Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Sustainable Jewels

by Ann Covode

Actress and left-wing activist Jane Fonda signaled her goodness at the Academy awards via social media, posting a photo of herself in a recycled designer dress and her “ethically harvested” and “sustainable” jewelry.

Jane Fonda at the 2020 Academy Awards

Fonda’s designer dress was also reportedly “recycled,” meaning she wore it to an award show once before. Fonda, an avid climate activist, presented “Best Picture” at the 2020 Oscars.

What does it mean to have ethically harvested gold and sustainable diamonds? At this time in our country and around the world it is a good question to ask.
Eve has been buying recycled gold for years. “This is a great way to recycle as there is lots of gold out there that can be reused. The refiner that we use has very high quality mixtures. They remix gold for various uses”. When using recycled gold you avoid the environmentally toxic methods of mining.”

Eco-friendly Gold, Eco-Gold or Green-Gold is mined and recovered with a minimal ecological disruption and WITHOUT using mercury, cyanide or any other hazardous chemical, usually using the gravity method. Gold jewelry and coins are often recycled through brick-and-mortar dealers or mail-in programs that pay individuals for the unwanted gold. Gold recycled from fillings and other dental work is often collected by dentists and sent to a recycler.

What does it mean when you use your family’s gems? It is a form of recycling that has been happening for years.

Eve is a long time fan of recycled and redesigned jewelry. Many of her customers bring in gems from their parents and grandparents to have Eve redesign a piece for their tastes. A recent example is a customer who brought in her mother’s gold watch with rubies and some family diamonds. Eve worked with this customer to design a ring that would contain all of these gems.

Eve sketching a new design

The 14 karat rose gold came from her mother’s watch, as well as the 6 rubies that contribute to the elegant, fun spirit of this Confetti ring. It is 8 mm wide in front, but of course, the diamonds stray beyond its borders!

The Wax for the Ring

The customer requested that the names of the women in her family whose diamonds are in this ring be inscribed inside. It is also signed Eve J. Alfille.

The finished piece!

Recycling and redesigning jewelry isn’t a new concept at all. It has been happening for hundreds of years. A famous example follows:
In the early 1900’s the maharajas from India became enchanted with the art deco designs they had seen coming out of Paris. They, too wanted to redesign some of their jewels for the modern age.

Jacques Cartier with Indian gemstone dealers. Photo from Jacques Cartier’s album recording his voyage to India in 1911. Cartier Archives


The maharajas were fascinated by the Parisian styles Cartier showed them, and many would entrust their jewels to the Parisian house. Between 1925 and 1928, for example, the Maharaja of Patiala commissioned Cartier to re-set his Crown Jewels — one of the largest single commissions in the firm’s history.

The close bond between Cartier and India was most apparent during the Art Deco period, and resulted in two types of jewels: the Indian gems redesigned in the Cartier Western style for the maharajas, and the ‘India-inspired’ jewels presented to Cartier’s Western clientele.

In 1936 Daisy Fellowes, the French-American socialite and Singer sewing machine heiress, commissioned the Collier Hindou, a garden of rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds believed to have been inspired by a Cartier creation for the Maharajah of Patna. It was secured with an adjustable silk cord in the Indian style.

Cartier’s Tutti Frutti Necklace

This style later became known as the “Tutti Frutti” necklace and became popular for years to come at Cartier.

Daisy Fellowes


A long time customer of Eve’s brought in a large diamond from her grandmother set in her wedding ring. She preferred to have a pendant instead so Eve designed a new piece for her.
The result is a stunning pendant that she will wear often!

Design for pendant
A beautiful redesign!

One client brought in a beautiful Marquise diamond and some round diamonds to ask Eve create something new for her. Eve came up with a vine ring creation which also incorporated her round sapphire and a new pear pink tourmaline. Underneath she wanted a green stone so Eve suggested a tsavorite garnet as a secret stone. The result is a stunning combination of gems set in 14 karat white gold.

Another lovely creation by Eve

Another customer brought in some Native American earrings that she wasn’t wearing. Eve then redesigned them into a necklace with onyx and turquoise in an asymmetrical design.
We also designed these beautiful Sleeping Beauty turquoise earrings with cultured fresh water pearls and our 3mm diamonds set in 18 karat yellow gold. What fun it is to recycle and redesign with Eve!

A happy customer!

Perhaps this is a time to look through pieces given to you from someone special that you might want to redesign into something new?

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Aquamarine – the calming stone

by Ann Covode

For many centuries, oceanic energy was believed to be contained within the delicate semblance of Aquamarine. When amulets made of this precious gem were worn, sailors believed that unmatched bravery would be instilled in their souls, giving them the power to overcome even the most powerful storm. In these uncertain times, perhaps aquamarine can be a solace to your soul?

In the Middle Ages, aquamarine was one of the crystals most often used to create a ball for fortune telling. People back then also believed pairing an aquamarine with a diamond helped create a long happy marriage. They considered aquamarine to be a perfect gift for a wedding anniversary, thinking that it would bring more love into the relationship.

Aquamarine will be featured in Eve’s new series opening of May 2nd (tentative date).

Brazil was previously the world’s major supplier of Aquamarine; however, today, African nations, such as Nigeria and Madagascar, provide a greater supply of this gemstone. The blue color comes from the presence of ferrous iron.

Aquamarine is part of the Beryl family. Beryl is found throughout the world, but commercial gem-quality deposits are limited to a few major producers. Nearly all of the largest examples of gem beryls known are from Brazilian localities. In Asia, quanities of aquamarine come from Sri Lanka and from Kashmir in the north of India and Madras in the south. In the last twenty-five years Pakistan has also produced a number of aquamarines and morganites.

The Malagasy Republic of Africa produces a wide range of fine-quality beryls and some exceptionally dark-colored aquamarines. Nigeria has in recent years produced large quantities of aquamarines, found in numerous pegmatite veins. Most recently, Australia has produced aquamarine from Mount Surprise, in North Queensland.

Eve designed this stunning pale blue-green “Winter Solstice” necklace featuring smooth aquamarine ovals, rainforest aquamarine rondelles, rainforest aquamarine briolettes and labradorite discs. The 18 karat white gold chain beautifully brings all the elements together in this stunning necklace from Eve’s “A Winter’s Tale” series.

Eve’s “Winter’s Solstice” Necklace

All varieties of beryl (other than emerald) are subject to heat treatment. A number of green beryls will change color under mild heat treatment to an equivalent shade of blue and therefore become aquamarines. Another beryl variety is emerald, which often has many inclusions, wheras Aquamarine has a flawless crystal structure. Aquamarine forms in a hexagonal system, which forms bladed crystals with vertical striations.

The name Aquamarine translates as you might expect, aqua marina meaning water of the sea in Latin. Metaphysically, people believe that Aquamarine has a soothing and calming effect.

Eve designed this spectacular new Aquamarine ring featuring a center stone of 6.70 carats with a companion two side trillion shaped stones of 1.20tw. To complement its beauty there are 6 pretty white diamonds totaling 0.14tw.

Eve’s new Aquamarine Ring

This chunky aquamarine and 18 karat gold necklace is from Eve’s “Antiquities” series. The play with gold and aquamarine makes for a delightful combination.

Eve’s Aquamarine and 18 karat gold necklace

Red sky in the morning is a sailors warning, red sky at night is a sailor’s delight. Aquamarine for your loved one means smooth sailing!

Aquamarines

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Ancient Love Stories

By Ann Covode

Are you a romantic in constant search of the one thing that so many novels, poems, and films have been dedicated to, or are you one of those people who doesn’t have much faith in love, if any at all, and who mocks the bold “explorers” searching for their one true love?

Regardless of which group you belong to, here are five ancient love stories that will renew your faith in love. Some of them might be nothing but creatures of mythology or literature and others are probably exaggerated, but the sure thing is that all these stories became immortal in time and part of pop culture due to their deep message for all of humankind: Love conquers all.

William Shakespeare’s world renowned Romeo and Juliet (written sometime between 1591 and 1595) stands in the historical record as one of the greatest love stories ever written. It has been retold many times in playhouses and theaters and has a wealth of film adaptations of both traditional and modern interpretations. It is most interesting to discover then, that Romeo and Juliet was not, in fact, truly of his own creation, but rather a variation on a story told many times from the fourteen hundreds onwards. Centered on the theme of star-crossed lovers, borrowed from poets as far back as ancient Greece, Romeo and Juliet’s tale was told at least a century before Shakespeare actually wrote it.

“Romeo and Juliet” by Ford Maddox Brown (1870)

The first certain tale of the woes of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet descends from Italian author Masuccio Salernitano (1410-1475). Published a year after his death, Salernitano’s 33 rd chapter of his Il Novellino tells of Mariotto and Giannoza, a pair of lovers who come from the feuding families of Maganelli and Saraceni respectively.

One can only imagine the types of adornments these lovers may have worn at the time, but Eve has created some designs that might help you…

Eve’s “Ancient Echos” Necklace

Eve’s “Ancient Echoes” necklace features a remarkable Vesuvian lava cameo from early 19th Century, set in 18 karat gold, with 18 karat gold links and hearts. 2 diamonds totaling 0.12 carats bring a sparkling touch to this beautiful, historically interesting necklace.

Odysseus and Penelope
In our modern times very few people would be able to understand the unique bond between Odysseus and Penelope and even fewer could imitate what they did.
Soon after they got married, Odysseus had to leave Penelope and their infant son to fight as one of Greece’s leaders in the Trojan War. He wouldn’t return home for the next 20 years, a period of time in which Penelope was totally faithful to her husband and declined every offer from the 108 suitors who conquered Odysseus’s kingdom.

The mythical king of Ithaca was equally devoted to his true love, and despite following his biological “needs” a couple of times, he eventually declined most temptations and decided to return home to his wife and son. A story for all of us to remember – true love is worth waiting for and can beat any distance if there’s hope and faith.

‘Odysseus and Penelope’ (1563) by Francesco Primaticcio

 


Cleopatra and Mark Antony
This is possibly the most famous love story in the world behind that of Romeo and Juliet – and without a doubt it is the most popular historically recorded love of all time. The two fell in love at first sight and their love was so strong that it became a threat to the Roman Empire, which kept losing power and control to Egypt because of the decisions made a blinded-by-love Mark Antony.

Despite all the obstacles and warnings, Mark Antony and Cleopatra got married and Antony ended up fighting his own people. According to one version of their story, it is believed that while fighting a battle against the Romans, Antony was informed falsely that Cleopatra was dead and, devastated by this news, took his own life with his sword. When Cleopatra learned of Antony’s death, she took her own life, putting an end to one of the most famous loves that ended in tragedy.

 

Perhaps Cleopatra wore something like these enchanting “Seville” earrings of pearls, diamonds & 18 karat gold are signature pieces from Eve’s “Antiquities” series. These one of a kind earrings feature a beautiful pair of rosey-bronze cultured mabé pearls in the center of the 18k gold elements. A pair of teardrop shaped rose-cut diamonds are surrounded by 18k gold granulation in the permanently attached earwires. These rose-cut diamonds total 0.14 carats. Suspended from sides are 4 freshwater cultured pearls which flutter & dance. Suspended at the bottom of these amazing earrings are 2 tiny cultured Akoya pearls and a pair of tiny shimmering faceted diamond briolettes which quiver and shine as you move and talk.

These earrings are paired with the gorgeous “Surprising Thaw” necklace featuring South Sea pearls, Kazumiga pearls and morganite in 18 karat pink gold and is 19 ½ inches. Also shown is the “Bathing in Bubbles” Kazumiga pearl necklace with an 18 karat gold clasp and a ruby form Eve’s “Klimt” series.

 

Eve’s “Classic Palmetto” earrings

 

Or, she might have chosen to wear these “Classic Palmetto” 14k and champagne diamond earrings from Eve’s “Antiquities” series.

 

Tristan and Isolde

The heartbreaking love story of Tristan and Isolde has been told and retold in various stories and manuscripts. Tristan met the love of his life after traveling to Ireland to ask for the hand of the beautiful princess Isolde in marriage, on behalf of his uncle Mark, king of Cornwall.

On their way back to Cornwall, Tristan and Isolde committed a fatal mistake and drank a magic potion, which produced invincible and eternal love in anyone who tasted it. Despite this, Isolde eventually married Mark of Cornwall, but she could not help but love Tristan eternally. The love affair continued after the wedding, but when King Mark finally learned about it, he banned Tristan from Cornwall.

Tristan and Isolde.

 

Tristan moved to Brittany and married another woman – only because her name, Iseult, reminded him of his true love, Isolde. Despite both of them being married to other people they never managed to get over each other and their sad story ends with Isolde dying on Tristan’s chest in what is one of the saddest love stories of medieval literature.

Pyramus and Thisbe


The story of these two young lovers comes from the Middle East. In the tale, Pyramus is described as the most handsome of all men in Babylonia and Thisbe is said to be the most beautiful woman. Just like Romeo and Juliet, they were members of feuding families and for that reason they met secretly and shared a love only they knew about.

In one of their secret meetings near a lake, Thisbe, who was sitting under a tree, saw a lioness with blood on her jaws thirsty for water. As the animal approached the lake, Thisbe panicked and ran to a cave to hide but unfortunately as she rushed to hide she dropped her veil. When the lion saw the veil, it picked it up and left blood all over it. When Pyramus arrived on the scene and found Thisbe’s bloody veil, he only thought of the worst and was shattered by the idea that a wild animal killed Thisbe. The pain led him to take his sword and stab himself in the chest. When Thisbe returned to the meeting place and saw Pyramus lying dead she killed herself with his sword too.

You might be able to imagine Thisbe wearing this richly detailed, elegant “Palmetto” bracelet is 18 karat gold, with 5 tawny champagne diamonds totaling 0.30 carats and 18 glittering diamonds totaling 0.18 carats.

Eve’s “Palmetto” Bracelet

Heloise and Abelard
In 12th-century Europe, the norm for your average society was to be as repressed and strict as it gets; thus, a love affair between a theologian and philosopher (Abelard) and his younger student, Heloise, scandalized and challenged Parisian society like never before. The thin line between blind faith and logic was violated and the consequences were about to hit Heloise and Abelard hard, who by the way had already been married. The trigger was when Heloise got pregnant; they both realized that it would not be safe for her to remain in Paris and they fled to Brittany, Abelard’s birthplace.

Heloise’s uncle, Fulbert, canon of Notre Dame and the one who had hired Abelard to be his niece’s tutor, in a scheme to protect her dignity (only in his own mind), was the one who put an end to their love by having his servants castrate Abelard while he slept.

Abelard became a monk and dedicated his life to philosophy while the heartbroken Heloise was forced by her uncle to give her child up for adoption and become a nun, even though she remained in love with Abelard, with whom she corresponded for the rest of her life. Their affectionate but sad love letters were later published and continue to touch thousands of people around the world today.

Eve’s “Cherub” earrings

Possibly, Heloise could have worn something like these sweet “Cherub” earrings in 14 karat gold, with a delightful hand-carved image of Cupid himself!

Some love affairs don’t end tragically. One good example is Eve’s relationship with her husband Maurice Alfillé. They met over 60 years ago in Montreal after Eve attended McGill University (Maurice graduated from Berkeley in CA and was working and living in Montreal). On the weekends people went up to the Laurentian mountains for the weekends to enjoy swimming in a beautiful setting. Eve remembers going up there with her friends to stay at a camp and invited friends to join her. They went to a nearby resort to see what the scene was like but determined that it really wasn’t their type of thing but decided to stay overnight for a dance anyway. The next day they were hanging around the pool at this resort. Eve looked quite stunning in her wide brimmed straw hat and was having fun talking with her friends. Maurice noticed this woman on the other side of the pool surrounded by people. He wondered who this fascinating woman was and why so many people were around. Eventually, a mutual friend introduced them and the rest is history!

What is your love story? We’d love to hear it at the gallery. Celebrate love this month! It really does conquer all!

 

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Garnets – January’s Birthstone

by Ann Covode

January’s birthstone garnet is one of Eve’s favorite gemstones and her birthstone as well. Red garnets have a long history, but modern gem buyers can pick from a rich palette of garnet colors: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, but not blue. Red garnet is one of the most common and widespread of gems. But not all garnets are as abundant as the red ones. A green garnet, tsavorite, is rarer and needs rarer rock chemistries and conditions to form.

Antique Pyrope Hairpin in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Chip Clark, courtesy Smithsonian Institution

Thousands of years ago, red garnet necklaces adorned the necks of Egypt’s pharaohs, and were entombed with their mummified corpses as prized possessions for the afterlife. In ancient Rome, signet rings with carved garnets were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents.

The term carbuncle was often used in ancient times to refer to red garnets, although it was used for almost any red stone. Carbuncle was thought to be one of the four precious stones given to King Solomon by God. Centuries later, in Roman scholar Pliny’s time (23 to 79 AD), red garnets were among the most widely traded gems. In the Middle Ages (about 475 to 1450 AD), red garnet was favored by clergy and nobility.

Red garnet’s availability increased with the discovery of the famous Bohemian garnet deposits in central Europe around 1500. This source became the nucleus of a regional jewelry industry that reached its peak in the late 1800s. They are now exhausted.

Eve was first attracted to garnets as a young girl in France. Her parents presented her an opal heart with a halo of garnets for your 13th birthday. These were the famous Bohemian garnets from Czechoslovakia. She went to Prague with her family and learned more about the history of garnets.

Later, while studying antique jewelry methods she was challenged to make a piece resembling a pin from Charlemagne’s time with delicate walls separating shaped inlays of garnet. This mosaic like piece was difficult but Eve succeeded in mastering the design.

Eve played with multiple colors of garnets in a piece she designed a few years ago and entitled it “Darn it another garnet”. Later, when she needed a new engagement ring she employed Demantoid garnets which are green in color and scarce. She combined these with some family diamonds for an exquisite piece.

Eve’s Engagement Ring

Demantoid garnets are very rare and were found around the early 1900’s. Salamander designs with these garnets became very popular among the well-known jewelry houses. Other interesting garnets include andradite garnets with both green and yellow . Color change garnets shift from blueish purple to pink or orange.

Mt. St. Hilaire garnets are a delightful peach color and bring back many memories for Eve as she remembers visiting this delightful place near Quebec when she was a college student at McGill. This renowned gem site features a unique topography and stone varieties found nowhere else.

Mt. St. Hilaire, Quebec

In Eve’s recent collections she has created beautiful pieces with garnets. In her “Doors of Perception” pendant she features a cabochon hessonite garnet in a 14k gold bezel with 9-14k gold granules which almost suspend it in the beautiful sterling silver setting. The “Doors of Perception” are based on a design known as a Yantra in Hinduism. A Yantra is a symbolic figure. It’s world is to be protected once you cross the inner triple circle.

Eve’s “Doors of Perception” necklace

In her “Sacred Geometries” series she created this luminous “6 times 6” Hessonite garnet necklace with a 14 karat gold clasp and 6 spessartite garnets.

Eve’s “Six times Six” Necklace

Also, for the “Sacred Geometries” series she recalled ancient shapes with these “One plus two plus three” earrings in 18 karat rose gold with 2 anthill garnets and 2 garnet briolettes.

Eve’s “One plus Two plus Three” Earrings

“Vampire’s Kiss” ring with 14 karat gold and 14 karat white gold features a large garnet with 12 black diamonds and 20 small diamonds.

“Vampire’s Kiss” Ring

This beautiful “Reticent Splendour” necklace from Eve’s “Feather’s” series features garnets, mandarin garnets, spinels and sapphires.

Eve’s “Reticent Splendour” Necklace

Come explore the wide selection of garnets at Eve Alfillé Gallery & Studio! You won’t be disappointed.