color. The garnet group breaks down into species such as pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, and andradite. These species break down into varieties, such as the exquisitely green and sparkling “demantoid” garnet from the Andradite species.

Demantoid garnets were also a favorite of 19th-century jewelry designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, and can often be seen in his American Arts & Crafts-style jewelry. And, as great minds think alike, demantoid garnets are not infrequently seen in Eve’s work! Her fondness also extends to a whole color palette of tsavorite garnets (deep green), mandarin garnets (rich orange,) and a myriad of others just waiting to be set into a project! Come in and see!

Zircon Zeal

December 14, 2015

 

With enough fire to have been confused with diamonds for centuries, these outstanding gems will set your heart ablaze! The zircon shines all on its own: these stones have a fantastically high refractive index, and are valued for their rainbow-like sparkle. Each gem’s spectacular “double refraction” actually means that you can see twice as much fire and twice as many facets! So much so, in fact, that famed gemologist George Kunz once proposed changing the name to “starlite” to highlight the gem’s incredible sparkle.
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These gems are also astonishingly tenacious, and can come into being in a wide variety of elements and locations. Some forms of non-gem grade zircon even contain traces of uranium: the radiation of which causes the crystal-structure of the zircon to become amorphous…essentially melting the stone down from the inside!*

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“Le Soliel” zircon ring, copyright Eve Alfillé, photo credit Matt Arden

Zircon is only one out of three birthstones for the festive month of December, along with turquoise and tanzanite. Both of these stones typically remain married to some shade of blue, blue-green, or purpley-blue, but zircon really stands on its own as a stone of many colors! In fact, many scholars believe that the stone’s name comes from the word
“zarkun” which is Arabic for ‘cinnabar’ or ‘vermilion,’ while others theorize that the term is from “zargun;” the Persian word for ‘gold colored.’

The stone itself comes in colors that range all the way from yellow to green to red and reddish-brown to blue! During the Victorian era, blue zircon was especially favored. Colorless forms of zircon are often referred to as “Matara” after the city in Sri Lanka where they are

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Oldest mineral in the world

mined. Australia, however, has produced an even more magnificent specimen: at 4.4 billion years old, a single piece o zircon has been found to be the oldest mineral on earth (the earth itself, for scope, is 4.5 billion years old)! Talk about looking good for your age!

Be sure to swing by Eve’s this holiday season, and let us help you pick out the perfect zircon for those lovely December birthday-havers in your life so that they can have a stone just as classic and timeless as they are!

*All Eve jewelry is guaranteed non-radioactive.

A Diamondiferous Discovery

November 23, 2015
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Even Kim Kardashain and Elizabeth Taylor would have a hard time wearing this new find around! The world’s second-largest gem-quality diamond ever found was unearthed in Botswana last week, weighing in at a seemingly perfect 1,111 carats. The value of the stone remains unknown, as it was too large to fit into the onsite scanner, and will have to be flown to Antwerp for proper measurement.

 

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“Dawn Over Vesuvius” by Eve Alfillé features 196 tantalizing diamonds and elements of  20 and 22 karat gold. Photo credit: Matt Arden. 

Just unearthed last week by the relatively minor diamond company, the Lucara Diamond firm, this unnamed stone has already been shattering records! It now comes in second only to the Cullinan diamonds of British crown jewel fame. In fact, Lucara may not remain minor for long: with this discovery, followed a mere 24 hours later by the discovery of two more strikingly sizeable diamonds in the same area, the company’s stock immediately inflated by 37 percent upon public revelation of the find.

The stone, though still un-scanned to verify its exact color and clarity, had been judged to be a Type II diamond, meaning that its brilliance is of a near-perfect quality which makes this stone look as if it was carved from the very heart of a glacier. No wonder diamonds are called “ice!”

“Matisse:” A New Jewelry Collection to be Unveiled by Evanston Artist Eve J. Alfillé on November 14

November 9, 2015

The new series will be released and celebrated on November 14, 2015 from 1:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery and Studio, and will allow guests to indulge in Champagne, food, live music, and of course, phenomenal jewelry.

November 7, 2015, Evanston, IL – In the sunny south of France, famed twentieth-century artist Henri Matisse produced a body of work that took the art world by surprise. Unlike most abstract art at the time, his works were friendly, not harsh; fanciful, not alienating…they had absorbed the warmth and color of their sunny surroundings, while maintaining the complexity of all things birthed by a genius mind. Today, Eve Alfillé takes up the torch with the creation of her latest series, ‘Matisse:’ a homage to his works through the lens of her own medium of choice: art jewelry.

1c59c057-e826-45c7-a73b-586c97446e27“It is not easy to capture that feeling and create it in a different medium,” says Eve, “especially working in the medium of jewelry where the metals are not inherently colorful…but my interest, while I admire the color, is in the line, the form, and the way that the abstraction was created…I am particularly interested in his collage.” Throughout, but especially later in his career, Matisse experimented in paper cut-out collages of many fantastical shapes and colors. They spoke volumes in their simplicity, and could sometimes result in entire rooms transformed by assemblages of color and movement.

To pay tribute to this vision, Eve plans to draw from a variety of precious materials. These will include large, lush pearls in voluptuous shapes, as well as large and intensely colored stones such as amethysts, citrines, sapphires and more. According to Eve, she is “especially interested in the interstices, the spaces– in what is not on the paper, in what is not colored, but in the form that has literally been abstracted.” And so, special importance will be given to such elements as “small, sharply-colored rubies and other bright colors to mark the spaces in between the sections.”

More than anything, this brand-new series will be paying homage to the playfulness in Matisse. In the spirit of that playfulness, the Eve Alfillé Gallery & Studio will be throwing a party to celebrate the opening of this new series on November 14, which will include festive Champagne, drinks and treats, and a live musical performance. Come and play!9a820245-d05b-4640-9e0e-9f0139011b51

The new series will be released and celebrated on November 14, 2015 from 1:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery and Studio. To join the celebration, call to reserve your space at 847-869-7920 or send an email to contact@evejewelry.com. To learn more about Eve Alfillé and her inspiration, go to www.evejewelry.com.

About Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio

French-born, artist, archeologist and gem expert, Eve Alfillé opened her Evanston, IL-based gallery and studio in 1987. The Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio creates one-of-a-kind, art-inspired jewelry hand-crafted at the Gallery. Eve is also the founder of The Pearl Society and an officer of the International Pearl Association. Visit the website at www.evejewelry.com or Eve’s blog at www.evejewelry.wordpress.com.

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