Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Red Hot Rubies!

By Katie McMath

laserAs the days get warmer and we enter July, ruby lovers rejoice! This month’s birthstone is not only vivid in color but fluorescent, making it glow from within like the sun. Ancient Greeks believed rubies could melt wax, while Hindu myth said they could boil water. This might sound farfetched until you learn that the first laser in 1960 was made with ruby. Theodore Maiman discovered that chromium, the element which grants rubies their color and fluorescence, becomes energized when hit with a flash of white light. This sends forth a highly concentrated red light beam, known as a laser. This is why we typically think of lasers as red! Rubies are still used today in lasers, watch-making and medical instruments. They are a 9 on Mohs’ hardness scale, making them one of the hardest stones. (Diamonds are a 10.) In short, this gem has far more to offer than beauty.

In fact rubies have been considered one of the most valuable stones for over a dozen centuries. In Hindu tradition they are valued above all other gems, called Ratna Raj or ‘Queen of Precious Stones’ in Sanskrit. Many believed offering rubies to the god Krishna could help them be reborn as emperors in the next life. It’s likely that the most famous gem in Hindu myth, the magical Syamantaka, worn by Krishna, was a ruby.

The history of rubies often blurs myth and fact. Red stones have been historically referred to as rubies regardless of their makeup. For example the Black Prince Ruby which completes the British Imperial State Crown is a red spinel. The same can be said of the Timur Ruby. Even the Latin word for red, ruber, reveals the link between color and stone. 

pic1In reality rubies are a variety of corundum, the same mineral as sapphire. The only difference is the presence of chromium which makes rubies range from deep burgundy or wine-colored, to hot pink, to vivid scarlet. 

Another myth revolves around location. Mogok, or the Ruby Valley, in Northern Burma was once claimed to be the sole source of rubies. Writers described the valley as rich with rubies since the dawn of time. Every ancient example was thought to have come from this one valley. In fact about 80% of ancient and contemporary rubies hail from Mogok, not a percentage to be scoffed at.  

It is said that one Burmese king ordered workers in the Mogok mine to give him the largest rubies they found, and paid them with the smallest. This gave miners incentive to crush up beautiful gems so they wouldn’t have to part with them. If this story holds any weight it offers another explanation as to why large rubies are so rare. In 2015 The Sunrise Ruby, weighing 25.5 carats, made history when it sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $30.3 million. More recently, a Harry Winston ring with a 22.86 carat Burmese ruby and two half moon diamonds sold for 7.1 million at Christie’s Auction House. 

Burmese rubies are famous for their almost indescribable red hue, which is simultaneously bright, dark, and vivid. This is called “pigeon’s blood.” The dramatic 1955 novel The Valley of the Rubies used this term again and again, calling it “some mystic incantation; some magic password…”

A stone so strongly linked to magic, royalty, and technology must be good luck. Its lively color can be likened to fire, blood, or life force itself, making rubies a passionate and vital stone. They are thought in Burma to increase courage and even bestow invincibility. Their use in lasers and medicine proves that they are highly energetic and durable. 

rubyHowever the Queen of Stones is not only reserved for royalty or high-end technology. Small rubies abound all over the world. They are even mined in Wyoming, Montana, and North Carolina, as well as Western and Eastern Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Many have made their way to Eve’s gallery and been incorporated into stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces. 

nkl21897px600dkThe “Hard Candy” necklace from Eve’s Just Desserts series looks good enough to eat! Plentiful deep red cabochon rubies are accented with 14 karat gold details, including an intricately carved clasp with a single diamond. This beautiful piece is $2,950.00.

rng21817px600dkAlso from the Just Desserts series is Eve’s whimsical “Who Plucked the Cherries Out?” ring, featuring five rubies tucked into the crust of a sterling silver pie. The metal crisscrosses in an openwork pattern, implying missing cherries. This sweet ring, released during the celebratory mood of Eve Alfillé Gallery’s 30th year of business, is $580. It could make the perfect gift for your July-born loved one, especially if she has a sweet tooth. 

rng17246px600dkEve’s “Fiery Acanthus” ring features gently curved acanthus leaf forms, representative in the Mediterranean of enduring life and immortality. Their presence reminds one of Burmese lore that rubies grant courage and even eternal life. The central ruby is faceted to bring out its depth, weighing 1.08 carats. It shines, sanguine and bold. Four pale green irradiated diamonds balance their ruby neighbor, offering moments of calm around the fire. This gorgeous piece from Eve’s Acanthus series is $5,630.00

Enjoy the heat of the summer, as life is in full bloom around you, and take inspiration from this month’s high-spirited birthstone. Be courageous and beautiful like the dazzling ruby.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Get to know June’s three mysterious birthstones

By Katie McMath

Is your birthday coming up this month? Maybe one of June’s three fascinating birthstones will capture your imagination. Chances are you’re familiar with pearls, and maybe even own a strand of them or a pair of pearl earrings. These soft stones form inside saltwater or freshwater mollusks, usually when a piece of unwelcome material irritates the animal. The mollusk then builds up layers of pearlescent nacre around the intruding object, as humans may rub a wounded elbow or massage an aching back. The nacre itself is known as “mother of pearl.”

All pearls were once natural. They were unearthed from rivers and oceans by divers in brass suits.  In the late 1800s Japanese scientist Kakichi Mitsukuri discovered a way to successfully “culture” pearls by imbedding both hard and soft material under the skin of mollusks, mimicking a small animal intruder. He won a U.S. lawsuit granting him the rights to call these pearls “cultured,” rather than a cheapening name like “synthetic” or “man-made.” Pearls today are mostly made this way.

They come in as many colors as mollusks do. Tahitian oysters tend to be darker with rainbow iridescence like an oil slick, while South Seas oysters are more often golden white.

pearl brcEve’s delicate “Water Nymphs” bracelet is made of cultured freshwater pearls with a simple sterling silver clasp and translucent blue aquamarines. This beautiful piece, or another of our pretty strung pearl bracelets, can get you into the June spirit without breaking the bank. $95.

 

 

alexanderAlexandrite’s story is lesser known. This gem is as rare as it is beautiful. Named after Russian Czar Alexander II, it was believed to be discovered on his birthday in 1830. Whether or not this is literally true, it was likely discovered around the time of his rule, and came to represent this era. Czar Alexander is also known as Alexander the Liberator, as he ordered the emancipation of Russian serfs in 1861. Some fought for him to introduce a more modern Parliament structure to Russia, but he did not opt for this second dramatic change. In 1881 his enemies attempted to assassinate him, shattering his lower body in an explosion.

alexandriteLike Czar Alexander, his namesake stone has two sides: liberation and conflict, progress and violence. Depending on the light Alexandrite changes from green to purplish red. Author Leskov Nicolai Semyonovich wrote about the tragic assassination attempt, saying “Look, here it is, the prophetic Russian stone! O crafty Siberian. It was always green as hope and only toward evening was it suffused with blood.”

This unique effect comes from the presence of chromium, which reflects a lot of green light. In candle light, green light is not as visible, leaving the remaining red reflection to appear more prominently. Not only is Alexandrite beautiful and unusual, it is a type of chrysoberyl, nearly as hard as diamonds.

callalillyEve’s exquisite “Calla Lily” pendant from her “Music of the Stream” series showcases a rare abalone pearl which formed in a floral shape. Abalone are sea snails who, unlike clams, have no enclosed cavity to grow pearls. Therefore their pearls are far more rare. This pearl is also large (1 ½ inches by ⅞ inch at its widest points) and beautifully lustrous with vivid shades of teal and pink. Its three round edges are capped platinum and studded with emeralds, and diamonds. Tucked in the back is a single alexandrite, making this one of a kind pendant perfect for someone born in June. Not only does its pearl offer multicolored shine, but its hidden alexandrite can change color.

If neither pearls nor Alexandrites are your cup of tea, perhaps the lyrical beauty of moonstones will lure you in. These shimmering jewels come from the feldspar group of minerals, along with sunstones and labradorites. Moonstones specifically are known as Orthoclase. Their unique opalescence comes from thin internal layers of different feldspar minerals. The resulting shine is called schiller. If the mineral layers are very thin they appear blue, and if they are thicker they appear white. Try gazing into a moonstone of yours, or one in our gallery and guessing what’s inside.

Moonstones are often carved en cabochon, or rounded and polished. This dreamy shape prevents hard lines from fracturing the stone, and instead promotes an organic feeling of harmony, like gazing up at the moon. For millennia, moonstones have been linked to lunar mythology. 11th century Europeans believed moonstone could resolve lovers’ quarrels, and ancient Indians thought they could reveal lovers’ futures, especially during a full moon. Perhaps your love was born in June, and could appreciate the magical romance of a moonstone gift.

moonearsEve’s whimsical “Faces of the Moon” earrings, shown with detachable pink pearl drops, are made from carved moonstones, bezel set in 14 karat gold. One moon is accented by a small white diamond. These charming lunar earrings are $960.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Colorful Engagement Rings

by Ann Covode

Julia RobertsJulia Roberts is trendsetting once again! She wore some pretty memorable jewels — or, rather, her on-screen character, Vivian Ward, did — in Pretty Woman. It’s quite hard to forget about that ruby-and-diamond necklace Ward receives from Edward Lewis (portrayed by Richard Gere) before the two head off to a fancy soirée. And while it might seem like nothing will ever compare to the dazzling pieces from the ’90s classic, Roberts’ engagement ring from husband Daniel Moder certainly does. Although it’s fairly simple, the actor’s sparkler does stand out for one particular reason. It’s no secret that colored gemstones have been a clear favorite among brides in 2018 and 2019, which means Roberts’ ring — which she’s had perched on her finger since 2002 — is right in line with one of today’s most popular jewelry crazes. Though on trend, one facet sets hers apart from the masses.

JuliaRobertsringJulia’s vibrant green center gemstone makes her ring stand out from the rest. Katy Perry and Princess Eugenie opted for pink center stones and Kate Middleton chose sapphire, but few notable names have sported a verdant jewel on their ring finger, making Roberts’ exceptionally unique.  Julia’s engagement ring appears to feature a 1.5 to 2 carat oval-shaped green tourmaline in a diamond-accented platinum or white gold band.

Eve has designed many unique rings with beautiful colored gemstones. In this “Interchange IV” engagement ring she utilizes a colorful indicolite tourmaline as the centerpiece. Finding warmth in this northern landscape, Eve created the spectacular “Interchange IV” engagement ring. Several years ago she fell in love with the famous Paraiba tourmalines from Brazil and set them in this ring. These tourmalines are now highly sought after and found in the house of Cartier as well as many other famous jewelry houses.

InterchangeIVThe teal indicolite tourmaline warms the 113 diamonds swirling around it as though it is melting the ice. From Eve Alfillé’s “Alone Together” series. The ring is an absolute beauty, featuring a 4.33 carat fine cushion-cut teal indicolite tourmaline encircled by a series of 113 diamonds totaling 0.87 carats that weave a swirling perimeter about the richly hued center. A pair of Paraiba tourmalines in an electric-teal hue sparkle on both sides of the center stone and weigh 0.29 carats together. $12,400

ChateaudeChambord2Eve also delighted in using this pink sapphire to design the “Chateau de Chambord en rosé” engagement and wedding ring pair. She wanted to imitate the Renaissance architecture of that magnificent chateau but chose to give it an art deco vibe to simplify it. It is a fortress of a ring featuring an emerald cut 1.18 carat shimmering pink sapphire. This bright, rosy stone is joined by two diamond baguettes totaling 0.12 carats and two diamond secret stones which adorn the sholders of the ring totalling 0.06 carats. All this beauty is set in 18 karat white gold with detailed antiquities carvings along the gallery. $4270 Shown here with its beautifully carved 18 karat white gold and diamond companion band sold separately. $1780Garden of Eden
Inspired by vegetation and branches intertwining in the sunlight, Eve designed the lovely “Garden of Eden” ring featuring a pretty blue sapphire in an 18 karat white gold setting with 3 diamonds. She wanted this ring to be “Strong but delicate” to mimic nature. One of the diamonds resides at the bottom of the ring for the wearer to surreptitiously enjoy! $1280 The wedding band is also 18 karat white gold with 8 diamonds of 0.04 total weight. $1320

IMG_8781Princess Diana was a forerunner in the colored stone trend almost 40 year’s ago. Her sapphire engagement ring awed the world when it was unveiled at her and Charles’ wedding. Eve designed this “Married at Midnight” sapphire ring encircled by 30 diamonds with that in mind. A sapphire is a classic choice! $4660

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Feathers in Fashion

by Ann Covode

Feathers are in the air this spring with the fashion world revealing it’s new fresh looks. Eve Alfillé is no exception with the launch of her new “Feathers” series. Fascinated with the variegation in bird’s plumage, Eve designed these opal earrings to mimic that effect.

featherear1

These “Aquila non capit muscas” earrings in 18 karat white gold feature two gorgeous Boulder opals, two Paraiba tourmalines, two green diamonds and three diamonds. $4320  The drops were designed for fluidity and movement. Small blue topaz beads and apatite are strung on silk and move languidly through the air, contrasting with the decisive swing of the chains. The drops are anchored with labradorite briolettes and Sleeping Beauty turquoise beads. $575.

The first Monday in May marks a crucial event for the fashion world: it’s Met Gala night. This year’s theme, Camp: Notes On Fashion is an ode to the quirky, funny, and subversive corners of fashion, which means that attendees weren’t afraid to break out their most over-the-top ensembles on the red carpet. RosieHuntingtonWhitleyRosie Huntington Whitley donned this elegant gown at the Met Gala from Oscar de la Renta with a feather cape.

The royals are having having fun with feathers as well! Kate debuted a new hat by milliner Rosie Olivia. No one pulls off a statement hat quite like Kate Middleton. Attending the annual Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey, the stylish royal mom debuted a new hat by the British milliner Rosie Olivia. “I feel so honored that Kate likes my work and that she wanted to wear one of my creations,” Olivia states. “As always, she looked stunning and incredibly stylish. I’m so happy!”Kate Middleton

The design, called Varick — a felt hat with a pheasant-feather trim featuring a clear elastic that sits behind both ears, beneath the hair — perfectly matched Kate’s bespoke teal coatdress by Catherine Walker & Co. “She always looks good in colors. She’s just so elegant,” says Olivia, who also has a showroom in Manchester, England. The hat is available to buy online now (yes, the exact same one) for $568 and takes between 2-4 weeks for delivery.

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-07 at 2.40.40 PM

 

At this year’s Kentucky Derby, feathers were flying as well.

 

 

 

featherear2.jpg

 

Eve enjoyed designing these “At the Mercy of the Wind” earrings. They mirror the fine pattern of a feathers barbules with Chrysocolla and diamonds from Eve’s new “Feathers” series. $1580 The “Dancing Feathers” drops are an additional $110.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-07 at 2.39.41 PM

 

Feathers are always popular with hats at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky. These outrageous hats stole the show at this year’s event.

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 12.02.06 PMActress Victoria Justice wore a crisp white suit to the 144th Kentucky Derby in 2018. Her hat is mostly black with a white top, and features a black feather halo.

 

 

“Feathers are at once flexible and rigid, capable of withstanding high winds in flight, yet bend gracefully.,” states Eve.

earrings

In these “Glorious plumage” earrings the movement of the chains encircling the fine “Sleeping Beauty” top reflects that of the curving feathers. Blue Topaz tops off this ensemble with blue topaz cubes below. These earrings will add flair to any ensemble. $1650

 

 

sarahyland

 

Actress Sarah Hyland rocked this beautiful red fascinator to the Kentucky Derby in 2015. The unique headpiece features red velvet, red netting, and some long feathers.

 

 

In spring, a male bird’s fancy turns to display their nuptial plumage, the better to capture a female’s attentions – to the point of discarding its drab colors in favor of striking colors.

3images copy

 

In this “Spring Flight” pendant Eve captures this transformation with rubies, spessartite garnets and 8 diamonds in 14 karat gold. $1840

She pairs an Ethiopian opal and a Mexican opal with 3 diamonds in 14 karat blush gold  in the “Graceful” ring . $1980

These “Down Feathers” earrings in 18 karat gold shimmer with drops of Sleeping Beauty opal, blue topaz and mandarin garnet. Earrings $465. Drops $240.

rng22389px600dk

 

Eve acquired this stunning black Brazilian opal several years ago and was waiting for just the right moment to debut its luster.  This “Gentille Plume”ring with a black Brazilian opal shimmers with Tsavorite garnets in 18 karat gold. $8240

 

 

Stay tuned to learn more about Eve’s inspiration for her new “Feathers” series.

 

 

 

 

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

More Feathers Fluttering

by Ann Covode

feathers 2

 

featherpinIn creating her Feathers series Eve was drawn to the iridescence of bird’s plumage.  She was especially interested in birds molting into nuptial plumage.  “They suddenly adapt a bright and unexpected color when attracting a mate,”she says.  With that in mind she has created the “Gorgeous Plumage” pin pictured here. She was drawn to the shifting and stunning colors of this Yowah opal from Northeastern Australia. She interpreted the central rachis of a feather in the iron matrix of the opal.   Eighteen champagne diamonds and two Paraiba tourmalines on the sides serve to accent Eve’s perception of lightness and flight.  $2860

Feathers have many different meanings, but they have always been associated with freedom, transcendence and communication with spiritual realms. Finding a feather can be an uplifting, spiritual experience, especially when you find one in an unexpected place such as in your house or in your purse, where there isn’t an easy way to explain its presence. Any feather can be a sign, but the meaning of finding a feather in an unusual place or having one suddenly float across your path can especially seem to be a sign from the angels or from a loved one who has passed to the other side.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Feathers appear when Angels are near?” As a symbol across many cultures, feathers have always represented a connection to spiritual realms and to divinity. And because of their connection to birds, they have always been a symbol of flight and freedom, not just physically, but also in a mental or spiritual sense.

Featherrock

Eve imagines the idea of feathers further by comparing them to words and human discourse. “Now, these many years later, I see human discourse re enacting the riddle my father presented to me. On one hand, the words that are hurled with heat, and clang to the ground, words as weapons. On the other hand, words that are considered, words meant to float and be slowly absorbed, words as instruments of mutual discourse. Both reach their target, but feathers do not maim.,” states Eve.

Eve speaks of a lightness of being and of a way of dealing with the world. In the time that I’ve known her I’ve witnessed how she shows true interest in her clients and their needs. Eve wants to hear the story of your engagement so she can make something special and wants to learn what is special to you. She takes a piece of an idea that you have and elaborates on that in an elegant piece of jewelry. If that is what she means by feathers I think they continue to zigzag in the air around her and have been floating effortlessly for close to 40 years. Her ideas keep fluttering in the wind!

It’s ironic when she speaks of comparing iron to feathers because she is working with gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, etc. These elements have weight but she has the amazing ability to lighten them in her designs. She floats sunstones in diamonds and hovers sapphires in the air! Diamonds swim in the river and emeralds hang off trees. I am looking forward to this new series because I think the designs really will take flight.

In this time with talk of civility rising to the surface, Eve’s discussions of feathers versus iron in society are particularly timely. When wearing one of her pieces perhaps you’ll be reminded of the importance of your words.

Please join us on May 4th from 1 to 7pm to experience the mastery of Eve J Alfillé.