Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Making Markle Sparkle

One of the hottest topics of 2017 has been the happy news that England’s most eligible bachelor has finally locked it down with American actress Meghan Markle. The whole world has been a-buzz with the ensuing frenzy of planning their spring wedding…but could it be that a hot proposal by Prince Harry could also lend some interesting insights into the hot, harrowing history of the earth’s crust? 

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The Botswana resort where Meghan and Prince Harry fell in love.

 

…Of course, no royal proposal would be complete without the perfect, fairy-tale ring…a romantic at heart, Prince Harry used diamonds from his mother’s private collection, as well as a central diamond hailing from Botswana (where the royal romantics met). These days, the African nation enjoys a climate of relative volcanic peace compared to what once was: a clime so fraught with explosive volcanic power that it rained diamonds on more than one occasion (an event which would have pleased the likes of Marilyn Monroe, but for the scalding ash and magma that came with it!).
 
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It’s no secret that Botswana has boasted more diamonds than any other part of the world since the eighties…while it’s true that these lovely, lustrous gems can exist anywhere in great quantity, in most parts of the world they’re also inconveniently located 100-or-so miles underground. It takes a historically massive upheaval to send them into the air and a bit closer to the surface for miners and princes alike to easily find. Research by scientists like Janne Koornneef  has indicated two such events in the region Markle’s diamond hails from, both 1.1 billion and 3 billion years ago.
 

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This first batch was caused when the Zimbabwe Craton -a rather sizeable chunk of the earth’s crust- broke free and slammed into a neighboring craton! The second time a diamond-scattering took place, it was during a time from whence the ‘Umkondo Large Igenous Province’ drew its name…the entire region was completely transformed by the large and overactive volcanoes covering the terrain.
 
Prince Harry engagement

 

…Not so interested in tackling the trip to Botswana for a blind date, like the auspicious pair did, or in facing walls of steaming ash for your diamonds? Maybe consider giving a visit to the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio up in Evanston instead!

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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

The Ever-Ethical Eve Alfillé

We know that you love Eve already, but did you know that she also uses a wide variety of materials in her jewelry that conform to the same high moral standards that you do? 
Read Eve’s answers to questions regarding where her materials come from, and how they are each ethically-sourced, conflict-free, green, and gorgeous. For anybody who’s ever sought diamonds both for clarity AND for conscience, for any responsible brides seeking a humanitarian, globally-mindful companion for life other than her spouse, or even anybody seeking an extra-thoughtful anniversary gift.
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A selection of rings by Eve Alfillé. Photo by Matt Arden.


Where do the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio metals come from? 

We get our metals from a company called “Harmony Metals,” and they are virtually 100% ethically-sourced and recycled.

Where does Harmony Metals procure these metals? 

In this country, recycled gold comes from people who sell gold that they no longer want, and then the refiners will buy it. It used to be that there wasn’t much emphasis on this…people had their own gold, and it just stayed in drawers. Companies would go tear the earth up and mine new gold to satisfy the demand.

Now, with more interest in reusing, adapting, and saving the environment, they discovered that there is quite a resource right here! Refiners take this gold and refine it, removing any impurities, and return it to a form where it can be reshaped into entirely new pieces. And this is, in a way, the circle of life as applied  to metals.

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A selection of rings by Eve Alfillé. Photo by Matt Arden.

Where do the beautiful diamonds in my Eve ring come from?

When it comes to diamonds, it’s important to know that the sources have changed tremendously in the last 20 years. It used to be that most diamonds came from South Africa, and that provoked a lot of conscience-searching, because you have apartheid, and political reasons, so a lot of people felt badly about that.

Some diamonds come from countries where there is a lot of conflict, like Sierra Leone in Africa, but those diamonds are not traded in the market generally. Dealers have gotten together internationally, and are very careful to not purchase diamonds from those sources. Everyone wants to stay away from it…There was a big meeting some years back, and a document called the “Kimberly Agreement” resulted in those diamonds being banished from the trade (kind of).

Now, the big change is that today, a little more than one third of all diamonds actually come from Russia. It turns out that Siberia/Russia has wonderful diamonds, and large mines that are very well-run. They pay the people that they employ, they cut the diamonds very well, and a lot of the diamonds that are on the market now (one third, as I said) are from Russia.

Another 25% come from the Arctic Circle, or close to it, in Canada. In 1996, I was at a big reception at the Gemological Institute in California where they introduced the people who actually discovered those diamonds. They were prospectors who were flying, and noticed that the terrain looked a little different. They had a hunch. So, ever since, a quarter of the world’s diamonds of high quality come from Canada.
Small diamonds that you see are usually cut in India, but India doesn’t really have that many diamonds. So if they are champagne, or pink, then they probably come from Australia. If they are small and white, and well-cut, they probably come from Russia.

Earth_Eastern_HemisphereSome countries off the coast of Africa, like Angola, mine in th ocean! They found some diamonds on the beach, and so there are now ships that are anchored offshore. They drag up some of the water, find diamonds in the water, and then they just send the water back out. So, interestingly enough, some diamonds actually come from the ocean.

Can you repurpose a family diamond if I already have one?

Yes, and we often do!

This is rather nice; to know that the diamond that you are using is such a family symbol…a symbol of belonging, that actually comes from either one of your families, and I think it’s especially wonderful. We encourage people to ask family members if they have stones that they would wish to donate, and if they’re willing to do that, we’re very happy to work with them!

Custom Design, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Eve's Insight

A Very Lucky Young Woman

Custom Diamond Engagement Ring by Eve AlfilleA very lucky bride to be is about to receive this stunning, custom-made ‘Arches’ ring designed by Eve J. Alfillé.

Eve has just completed a lovely diamond engagement ring in 18 karat Blond gold (that she invented with a warmer white hue).  We are pleased now to be able to share the pictures of it with you as it is so beautiful.  Eve worked very closely with a nice young man who wished to have an engagement ring created as a surprise.

This ring features a nearly 1 3/4 carat cushion-cut center diamond.  The diamond is set in a halo around the center accented by 40 small diamonds on the four sides of the ring’s split shank. (Weighing over half a carat)   Eve added milgrained edges in the blond gold wherever the diamonds are set, a charming detail. If you look closely, you can see that Eve has added open arches all around the base of the center diamond’s setting, and more carved scrollwork above the arches.

“It was designed for an imaginary 15th century princess. I wanted to capture the feeling of a beautiful girl walking in her enclosed garden at dusk, thinking about her coming wedding, and that is why I formed these arches like in a Medieval cloister.  Its a peaceful place where you can meditate, with fountains and roses blooming.  To imitate the splashing of fountains, the beautiful central diamond is surrounded with a halo of diamonds, and the diamonds are also found below, not only in the graceful arched band, but also at the top of the tier with the arched ‘walk’. I wanted this to be a little monument, something exquisite to carry with you and celebrate the wonderful thing that occurs when two people meet, who were destined to be together.”  – Eve Alfille, Designer

How can the lucky young woman say anything but “YES!!”?

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