Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

“Sacred Geometries” Artist Notes

By Ann Covode

Part 1 of 3 in a series of articles that explore Eve’s design process as she developed her “Sacred Geometries” series.

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“He was perfect. As Leonardo Da Vinci drew him, he was the poster boy, the icon, for all that was right with creation. His proportions, mathematically correct, his position, splayed equally between circle and square, (between heaven and earth), This Vitruvian man was know to all, and his example followed by all artists and architects since Plato.

 

Eve talks about dreaming of the shapes that she envisions.  Once it is put on paper she has fully formed the idea in her imagination. Her newest series “Sacred Geometries” has been in her imagination for several years.  She reads a lot about history and creation and the origins of civilization. From her years in archaeological sites, she retains a belief that humans seek not only food and shelter, but also a measure of transcendence, to give life a meaning.
Alfillé was schooled in the classics, Latin and Greek, but notes that her archaeological work took her to other civilizations, and spurred her interest in common symbols to all cultures.
She has another view on Vitruvian Man.
“But things change… New continents explored, new ideas and art have moved on. Vitruvian man has lost his job.  And… he’s exhausted hanging there for so long.  He’s out of here, he steps out, and in this piece I have created in gold and gems as a belated homage to the power of ideas” states Eve.
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In this drawing she has created as a design for the pin, she writes “Stepping down”, Vitruvian Man (icon of the ages).  In her notes she expresses “Figure shows exhaustion, he’s lonely there! All these centuries!”
More notes on the design include… He is an outline, but with some depth, 3-D, suggestion of musculature, face is blank.
In her studio she experiments with these ideas and develops her images into yellow and white gold, then embellishes them with diamonds, sapphires and green irradiated diamonds.
Finally, he comes to life in her “Icon Suspended” pendant, which is gleaming with 18K white and yellow gold.
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“Icon Suspended” pin/pendant
18k gold and 18k white gold
Rubies, rose-cut diamonds, sapphires, green irradiated diamond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The Circle in the Square” In almost every civilization, the circle is taken to represent heaven, where the square denotes the built environment i.e. earth. Just as in the Vitruvian man drawing, Da Vinci depicted man suspended between heaven and earth.

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“In these earrings, I wanted to show that each one of us potentially carries a piece of heaven within us,” states Eve.
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Coming Soon: Part 2!
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“Circle in the Square” earrings
Sterling Silver and 14 karat gold
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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Les perles précieuses de la reine de France font vendues!

By Jennifer Conley

Queen Marie Antoinette, the notorious French queen who lost her head during the French Revolution, had a collection of spectacular jewels befitting any queen. During the revolution, most of the French royal jewels were looted but Marie Antoinette was able to send a portion of her jewels to her family in Austria for safe keeping. For over 200 years the collection has been kept in the private collection of Marie Antoinette’s descendants but at the beginning of November 2018, Sotheby’s auction house in Geneva sold many of the famous queen’s prized jewels.

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Don’t lose your head over the price, the prized pieces of the deceased French queen sold at auction for 53 million euros (approximately 60 millions US dollars)!!!!!

 

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The highlight of the auction was Marie Antoinette’s stunning pearl and diamond pendant which sold for 28 million euros (approximately 32 millions US dollars)!!!!!

The pendant features a ribbon of 27 diamonds that attaches to the magnificent 15.90 by 18.35 by 25.85 mm pear shaped pearl. This part of the pendant was originally worn on the third row of  Marie Antoinette’s three strand pearl necklace with the large oval shaped diamond, that is currently on the top of the pendant, originally in the clasp of the necklace.

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Her pearl necklace consisted of 162 natural pearls, including the large natural pear shaped pearl that hung from the pendant.

This enchanting piece was eventually passed down to Marie Antoinette’s daughter, Marie Thérèse of France. Over time the pendant was removed from the necklace and constructed into the magnificent piece that it is today. The pendant is now the most expensive pearl jewel in the world to date, which seems appropriate considering the extravagance of the late French queen, non?

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Custom Design, Design Series, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Eve's Insight, jewelry

Sacred Season

solemncandlesAs the holidays draw near many of us are
drawn to things in our life that are sacred.

Eve’s “Sacred Geometries” series draws inspiration from ancient history and artifacts from many lands.  Delving into her interest in archeology, she has unearthed many repeating patterns among civilizations and religions.  Exploring the shapes and traditions of the Celtic World, Islam, Japan, of medieval alchemy and magic as well as Stone Age cultures she has realized; “Geometry’s use is to describe the world.  When we feel awe at nature and the Creation, geometry becomes sacred.”

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Eve found interesting shapes in ancient architecture as an inspiration for her “Egg and Dart” pendant made with extra fine Moonstone and 23 Diamonds.

Egg-and-dart or egg-and-tongue is an ornamental device often carved in wood, stone, or plaster quarter-round ovolo mouldings, consisting of an egg-shaped object alternating with an element shaped like an arrowanchor or dart. Egg-and-dart enrichment of the ovolo molding of the Ionic capital is found in ancient Greek architecture at the Erechtheion and was used by the Romans.[1] The motif has also been common in neoclassical architecture.[2][3]

“When many circles intersect, graceful patterns are formed; some with roots in ancient writings like the “Flower of Life” figures which these earrings and pendant are related.  “Isfahan”, as the pendant is titled, a famous old city in Persia, is graced with innumerable mosaics and I found pattern amid the tiles on the walls in this city.” States Eve.

“Isfahan” pendant.  5 Diamonds = 0.05tw G-H/VS/SI. Fresh Water Pearl, 18K Rose Gold

“Arabesque ll Earrings.  2 Fresh Water Pearls extra fine. 14K Gold.  $1835
Isfahan is an important city as it is located at the intersection of the two principal north–south and east–west routes that traverse Iran. It was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries under the Safavid dynasty when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history. 

isfahanEven today the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture, having many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets, and the city also has many historical buildings, monuments, paintings and artifacts. The fame of Isfahan led to the Persian pun and proverb “Esfahān nesf-e- jahān ast“: Isfahan is half (of) the world.[5]
The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world. UNESCO has designated it a World Heritage Site.

isosceles“From the solidity of the pyramids to the intersecting curves that we have abstracted from nature; triangular, circular and square shapes have often taken on special meanings for us.  A triangle is rooted in earth, but aspires to heaven.  Two intersecting circles define a vesica , an oval angled at both ends, which can symbolize fertility.”

The “Isosceles/or Not” earrings feature 4 malachite stones and silver with 14k posts. $1056.

The round “Intersect” earrings  have two beautiful chyrsoprase stones carved by the famous Dieter Lorenz with 12 Diamonds and 14K white gold. $2440.

The “Arabesque I” earrings feature 8 Diamonds – 0.06tw and two diamond briolettes – .32tw and 18K white gold. $2620.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Halloween Edition: The Curse of the Hope Diamond

By Jennifer Conley

The Hope Diamond has fascinated those who have had the pleasure of gazing upon its immense blue beauty as well as those who have been intrigued by the urban legend that the diamond is cursed.

In the early 1900s, the Diamond came into the spotlight and stories about the tragedies that have befallen those who have possessed or worn the diamond started appearing in newspapers. The Curse of the Hope Diamond was formed from those stories and, to many, is still believed today.

The Diamond was said to originally be 112 carat (currently at 44.5 carats) and stolen from a statue of the goddess Sita in India in the middle 1600s. Sita is the Hindu Goddess noted for her devotion to her husband Rama, a manifestation of Vishnu, and is associated with the feminine virtue of all women.  As a sacred statue to the Hindu faith, stealing from the statue would lead to unfortunate consequences, which is the foundation of the curse.

The first “victim” of the curse is Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a French gem merchant, who procured the stone in 1642 during his five year gem excavation in India. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier died in Russia at age eight-four, supposedly after being mauled by wild dogs.  

King Louis XIV of France bought the diamond from Tavernier in 1668 and named it “Bleu de France” (French Blue). King Louis XIV’s rule was long and prosperous but tragedy did befall the great French king. His son and heir, Louis “Le Grand Dauphin”, died of smallpox in 1711. Less than a year later in 1712, King Louis XIV grandson, Louis “Le Petit Dauphin”, died after getting measles. The eldest son of “Le Petit Dauphin” would also catch and die from measles.

While it was in King Louis XIV’s possession, it was rumored that he allowed a few courtesans and his superintendent of Finances, Nicolas Fouquet, to wear the diamond. All fell out of favor with the king, supposedly after wearing the stone and would be noted as “victims” of the curse. Fouquet was tried for treason and imprisoned till his death in 1680. Fouquet’s misfortune would appear to link to the curse; however, if one looks at a timeline of his misfortune, it is clear he is not a victim at all. King Louis XIV did not purchase the “Bleu de France” till four years after Fouquet had already been imprisoned, making it impossible for him to have worn the legendary diamond.

After outliving all of his sons and grandsons, King Louis died of gangrene in 1715. Inheriting the throne and the “Bleu de France” diamond was King Louis XV.

The rule of King Louis XV was fairly long and filled with military success but, as his forefathers before him, misfortune befell him and his family members. King Louis XV, similarly to his great grandfather, would outlive all of his children. His heir, Louis, would die in 1765 of tuberculosis. He would also outlive his wife and his favorite mistress who died shortly after his son. His eldest grandson, Louis XVI, was named his heir and took the throne upon the death of his grandfather in 1774. King Louis XV died of smallpox and left his successor, not only a throne, but tax policies and debts that caused public displeasure of the monarchy and would eventually lead up to the French Revolution.  

King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, are some of the more well known victims of the Hope Diamond curse. King Louis XVI, allegedly, thought the diamond was cursed and refused to wear it. His wife on the other hand, indulged in the best France had to offer, which included the magnificent “Bleu de France”.  France was already in deficit when King Louis XVI took the throne from costly wars and the excessive spending of the French but King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette continued the monarchy’s lavish spending and involvement in costly wars (like the American Revolution). To fund their exorbitant lifestyle they exploited their people forcing them, the lower and middle class, to pay higher taxes. France had lost its faith in the monarchy and unrest turned to anger in 1792 after food shortages plagued the country.  By summer, mobs had stormed Versailles and the royal family was imprisoned in the Square du Temple in Paris.

Marie Antoinette’s closest confidant was Marie Thérèse Louise of Savoy, Princesse de Lamballe. After remaining loyal to the monarchy during the French Revolution, she was stabbed and beheaded during what today is called, the September Killings of 1792. After her brutal murder, her head was placed on a spike to be displayed in front of the Temple where Marie Antoinette was being held. Antoinette was said to have let the Princesse de Lamballe wear the “Bleu de France” on several occasions prior to the Revolution.

King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed in 1793. During the French Revolution the “Bleu de France” was looted and would end up in the possession of a Dutch jeweler, Wilhelm Fals. Fals re-cut the diamond when it came into his possession, to which many believe to be its size and shape that it is today. He was murdered by his son who subsequently stole the diamond and committed suicide in 1830.

Nine years later, Henry Philip Hope comes into possession of the Diamond where it is called from then on, The Hope Diamond. Henry Philip Hope dies after featuring the diamond in his gem catalog and leaves the stone to his nephew Lord Henry Thomas Hope.  Lord Hope, unlike many of the other owners of the diamond, lived a successful and peaceful life. After he and his wife died, the diamond was passed on to his grandson, Lord Francis Hope.

Lord Francis married May Hope in 1894 and both, similarly to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, lived an overindulgent lifestyle despite not having the funds to support that lifestyle. Lord Francis went bankrupt and May left him for Captain Bradlee Strong. Lord Francis sold off the diamond to help alleviate some of his debt; however, he died before getting out of debt.  His ex-wife May would also die in poverty following a mediocre career as an actress.

The next owner of the Hope was Simon Frankel, who purchased the diamond from Lord Francis in 1902.  The Frankels would have the diamond in their possession till 1908 when they would begin negotiations to sell it to the Turkish Sultan, Abdul Hamid II. The Frankels didn’t have any noted tragedies while the diamond was in their possession but did have some trouble during the Depression with their finances which isn’t saying very much because it was the Great Depression and everyone faced some sort of financial struggles!  

The next “victim” of the Hope was Simon Montharides, the broker of the deal between the Frankel’s and the diamond merchant, who died when he drove his car off a cliff.  He and his entire family died on impact. There are some who believe he drove off the cliff on purpose.

Sultan Abdul Hamid II sold the Hope diamond in 1909 to Pierre Cartier. He was overthrown that same year and would go down in history as the last power governing Sultan of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

Evelyn Walsh McLean, a very wealthy heiress, bought the diamond from Cartier in 1911. She publicly claimed not to believe in the curse. She regularly wore the diamond and some even claim she would occasionally put the diamond on her dog’s collar.

Many of her family members, like others who have possessed the stone, died rather unfortunate deaths. Her ex-husband, Edward Beale McLean, struggled with mental illness and died from a heart attack while at a sanitarium. Her son Vinson died after being hit by a car and her daughter overdosed at the young age of 25. All died within the thirty-six years the diamond was in her possession.

Over time, Evelyn, went bankrupt and had to sell many of her possessions including her ex-husband’s newspaper, The Washington Post. She did not, however, sell the diamond.

The diamond would be sold with the rest of Evelyn’s estate after she died in 1847 from pneumonia.

Harry Winston purchased the diamond at the jewelry estate auction and was the final owner of the stone before he generously donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1958. Harry Winston was not affected by the “Curse”, however, the mail carrier who delivered the diamond to the Smithsonian on Winston’s behalf might have been. He was in a car crash that crushed his leg after he delivered the diamond and his house burned down shortly after that.  

Is the Hope Diamond really cursed? Or are the misfortunes of those who have owned it just a coincidence, amplified and told for human amusement? As beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, the answer lies in the beliefs of our readers.

I hope you all have a Happy Halloween and, if you haven’t had a chance, stop by the gallery to see Eve’s newest series Sacred Geometries” which was release Saturday October 27th!

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

“Sacred Geometries”

Eve’s New Series

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Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio announces the opening of the new “Sacred Geometries” series of fine art jewelry on Saturday October 27th from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., 623 Grove Street, Evanston.  Tel.  847-869-7920.

 

Eve, a French-born artist, archeologist and gem expert has been designing unique jewelry for over 40 years.  Her new series draws inspiration from age-old shapes and beliefs dating back to prehistoric times.  Influenced by the “Heavenly Bodies” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which examined fashion’s engagement with the traditional practices of Catholicism, Eve has explored that idea much further with shapes and traditions of the Celtic World, Islam, Japan, of medieval alchemy and magic as well as Stone Age cultures. “Geometry’s use is to describe the world. When we feel awe at nature and the Creation, geometry becomes sacred. “States Eve as she describes her work.

 

She playfully intertwines basic circles, squares and triangles with sapphires, diamonds, garnets and rubies, creating at once modern and ancient jewels that would not be out of place in a ‘Game of Thrones’ universe. “What I design is wearable art, but I want each piece to tell a story, and if you see yourself in that story, it makes me immensely happy” says Alfillé.

 

Co-sponsored by Chicago Magazine, this event features a raffle for a Chopping Block Gift Basket valued at $200 and an Eve Alfillé “Sacred Geometries” necklace.

 

Please join us for a glass of wine, snacks and immersion into a mystical world!

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