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.
Do your chakras need cleansing? Have you had to defend yourself against serpents lately? Having difficulty with your telepathy and precognition?
…Well, maybe you need a sapphire.
Sapphires, being the highly coveted and sumptuous gems that they are, have over time accrued a substantial history of lore almost as long and impressive as that of the stone itself. Sapphires come from just about every continent on Earth; with mines in India, Brazil, Madagascar and beyond…we even have some sapphires here at the gallery that were collected from the rivers of Montana by our very own Eve and Maurice! (Feel free to read more about their adventure here.) As such, it is no surprise that in nearly every country and culture, there have come to exist many different legends and tales about the ancient uses, powers, and virtues of this stone.
A short list of sapphiric uses from history, to give you an idea, are as follows: as an antidote for poisons, as a symbol of St. Paul, the ability to kill snakes, a gem for Autumn, Jupiter, Saturn, Taurus, and Venus, as an antidepressant, and a good way to stimulate both astral travel and precognition.
Perhaps most commonly throughout cultures, sapphires have been found useful as a talisman. Frequently worn by royalty and the nobility, they were believed to grant powerful protection to the wearer. Towards the end of the 11th century, somewhat ironically, it was even believed that they could protect the wearer from envy.
Sapphires have also garnered mention as a stone of great worth and prominence in many major religions, including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and more. They have secured a place on the breastplate of the ancient Jewish high priests as one of the twelve stones representing the tribes of Israel, as well as being included in a description of the throne of God from the book of Exodus. They have also gained several mentions throughout the Vedas texts of Hinduism, in which sapphires were initially borne from the body of the demon, Bali, whose body took the form of thousands of scattered gemstones upon his death. Sapphires, specifically, were his eyes. It is important to note, however, that in ancient texts such as these, it is not uncommon for the term ‘sapphire’ to have actually referred to lapis lazuli or other blue stones, meaning simply ‘blue.’
Today, sapphires continue to play an important role in our culture’s consciousness, cropping up in all kinds of symbolic and prominent ways. Blue sapphires, such as those in Eve’s appropriately named “Medieval Betrothal” ring, are even now frequently preferred for use in engagement rings over other gemstones, being one of the first stones in history to have been cut for the purpose of betrothal as they have continued to symbolize loyalty, stability, and fidelity.
Sapphires also make fantastic engagement rings due to their incredible hardness (a 9 out of 10 on the MOHs hardness scale), being exceeded in strength by nothing on Earth but diamonds.
…As October imminently approaches and brings with it the advent of the season for anybody with an opal or tourmaline birthstone, we wish those of you who celebrated your births in September the absolute best of wishes! We hope that you have enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the stone that you were born for.
Please join us Thursday July 25th at 5pm for a Precious Gem Safari at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery & Studio where you can take a hands-on look at Eve’s array of precious gemstones in both their mineral and set/unset faceted form.
Enjoy wine and munchies as you discover Eve’s treasure trove of designer jewelry and unique wearable art.
10% of all event sales will benefit the Karen Dove Cabral Foundation which offers financial assistance to young women with breast cancer who are challenged to meet the needs of their household while undergoing treatment for their condition.
Attendees may also purchase raffle tickets to win a beautiful, one-of-a-kind necklace created by Eve just for this very special evening! Tickets sales will go directly to the Karen Dove Cabral Foundation. (Tickets are 1 for $5, and 6 for $25)
Please RSVP by July 18 by contacting the gallery at (847) 869-7920 or by completing the RSVP form below.
Please join usfor a special presentation by Dr. Paul H. Alfille: “Working in Antarctica.” The gallery will be open for the event on Sunday, June 23 from 3-5 pm and refreshments will be served. (RSVP Info Below)
While the Antarctic has become a sought- after destination for visitors in quest of a new and uncommon experience, the travelers on cruises only get to visit the most accessible edge of the continent, at the tip of the Antarctic peninsula, and that for a relatively short time.
Working at one of the Antarctic research bases, however, is a much different experience. Paul Alfille, now Division Chief of Thoracic, Vascular and Neuro Anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School , was a medical student when he was tapped to be part of a medical research expedition at McMurdo Bay, the U.S. Antarctic base, situated relatively close to the South Pole.
His stunning photographs, which he will present along with stories of day-to-day life on the base, depict his experiences and that of the team headed by Prof. W. Zapol, a former speaker to The Pearl Society. The assignment was to research Weddell seals, huge mammals who can dive and stay underwater for more than an hour. Because of this research, newborn “blue” babies in hospitals everywhere can now be helped. “But first, you have to catch the seal. . . ” The photos tell the tale, and many others.
After Paul Alfille, my son, spent that austral summer in Antarctica, his pictures revealed to me a universe of beauty and tragedy. The thought has been with me since, and has inspired the special jewelry series: Voyage to Antarctica.
Some of you may become green with envy as we introduce the birthstone for May: Emerald. For a closer look at both finished Emerald, stop by the gallery and ask to see some Emeralds.
Emerald is a variety of Beryl, which gets its green color from the presence of trace amounts of the metal elements chromium & sometimes vanadium. As these two elements do not play particularly well together, they can cause minute stresses, creating the typical inclusions seen in most emeralds. The French give these a pretty name: Jardin (garden).
Most emerald are mined in Colombia and Brazil, although a newer source of fine, relatively clear Emerald has been discovered in Zambia, Africa. Emerald in various concentrations have been found in places all over the world including the U.S., but ironically have not been located in Ireland which fancies itself “the Emerald Isle,” for its lush green countryside.
More than 2,000 years ago, Egyptian queen Cleopatra had a passion for emeralds and wore them in her jewelry, and they have been in demand ever since.
Speaking of Cleopatra, one famous actress who portrayed Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor, is quoted as saying, “Oh my god!! I’ve got to have the emeralds!” And so she did… check these out! Not understated, but very WOW!!
In 330 BC Egyptians began mining emeralds, and buried their mummies with emeralds around their necks to symbolize eternal youth.
During the sixteenth century Spanish Explorers discovered emeralds in South America and introduced them throughout Europe. It was said the Spanish conquistadors discovered and overtook the emerald mines in present-day Colombia. But it took them fifty years to finally overpower the Muzo Indians who occupied the area and refused to reveal the sources of their mines to the greedy Spanish, even under torture!
Legends claimed that emeralds had power to cure diseases such as cholera and malaria and to make the wearer quick-witted and intelligent.
Emeralds are less dense than diamonds. This means that a one-carat emerald is larger than a one
About emeralds, Roman historian Pliny said, “No stone has a color that is more delightful to the eye, for, whereas the sight fixes itself with avidity upon the green grass and the foliage of the trees, we have all the more pleasure in looking upon the emerald, there being no gem in existence more intense than this.” Following Pliny’s advice, the Roman Emperor, Nero, watched gladiator fights through emerald-encrusted sunglasses.