Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

The Rough in the Diamond

cullinan-diamond-mine.jpg
The Cullinan Mine in South Africa

We all know that diamonds are precious treasures…but did you know that they can also carry even rarer treasures within themselves? This is precisely what was discovered by Graham Pearson, a professor from the University of Alberta, during his time spent in the already-famous Cullinan Mine.

Calcium silicate perovskite, while seemingly abundant as the world’s fourth-most-common mineral, was actually only proven to positively exist when discovered trapped within a single diamond discovered by Pearson. The mineral, perovskite, is so amazingly delicate that it cannot withstand conditions above ground. According to Pearson, “Nobody has ever managed to keep this mineral stable at the Earth’s surface. The only possible way of preserving this mineral at the Earth’s surface is when it’s trapped in an unyielding container like a diamond.”

The Cullinan mine, which produced a pair of some of the most famous diamonds in the world that currently reside in the British Crown Jewels, has now become known as a place of great scientific significance. Pearson’s find “provides fundamental proof of what happens to the fate of oceanic plates as they descend into the depths of the Earth.” The formation of the perovskite within the diamond indicates this, and also the fact that this diamond formed over 400 miles beneath the surface of the earth (most diamonds form only 100 miles down)! …Talk about performing under pressure.

Advertisements
Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

D is for Dreamy

London is the place to be for lovers of the exceptional this winter. Recently revealed to the public in hopes that a private collector will do just that–collect–a very, very special stone which awaits its new home. 

aHR0cDovL3d3dy50ZWxlZ3JhcGguY28udWsvY29udGVudC9kYW0vbHV4dXJ5LzIwMTgvMDIvMDcvMTAyLTM0LWNhcmF0LUQtY29sb3VyLUZsYXdsZXNzLWRpYW1vbmQtU290aGVieXMtRGlhbW9uZHNfdHJhbnNfTnZCUXpRTmp2NEJxNXlRTFFxZU
Image by Sotheby’s.

The exceptionally proud founder and chairman of Sotheby’s, Patti Wong, has announced of the stone that “in the course of my long career, which has brought me close to some of the greatest stones the earth has ever yielded, I have not encountered anything quite like this.” 

According to a statement released by Sotheby’s:

“at 102.34-carats, this masterpiece of nature is the rarest white diamond ever to come to the market and the largest, round D color flawless diamond known to man. [This is] the only stone of its kind ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the diamond has achieved the highest rankings under each of the criteria by which the quality of a stone is judged – ‘the four Cs’.”

The mode of sale currently underway, however, is rather unusual for this caliber of stone…typically, such a dazzling diamond would be put up for auction. Instead, Sotheby’s has daringly opted to quietly keep it available for private purchase. 

According to Sotheby’s statement:

“Only seven diamonds weighing more than 100 carats and with the highest colour for colourless diamonds (D colour) has ever sold at auction; none of them were of brilliant cut.”

Whether it will sell immediately, or not to this generation, is unknown. But what we do know is that if you’re in London and have some spare time, maybe the Rosetta Stone can wait. 

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

The Ring That Survived

Fine art jewelry designer Eve Alfille was greeted by a surprise in December of 2017 when an old friend called her gallery with an unusual request…the fate of one of Eve’s rings, created for a couple back in 2008, was at stake.

ring.drawingsThe ring had just been lost, along with their California home, which burned down in the devastating fires that ravaged over 440 square miles of the west coast. The ring in question, a custom-made storytelling ring, had been covered in symbols and images important to the pair (running water to show “constant life,” a sun symbol representing “happiness,” and so on) and had been hand-crafted by Eve from a unique metal: palladium.

A scientist by hobby, the ring’s owner wanted to know if Eve could tell him the chance of its survival in a fire: melted puddles of aluminum left them with little hope, but the discovery of an intact steel ice pick gave them pause.

Eve responded with a message of encouragement:

“…Your ring was created in palladium – a metal with a very high melting point of just over 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Palladium is a platinum group metal, so its melting point is closer to platinum, making it possible it might have survived. You would have to ask the firefighters more about the internal temperature of the fires to know if you should be digging around in the ashes & rubble to try & find it. And, I would ask them, based on their fire expertise, how things burn/would the items of metal that don’t burn dink into the Earth or rest in the rubble, perhaps it would assist you in your recovery efforts.”

After a period of silence, Eve received a telling picture in the mail:

ring.burnt
The ring survived! It had oxidized ‘beautifully’ in the fire, but the grateful owners cleaned the exterior of the ring to return it to its former luster…the inside, however, was purposefully left with a telltale patina of oxidization on the inside. In a final note from the California couple, a message of hope was shared:

“Dear Diane & Eve,
Just a quick follow up. Finding the ring on our own has given us such high hopes of pulling through this loss. It is more about memories attached to the items than the physical being…

…What a pleasure to have had you in our journey.”

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Making Markle Sparkle

One of the hottest topics of 2017 has been the happy news that England’s most eligible bachelor has finally locked it down with American actress Meghan Markle. The whole world has been a-buzz with the ensuing frenzy of planning their spring wedding…but could it be that a hot proposal by Prince Harry could also lend some interesting insights into the hot, harrowing history of the earth’s crust? 

botswana.resort
The Botswana resort where Meghan and Prince Harry fell in love.

 

…Of course, no royal proposal would be complete without the perfect, fairy-tale ring…a romantic at heart, Prince Harry used diamonds from his mother’s private collection, as well as a central diamond hailing from Botswana (where the royal romantics met). These days, the African nation enjoys a climate of relative volcanic peace compared to what once was: a clime so fraught with explosive volcanic power that it rained diamonds on more than one occasion (an event which would have pleased the likes of Marilyn Monroe, but for the scalding ash and magma that came with it!).
 
markle.harry

 

It’s no secret that Botswana has boasted more diamonds than any other part of the world since the eighties…while it’s true that these lovely, lustrous gems can exist anywhere in great quantity, in most parts of the world they’re also inconveniently located 100-or-so miles underground. It takes a historically massive upheaval to send them into the air and a bit closer to the surface for miners and princes alike to easily find. Research by scientists like Janne Koornneef  has indicated two such events in the region Markle’s diamond hails from, both 1.1 billion and 3 billion years ago.
 

eruption

 

This first batch was caused when the Zimbabwe Craton -a rather sizeable chunk of the earth’s crust- broke free and slammed into a neighboring craton! The second time a diamond-scattering took place, it was during a time from whence the ‘Umkondo Large Igenous Province’ drew its name…the entire region was completely transformed by the large and overactive volcanoes covering the terrain.
 
Prince Harry engagement

 

…Not so interested in tackling the trip to Botswana for a blind date, like the auspicious pair did, or in facing walls of steaming ash for your diamonds? Maybe consider giving a visit to the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio up in Evanston instead!

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Q & Eve: In Great Spirits

The new series will be revealed Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 1:00p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, with guests enjoying a “Bubbly Bar” and festive refreshments, a live music ensemble, raffle prizes, and Evanston-made art jewelry.
bracelet
Tourmaline bracelet by Eve Alfille. Photo by Matt Arden.

Q: Congratulations! You recently celebrated your 60th wedding anniversary, and now the 30th anniversary of your business! To what do you attribute this long and fabulous career?

Eve: To an artist, I think creating is a natural activity, like eating or drinking…exhilarating or frustrating, but always intense. “In Great Spirits” is a reminder that life can still unpack delight – that we are wired for joy as much as for doom.

 

Q: Is there a secret meaning in the title for your new series “In Great Spirits,” and can you elaborate on it a bit?

Eve: …You can rage at the dying of the light, you can go off on the road less traveled by, but deep down, we are social animals, and derive warmth from celebrating together such things as the harvest, a wedding or a good death.

 

Q: Looking back on 30 years at your gallery, is it what you expected?

Eve: As a teen, I had this romantic vision of founding an artists’ colony, housed i an ancient castle…we’d all be making art. And when I would reach the age of 36 (being ancient) I would leave this earth…didn’t completely work out this way!

 

Q: What is the key to longevity in both work & life, in your experience?

Eve: I worry very little. I rejoice often. I really like being part of a community, both coworkers and our patrons!

 

Q: What would you like to say to those who have been with the gallery since the beginning?

Eve: The absolute first thing I owe is gratitude to all those kind, patient art patrons who allowed me this extraordinary adventure!

 

Q: Do you still do any gold & platinum smithing work yourself?

Eve: There is never enough time in the day, so when I do, it’s done at night. This is when I can open the taps of inspiration & let ideas flow…designs evolve unbidden as a piece emerges.

vineyardwedding
“Vineyard Wedding” ruby and sapphire ring by Eve Alfille. Photo by Matt Arden.

Q: Are there any techniques, motifs, or materials which you plan to favor in this new series?

Eve: I think of the harvest, of fruit before it goes to the press, of the new wine, and of growing hops. Of tourmalines, green sapphires, rubies, gold in warm tones, and lush pearls…

 

Q: Does ‘spirit’-uality hold a place in your work?

Eve: I am thankful to our Maker for allowing us to keep the gallery flowing all these years!

 

Q: As a well-travelled citizen of the world, what is the best “spirit” you have ever encountered…either drinking or otherwise!

Eve: We spent some years living in Switzerland, where people do not make friends as readily as we do – but when they finally do, friendship is marked by epic Sunday formal lunches, lasting till evening! Many good bottles are enjoyed amid lively conversation, and by the end of the day, all stand empty. But no one is tipsy – just in great spirits! So this series is a celebration of the human bond – a time when strife recedes, when tolerance and good humor remind us we need each other.

 

cheers