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.


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.


Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

In Fine Feather

by Ann Covode

Eve Alfillé’s new “Feathers” series will open on Saturday, May 4th with festivities to highlight these lighthearted designs…

eve sketch feathersEve explains that her inspiration for her new series came from her scientist father at a very young age. “When I was a child, about six years old, my scientist father wanted me to develop logical thinking. He often came up with riddles. This one stayed with me: “What is heavier, he asked, a pound of iron, or a pound of feathers?”

Immediately my imagination conjured a tall tower, and Rapunzel tossing both out her window. I knew the answer: “Iron, of course!” I blurted.,” states Eve. A moment of silence. My father wagging his head. “No. They each weigh the same, a pound.” I knew I disappointed him, but inside, I felt rebellion. Could I also be right? There was something about the image of all these feathers lightly, delicately swirling to the ground that delighted me.”

FloatingfeathersLight, flexible, strong, and colorful, feathers are impressive structures. Although feathers come in an amazing array of types, they are all made up of the same basic parts that have evolved small modifications to serve different functions. Downy feathers have a loosely arranged structure that helps trap air close to the bird’s warm body. The structure of other feathers features a small alteration that makes a big difference; microscopic hooks that interlock to form a wind and waterproof barrier that allows birds to fly and stay dry.Three feathers

“Feathers I have not really known until now. Google tells me many useful things: they adapt to need, flexible and strong in bird tails and wings , with tiny Velcro- like hooks to keep the fibers connected even in high winds. And to keep warm in winter, contour and down feathers have evolved loose strands to trap body heat. Water rolls off a duck’s back, because its feathers have waterproofing, and anyway, feathers are constantly renewed as a bird molts”, ponders Eve.

“I love feathers for many reasons : elegant form, hard and soft at once, balanced in their asymmetry, variegation, and because they show that you don’t need a hard carapace to be protected.,”reveals Eve.

HeaddressMany cultures have used feathers in their ceremonial costumes and artwork. The most astonishing work came from Mesoamerica, where the Aztecs used feathers like mosaic pieces, to create intricate tableaux of gods and martyrs. Caravans of pochtecas, or feather traders, moved through the rain forest as far south as Colombia, exacting feathered tribute from weaker tribes. Hummingbirds, parakeets, macaws, motmots, spoonbills, cotingas, and other species were killed or captured by the thousand, sometimes altering their natural ranges. Some were skinned on-site, but most were trapped or anesthetized with poison arrows and brought to the imperial aviaries in Tenochtitlán. There they were hand-raised on worms and grain and plucked for use in Montezuma’s workshops.

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In Peru, the biologist Thor Hanson writes in his 2011 book, “Feathers,” the Inca rubbed their parrots with poison-arrow frog secretions so that their colors would change with the next molt. In Hawaii, more than eighty thousand mamo honeycreepers were used to create King Kamehameha I’s golden cloak. The bird is now extinct.

After the conquest, Cortés sent crates of Aztec featherwork to the king of Spain, along with codexes tallying the birds and the down collected. The most beautiful pieces made their way across Europe, enthralling Albrecht Dürer and the Holy Roman Emperor, among others. In France, a taste for feathered hats took hold under Louis XIV and quickly grew into a craze. Ostrich feathers were shipped in from Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Madagascar, and dyed black, green, lilac, rose, sky blue, and yellow; heron feathers were brought from Germany and Turkey to adorn the Knights of the Holy Spirit.


Guiraca_caeruleaAAP086CB“I love how birds can molt into “nuptial plumage”! What is it? Well, you might say it is akin to getting some new threads and primping up before a bout of speed dating. For a change, the males are the ones who have to do all the work! Girls can stay as they are, dressed to blend in with habitat.”, she adds

Feathers have been a focus of fashion for hundreds of years. “The madness for feathers has reached a point of excess one never could have suspected,” the journalist Louis-François Métra wrote in the winter of 1775.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.58.02 AM“Hats that would have seemed ridiculously tall a few months ago no longer suffice.” Prompted by Marie Antoinette, who doubled the height of her feathered hat for a ball thrown by the Duchess of Chartres, women were soon wearing hats as high as two and three feet. Arguments broke out at the opera, where viewers could no longer see the stage, and the finest ladies were forced to kneel in their carriages to clear the ceiling, or else stick their heads out the window. “When a woman thus coiffed dances at a ball, she is compelled to continually bend down as she passes beneath the chandeliers,” the Count of Vaublanc noted in his diary. “It is the most graceless thing imaginable.” Paris had twenty-five master plumassiers at the end of the seventeen-hundreds. A century later, it had hundreds, making fabrics for Hermès, the Folies-Bergère, and the Moulin Rouge. In London, the feather market went through nearly a third of a million egrets in 1910 alone. In New York, Hanson writes, a bird-watcher named Frank Chapman counted more than forty species of feathers on women’s hats on a single walk, and those were only from native birds. Some ladies had taken to wearing whole birds on their heads by then—an economical choice, given that feathers were more costly, by weight, than anything but diamonds. Among the treasures that went down with the Titanic were more than forty cases of feathers, worth upward of 2.3 million in today’s dollars.

Stay tuned for more inspiration and a sneak peak at Eve’s new collection…



Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Royal Jewelry Heist

By Jen Conley

Swedish Coat of ArmsLast year, Oceans 8 hit theaters and brought the story of a large scale jewelry heist to the public. Around the same time as the movie hit theaters, a real life jewelry heist stunned the EU when royal jewels were stolen from a cathedral in Sweden.

The artifacts were stolen while Strängnäs Cathedral was open to the public last summer. Witnesses saw the thieves escape on a speedboat in Lake Mälaren but Swedish police were not able to catch the suspects.

Swedish Royal JewelsAmongst the items stolen were the crown of King Charles IX, the Crown of Queen Christina and a royal orb. The Key emblems of both royalty and leadership, these relics are of great importance to the House of Vasa and furthermore to Swedish history. The theft left the world stunned and also left many unanswered questions. Who could have stolen such precious items? Where could the relics be found?

Swedish CastleSträngnäs Cathedral is home to the remains of King Charles IX and his wife Anna Maria of the Palatinate. Hosting a large portion of Sweden’s royal jewels in addition to being the burial ground of Swedish royals, Strängnäs Cathedral is a true Swedish marvel! Beginning in the 12th century, Sweden has been a prime northern European power and is one of 27 remaining countries that is still ruled under a monarchy.

King Charles IXKing Charles IX, from the royal House of Vasa, ruled Sweden from 1595-1611 and was the start of the glorious end of the monarchs from that House. King Charles IX is best known for re-establishing the national religion of Sweden to Lutheranism and for his military strength that won him the crown of Sweden . After his death in 1611 he passed the throne to his son, Gustavus Adolphus the Great, who is regarded as one of the most accomplished military leaders of his time.

Queen ChristinaGustavus’ daughter, Queen Christina of Sweden, succeeded him and was the last monarch of Sweden from the House of Vasa. A prominent woman of the 17th century who stunned Europe by refusing to marry, dressed in masculine clothing and later abdicated the throne to her cousin in order to remain unwed. Queen Christina was a major supporter of the arts and under her regime Sweden became a cultural hub for scholars and artists. Her extravagant lifestyle is well documented and her possessions were notable luxuries of the 17th century. The royal House of Vasa is very important to the rich history of Sweden and made Sweden a great European power.

Swedish authorities searched for the answers to those questions for months and the location of the jewels. Potential evidence led them to a 22 year old suspect in November who they believe stole the regalia with help from friends. While they had a good lead on who stole the priceless artifacts the question still remained: Where were they? Last month, after they had been missing for over six months, authorities finally found the royal crowns and orb, which were hidden in a trash bin!. Talk about a load of rubbish!


Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Spring Awakening

by Ann Covode

As we move into spring our hearts and minds turn to nature as our environment wakes up to the warming world around it. Birds start to sing and buds come out on the trees. For Eve this is a time of inspiration. She has always been intrigued by nature in her work and it continues to be a creative source for her.

Newgrowth“One year when, inexplicably, my inspiration had vanished, poof! Gone for months, I went down to my yard: the ground was covered with tiny, freshly fallen maple seeds, a lovely sight. All at once, I saw them turn a pale gold; I knew, instinctively that my inspiration, and the images in my head, had returned. Immediately, I saw Orpheus and knew what my series wanted to be.” , states Eve. “The eucalyptus, together with the maple seed, are part of a series called Orpheus Descending, and just happened to fall into my line of sight as I searched for the leaves Orpheus left behind him to find his way out of the underworld (he was rescuing his girlfriend Eurydice). As he found her and turned to leave, they had all turned to gold.” , explains Eve.

In the same way, “When I came in, my glance went to a sprig of eucalyptus in a vase on my table, and they, too, became part of the myth. Simple as that!”


“Eucalyptus” earrings in 18 karat green gold, feature fine leaf veining details that would make any horticulturist green with envy! These earrings have a special hook to allow for removable drops. Various sizes and metals available. $1640



Eve has also been interested in using mixed media in her work as in the following piece.

nkl19876The name says it all: “…a tangled web we weave” necklace features three attached strands of green-blue tourmalines, in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes, combined with carved tourmaline leaves. Although chaotic in appearance, the necklace has a wonderful dramatic appearance when worn. 18 karat green gold leaves and clasp provide the finishing touches to this unique 18″ necklace. $3560


When asking Eve why she chose the Acanthus for another series, she gave this very extended response: “Well, the acanthus is a different story. When you are in Milan, it is impossible to miss the incredible Cathedral! In the late Gothic tradition, it is huge, fantastically adorned , its exterior, all the way to the roof, teeming with movement and color so of course you want to visit. The inside was grandiose. Camera in hand, I then climbed up to the roof, prepared to see more statuary and devotional scenes. however, the first sight was a Coke machine. My sense of propriety aggrieved, I was about to turn back. But having climbed so many winding narrow steps, darn it! I wanted to see if there might be more.

Medieval churches have pretty rigid rules of iconography, every single image, every carving must have a religious meaning, whether an eagle or a rose, or a rooster, like on French steeples: there is a sanctioned interpretation within the theological canon. Part of my enjoyment in my visits is to seek out and recognize these symbols and their context. But in Italy, sometimes you see images, or even actual carved stone panels from pagan Antiquity unexpectedly placed in the decoration. And it is fun to see how somehow they then get reinterpreted into Christian relevance (most of the time). On the roof in Milan, I saw, most of the endless turrets and finials were properly Gothic, the gargoyles grimacing or contorting in accordance with the theology. But at intervals, set into the parapet, I was drawn to very expressive smallish carved panels, each a variation of a Greek ornament, a stylized Acanthus leaf!

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 7.13.57 PMNow, the acanthus is really a big horsy plant, with rough looking leaves, not especially graceful. But the Greeks apparently thought enough of it to decorate the capitals of some of their columns, even though they generally preferred stricter geometry. And the Romans, followed by a host of others, adopted and adapted it to just about every surface you can imagine, a common element of interior and exterior decoration. It has always been quite popular. I wondered why. In fact, when you go to Athens and climb the hot, dusty Acropolis to visit the Parthenon, if you are observant you may notice some straggly, parched plants along the way: the Acanthus, struggling in the infertile terrain, but surviving in spite of it. When I saw that, I understood why that homely plant became a symbol. It is a survivor, and survivors must be recognized and honored.”, explained Eve.

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 7.17.20 PM In Ancient Greek architecture acanthus ornament appears extensively in the capitals of the Corinthian and Composite orders, and applied to friezes, dentils and other decorated areas. The oldest known example of a Corinthian column is in the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae in Arcadia, c. 450–420 BC, but the order was used sparingly in Greece before the Roman period. The Romans elaborated the order with the ends of the leaves curled, and it was their favourite order for grand buildings, with their own invention of the Composite, which was first seen in the epoch of Augustus. Acanthus decoration continued in popularity in Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic architecture. It saw a major revival in the Renaissance, and still is used today.

The Roman writer Vitruvius (c. 75 – c. 15 BC) related that the Corinthian order had been invented by Callimachus, a Greek architect and sculptor who was inspired by the sight of a votive basket that had been left on the grave of a young girl. A few of her toys were in it, and a square tile had been placed over the basket, to protect them from the weather. An acanthus plant had grown through the woven basket, mixing its spiny, deeply cut leaves with the weave of the basket.



“Live Acanthus” Earrings 6116 38 Diamonds 0.37tw in Platinum $5380 Acanthus Pin 18597 5 Diamonds 0 0.61tw $6940





pin18597px600dk“Live Acanthus” from Eve’s “Deja Vu” series is a beautiful, sensual platinum pin with 50 sparkling, twinkling diamonds totaling 0.61 total carats (EF-VS) that add fire to this beautiful piece of fine art jewelry.



These “Stunning Acanthus” earrings feature Eve’s beautiful open “Acanthus” design in platinum, with a stunning variety of diamonds: 4 white diamonds totaling 0.40 carats , 2 plump white diamond briolettes totaling 0.57 carats, 2 black diamonds totaling 0.04 carats, and 6 large black diamond briolettes totaling an incredible 10.68 carats! $10,860




Cercle pearls from the South seas are found in Tahiti and it is unusual to find enough to make a full necklace. This “Open Acanthus” 17″ necklace features two strands of shimmering South Sea white Cercle pearls with a beautiful “Open Acanthus” centerpiece/clasp in 14 karat gold. $6950


As we move further into spring, Eve will continue to explore nature in the forms of birds and feathers. Stay tuned….


Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Oscar Jewelry History continued

by Ann Covode

The trend to place jewelry on Oscar stars started to take shape in the 1990’s.

Nicole Kidman 1996In 1996, Nicole Kidman wore vintage Fred Leighton jewels on loan.  The brand agreed to lend a multi strand opal choker necklace. “We were so new to this, we didn’t even send out a press release [when Kidman wore it],” Selva says. Soon, however, the brand — and many others — learned how to turn the red carpet to its advantage. And it was not only the jewelers: the actresses did, too — stars such as Anne Hathaway and Paltrow are reportedly paid in the high-six-figures just to don the dazzling gems. “These women, they know their power,” says Fasel.

But even with new hoops for jewelers to jump through, Fasel says that it’s worth it, without a doubt, to get a gorgeous piece on the red carpet. “If you look at jewelry in a museum, it’s in a case, but jewelry is not complete unless it’s worn. You want to see it on, and see it out. To see the treasure that comes out at red-carpet time — it’s great scenery.”

The Cinderella fantasy ends there. Tricola says she leaves the salon empty-handed, and awaits the arrival of her dazzling selections, which usually come with their own VIP escort: “A bodyguard will come with the jewelry and stay with the jewelry.” But not always. In cases of cross-country travel, sometimes “it comes FedEx,” she says. (This is not totally unprecedented: Harry Winston infamously sent the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution via the US Postal Service in 1958.)

Either way, taking custody of a jewel that costs more than a small house can be “stressful.” As soon as the bling arrives — chaperoned or not — she triple-checks it against the inventory list that comes with it. Although the jewelers have insurance, the stylists do, too. Tricola says the stylist, not the movie star who might absentmindedly let a clasp slip, absorbs the risk: “Once I have a piece out on loan, it’s my responsibility.”

drinktomeEve found fire and passion in the watermelon tourmalines she used in this spectacular tourmaline necklace. She backed the tourmalines with white gold to show the natural cracks in these beautiful stones. She talks about the black tourmalines surrounding the piece as “siblings” who need to get along. She gets to know each piece with some being small and vulnerable next to strong and forceful brothers and sisters. The gold shoots out like a fire sending off crackles. The entire effect is a beautiful testament to Eve’s passion and talent. “Drink to me only with thine eyes” necklace features black tourmaline segments, with 14 karat gold elements. At it’s center are two fantastic watermelon tourmaline slices totaling 61.96 carats, set in 14 karat gold bezels. $4230

Bedazzling A-listers wasn’t always such a highly orchestrated affair. The first time a movie star borrowed jewels for the Oscars was back in 1944, when Harry Winston lent actress Jennifer Jones a diamond necklace at the behest of producer David O. Selznick. The stunt misfired: Jones opted for a high-collared, ruffle-necked dress that covered the bling.


The idea of a memorable Oscar “jewelry moment” — such as Lupita Nyong’o’s much-tweeted about Fred Leighton tiara from 2014 — was still decades away. Lupita Nyong’o took home her first Oscar in 2014 wearing a Fred Leighton headband (which got its own Twitter account) and earrings.




Eve said that she was “Starstruck” by the power of these Andesine Sunstones she found from Tibet. “They were very unusual in their fire and the way they play with the light” states Eve. With such power she wanted to suspend them with very little support as if they were “floating in air”. The Sunstone is visible from all sides just barely caught between diamond branches. “The stone was so intense that is needed counterbalance with the openness of air” explains Eve.


Fiery Andesine Sunstones can be seen in their best light in these fantastic hand-fabricated platinum earrings. Set in an eyeglass bezel (no metal in back of the stones) the light passes through the stones and shows them off in spectacular fashion. 2 pear-shaped diamonds sit atop the tower of 62 round diaamonds. $9530



HiddenDreamEve saw something meditative in this “Hidden Dream” sunstone ring. She envisioned a roman courtyard with millgrain arches letting the sunshine in. Perhaps the nuns were walking around and saying their daily prayers in this beautiful space? Magnificent Andesine sunstone ring is exquisitely handmade in platinum with unique details like millgrained edges on the soaring arched gallery. Fabulous rare gemstone ring has fifty-four sparkling diamonds totaling to highlight the sumptuous sunstone. $14,300

Jewelry historian Marion Fasel cites the 1970 awards as one of the turning points in award jewelry: Legendary diamond collector Elizabeth Taylor arrived at the show wearing a low-cut periwinkle gown that matched her eyes — and her very own 69.42-carat stone around her neck. She and husband Richard Burton had recently bought at it a highly publicized public auction for over a million dollars. “At the time it was the most expensive diamond in the world,” says Fasel, who ran InStyle’s jewelry coverage for nearly 19 years. “People see that image and think that there must be more moments like that in jewelry history, but there really aren’t,” partly because the pricy jewels were Taylor’s own. Going forward through the 1980s, extraordinary jewels at awards shows were still few and far between. Stars wore their own, more modest pieces, or even costume jewelry. And if they borrowed, it was usually because “there was a personal relationship [with the jeweler],” Fasel explains.

Barring unforseen circumstancesEve envisioned these sapphire earrings to sparkle for a director or an actress on awards night. She remembers having a dream where she was suddenly transported to the Oscar Ceremony where she was seated in the back watching an actress wearing these sapphire earrings accepting her Academy Award. The Blue sapphire briolets were cascading from bars of pavé diamonds. “Barring unforeseen circumstances” earrings feature 18 extra fine sapphire briolettes and 32 diamonds set in platinum. $8780

What did your favorite stars be wear this year?