Custom Design

Rings of Great Significance

Eve has been quite busy designing beautiful engagement rings for couples all year long, and we thought you might find the following info-graphic on engagement ring history, interesting and fun.  Might I add, that not all of her projects were for young couples.

Eve has designed several rings for couples who are seeking more unusual and custom rings, making Eve an obvious go-to choice.   Another trend, which continues this year is the use of non-traditional gems for engagement and wedding rings.  Just like Princess Diana and Duchess Kate’s, sapphires are another popular choice and, not all are of the blue variety.  But sapphires are not the only distinction.  Once you see Eve’s gem room and begin exploring, you will be amazed at all the gemstone alternatives.  Just be sure to select a hard gem, that can stand up to daily wear and tear.

“Refresh Your Wedding Rings!” says the husband of one woman who is redesigning her wedding ring with Eve this season.   After 50+ years of marriage she opted for an updated, sleek and modern Eve Alfillé design which Eve is currently working on.  The gallery this year has seen a surprising number of women doing just that!

At the gallery, we refer to these projects as transformations and are not limited to wedding jewelry.  Eve has undertaken transformations throughout her entire career and every transformation is a fascinating process.  The best part happens when the redesigned ring or heirloom piece is complete and clients look upon their new creation for the first time.  The look of sheer joy as she sees her redesigned ring in its new form. “I have to caution them to be careful while driving, and not let their newly refreshed rings distract,” Eve says.


Eve's Insight

Unused Gold Watch Becomes a Stunning Emerald Bracelet

Emerald Bracelet
Emerald bracelet converted from a wrist watch, by Eve Alfillé. Click to enlarge.

Hot off our studio workbench, Eve has just completed this amazing transformation!

She converted a charming woman’s inherited Baume & Mercier watch, which was languishing in her safety deposit box, into a stunning bracelet with a fine & rare Trapiche emerald in natural crystal form.  (Only the top has been polished flat).  This rare specimen weighs a whopping 11 3/4 carats!

Trapiche emeralds are the rarest form of emerald.  As the emerald crystal grows in its normal six-sided shape, the darker lutite is pushed to the center of the crystal and then radiates out in the six directions from the corners of the crystal with the areas between, a pretty emerald green.  These rays are the result of black carbon impurities that happen to form in the same star pattern.  It is an absolutely amazing natural process that creates an emerald crystal with a six leg “star” of the darker lutite.

A rare type of emerald known as a trapiche emerald is occasionally found in the mines of Colombia. A trapiche emerald exhibits a “star” pattern; it has ray-like spokes of dark carbon impurities that give the emerald a six-pointed radial pattern. –Wikipedia | International Gem Society

Antique Baum & Mercier wrist watch
The original piece, an antique Baum & Mercier wrist watch.

It is also rare for the “star” formation to be so dark, perfectly formed, AND completely centered within the emerald crystal.  This is a thick, raw crystal, approximately 8 millimeters in height, which is slightly wider at the bottom on two of its sides, and with an uneven bottom (nature doesn’t know we want the crystal to be perfect!) which presented a real challenge for one of our talented goldsmiths.  This bracelet looks really wonderful in person, it is hard to capture the drama of the high sides surrounding the emerald in a picture.  Eve and the lucky customer felt the textured leaf forms on the former watch band worked really well with this wild & rare emerald!

Perhaps you also have jewelry or gems sitting around, unloved, in your jewelry box or vault that Eve could transform into a new treasure too?

Eve's Insight, Pearl Society

Are my Pearls authentic? How do I tell?

Dear Eve,

I was recently given a four strand gold pearl necklace purchased in the Philippine Islands in the 60’s.  I am questioning their authenticity.

How do I tell?

Thanks, Catherine
Promise of Spring pearl necklace by jewelry designer Eve J Alfille
Promise of Spring necklace

You have asked a great question, are they in fact pearls from an oyster, or man-made

This comes up quite often as people inherit jewelry from family members.  And, in fact it is fairly easy to know.

The Pearl Test:  The simple test is to rub them one pearl against another (you can rub fairly hard).

Pearls cultured from oysters are gritty in feel even thought they may look smooth.  Natural or cultured pearls will have that gritty feel when you rub them together, while faux pearls feel smooth.

You can also rub a pearl against your teeth, if you like, and your real pearls will give the same impression of grittiness.

This is due to the fact that the organic substance deposited by oysters consists of microscopic crystalline plates, whereas man-made pearls are beads of glass (or plastic) coated in one or more layers of varnish.  Some are even dipped in a mixture which includes ground-up fish scales to add some luminescence.

Promise of Spring necklace,” by artist Eve J Alfille, features a collection of natural color pearls, cultured around the world; which Eve has combined to make up this beautiful necklace with her 18k white gold “Acanthus” series clasp.
If you would like to learn more about pearls in general, you might like to become a member of The Pearl Society and receive the quarterly newsletter.  Dues are $25 a year, and include bi-monthly meetings held in my Evanston, IL Gallery The Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio (in the Chicago area).
In fact, the very next meeting of The Pearl Society is Sunday, July 22, from 3 – 5 pm at Eve’s Gallery where the speakers will be discussing Natural Wisconsin pearls.