Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Unearthed in Angola

 

 

An illuminating discovery was unearthed only weeks ago in Angola, Africa, unexpectedly escalating the shares of the company responsible by 29 percent. Lucapa Diamonds, an Australian-based mining company, was already in the public eye following the recent discovery of three other diamonds over 100 carats from their Lulo mine in recent history.

The uncovering of a diamond of spectacular proportion, however, broke all of these records: a 404.2-carat behemoth of a diamond was found, sporting a top-tier D-color and Type IIA. The stone itself measures about seven centimeters in length, which would be comparable to wearing a diamond ring the size of your finger itself.

While the final fate of the gem is unknown, it caused a stir at market when the stone sold for $22 million Australian dollars, or roughly $16 million in the US. That’s quite a bit of change, with an estimated $55,585 per carat!

This stone is currently measured as the 27th largest recorded diamond in history, following such illustrious diamonds as the Cullinan diamond found in South Africa in 1905…And if rare stones such as these are your fascination, there are many minerals far more rare than diamonds! Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks to possibly read about them in a future story.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

For Love of Gems

…A treatise on stones with ‘lovable’ properties for this season of romance! Read on to learn more about their varied histories, abilities, and how they can help to give you and your love life a lift…

 

3c42df9ce7f4224bdce617be44674bab.jpgPearls:

Crushed pearls were often used as an antidote to many ills…including wandering lovers! Swallowing a potion made from a crushed pearl sometimes had the power to bring them back.

During the Renaissance in Florence, Italy, it was pearls and not diamonds which were actually the costliest stone. During this time, pearls were commonly hailed as the gem representing both purity and the Virgin Mary. As such, young brides would often cover themselves in pearls for their weddings; particularly their hair. A women’s hair was considered extremely alluring during this time, and only unmarried women wore it down.

Bridal hairstyles were always, as a result, worn up and elaborately braided…brides’ ears were usually covered with a cloth embroidered with pearls, largely due to the belief that the Virgin Mary conceived through her ear.


Rubies: 

Rubies have many uses, but one can be as a warning or alarm system. One Renaissance author “himself had warning of the death of his wife as his ruby changed color.”

Rubies could also symbolize chastity, as in the 15th century portrait of the niece of the Duke of Milan, Maria Sforza (who was married as an “old maid” at the late age of 21!). In fact, like pearls, rubies were often used by Florentine brides during the Renaissance: this was because they were believed to remove both inappropriate lust and depression from the wearer

 

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Amethysts: 

Amethyst has been said to intensify desire within both men and women, and can also function as a dream catcher to keep bad dreams at bay while in bed. Even St. Valentine, the symbol of romance, famously wore an engraved amethyst bearing the figure of a Cupid!

 

Rose Quartz:

rq.jpgThe stone of unconditional love, Rose Quartz promotes within the wearer a greater sense of self-worth, and as such, can create the confidence needed to bolster a spirit of romantic daringness!

Used as an aphrodisiac during the Middle Ages, rose quartz was said to arouse one’s lover “if a stone were held between thumb and forefinger and slowly drawn between the navel and the parts below.”

 

Sapphires:

A famous sapphire which once belonged to the Count Welitski of Poland was known for being intensely blue during the day, and yet would transform into a fantastic shade of violet at night. Similarly, a French countess wrote a story titled “Le Saphire Merveilleux,” which claims that a change in sapphire color could be used to test a women’s faithfulness: a faithful woman would ensure that the sapphire remained blue.

We now know these as color-change sapphires, a very precious and valuable variety of stones. At the time, however, if a man wished to prove innocence, the woman in question would be asked to wear the sapphire for three hours in the afternoon. If he wished to prove unfaithfulness, however, she would be asked to wear it during the three hours from sunset leading into nightfall, when the gem’s hue would be completely different.

A nun from the Middle Ages, Hildegarde Von Bingen, once wrote: “sapphire has a magical property: if a stupid man uses it in the proper manner, he will become wise; if irritable, good-tempered.” ….Perhaps a great gift idea for the man in your life!

 

 

 

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“Treasures of Ur” emerald necklace. Copyright Eve Alfillé. Photo Credit Matt Arden.

Emeralds:

 

These stones were known to miraculously retain the wearer’s beauty, and could grant good luck to a marriage!

Emeralds are known to be the stone of Venus, the Goddess of Love. They were also said to splinter upon the deflowering of a virgin, as is told in the story of King Bela of Hungary…upon touching his new wife, his famed emerald suddenly split!

 

Diamonds: 

An old English ballad tells the story of a lad who loved a princess in spite of the king’s disapproval, and was forced to escape to sea. Before he left, the princess gave him a ring with seven diamonds. However, “One day he looked his ring upon, he saw the diamond pale and wan” From the diamond’s message, he knew to hasten back, stopped her wedding to another suitor, and they lived happily ever after.

As exemplified in this story, diamonds have been known and praised for their ability to send messages since ancient times! They also have been said to promote courage in the wearer, and to grant them the ability to see one’s lover as beautiful always (even in sickness and old age)!

 


463501.jpegMoonstones: 

It has been said that a woman could see the face of her lover within a moonstone, if he were faithful and unwavering. For another suggested use, give your love a moonstone on the night of a full moon, and you may find that you will always have a mutual passion for one another.

..To keep your love strong this Valentine’s day, don’t forget to stop by the gallery and ask our helpful staff to see examples of any of these magnificent “Love Gems!” 

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Artful Amethyst

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“Two as One” carved amethyst necklace. Copyright: Eve Alfillé, Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

An intoxicating gemstone, the amethyst is the birthstone of February! In fact, it is so entwined into the history of this month, that it is said St. Valentine himself was known to have worn an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid. If the patron of love loves this stone the most, then who are we to disagree? It is also the gem of choice for 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries, even more reason to sprinkle on the romance.

A form of quartz, amethyst is the stone most commonly associated with the color purple (though plenty of other stones also come in this delightful color). It is the most highly valued quartz variety today, and was once even priced at the same value as such stones as ruby and emerald…that is, until Brazil’s large deposits were uncovered.

Due to its lovely range of color from reddish-purple to purple, amethyst has unsurprisingly been associated with the color of wine for thousands of years. Possibly due to this, the ancient Greeks named the stone “amethystos,” which literally translates into “not drunk.” This is because they believed that by wearing the stone, they could maintain their sobriety while enjoying an evening out. They were even known to carve drinking vessels out of it!

For those of you who would like to do as the Greeks do and mix wine with wearing amethyst, don’t hesitate to stop by the gallery this upcoming Feb. 6 to enjoy our Pre-Valentine’s Jewelry Wish List Party! There will be libations, treats, and a healthy helping of delicious jewelry items by Eve to add to your wish list, or to take home to your own heart’s desire.

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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Gorgeous Garnets

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“Darn It, Another Garnet” necklace. Copyright: Eve Alfillé, Photo credit: Matt Arden

The garnet: an ancient gem, it has been seen adorning the fashionable ever since the pharaohs! Today, the stone is hailed as the birthstone for the month of January; a precious element of warmth and color during the depths of winter, but also an excellent way to celebrate each new year as it arrives!

This stone is both diverse and of great historical significance. It is largely known for its “carbuncle” shade, a term which once referred to just about any red gem, but today means the species of garnet called “Almandine.  ” Carbuncle”, from the Latin term for “live coal” denotes its inner warmth, and is also the most common type of gem garnet. This is the shade which we see most often in art of the ancients,  from the jewel-encrusted weaponry of the Anglo-Saxons to the garnet-encrusted crown of such illustrious royalty as King Otto of Germany, with a famous garnet called the “Wise One.”

In religion, this stone is known to be a root chakra stone. According to some beliefs, it can be used to gain access to ancient memories, and is a recommended stone to use for past life regression. In Indian mythology, the garnet is called the “Kundalini fire,” or ‘fire of eternal metamorphosis.’ It is also believed to have an energizing effect in the bedroom!

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Like sapphires, which are known for being blue (but actually come in an entire rainbow of colors), garnets are much more “multi-faceted” than given credit for! For instance, the red “carbuncle” shade is the most well known, and yet these diverse stones come in colors ranging from greens to oranges, pinkish oranges to deeply saturated purplish reds. These colors can be classified by a whole family system, dictated by each garnet’s chemistry as well as by its color. The garnet group breaks down into species such as pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, and andradite. These species break down into varieties, such as the exquisitely green and sparkling “demantoid” garnet from the Andradite species.

Demantoid garnets were also a favorite of 19th-century jewelry designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, and can often be seen in his American Arts & Crafts-style jewelry. And, as great minds think alike, demantoid garnets are not infrequently seen in Eve’s work! Her fondness also extends to a whole color palette of tsavorite garnets (deep green), mandarin garnets (rich orange,) and a myriad of others just waiting to be set into a project! Come in and see!

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Zircon Zeal

 

With enough fire to have been confused with diamonds for centuries, these outstanding gems will set your heart ablaze! The zircon shines all on its own: these stones have a fantastically high refractive index, and are valued for their rainbow-like sparkle. Each gem’s spectacular “double refraction” actually means that you can see twice as much fire and twice as many facets! So much so, in fact, that famed gemologist George Kunz once proposed changing the name to “starlite” to highlight the gem’s incredible sparkle.
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These gems are also astonishingly tenacious, and can come into being in a wide variety of elements and locations. Some forms of non-gem grade zircon even contain traces of uranium: the radiation of which causes the crystal-structure of the zircon to become amorphous…essentially melting the stone down from the inside!*

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“Le Soliel” zircon ring, copyright Eve Alfillé, photo credit Matt Arden

Zircon is only one out of three birthstones for the festive month of December, along with turquoise and tanzanite. Both of these stones typically remain married to some shade of blue, blue-green, or purpley-blue, but zircon really stands on its own as a stone of many colors! In fact, many scholars believe that the stone’s name comes from the word
“zarkun” which is Arabic for ‘cinnabar’ or ‘vermilion,’ while others theorize that the term is from “zargun;” the Persian word for ‘gold colored.’

The stone itself comes in colors that range all the way from yellow to green to red and reddish-brown to blue! During the Victorian era, blue zircon was especially favored. Colorless forms of zircon are often referred to as “Matara” after the city in Sri Lanka where they are

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Oldest mineral in the world

mined. Australia, however, has produced an even more magnificent specimen: at 4.4 billion years old, a single piece o zircon has been found to be the oldest mineral on earth (the earth itself, for scope, is 4.5 billion years old)! Talk about looking good for your age!

Be sure to swing by Eve’s this holiday season, and let us help you pick out the perfect zircon for those lovely December birthday-havers in your life so that they can have a stone just as classic and timeless as they are!

*All Eve jewelry is guaranteed non-radioactive.