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?