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.
The 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:
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.”