Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Gold Diggers

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Treasure hunters rejoice! A couple of enterprising detectorists (those who seek buried treasure with metal detectors) have once again proved that it can be a fruitful hobby indeed…the enterprising duo, Joe Kania and Mark Hambleton, unearthed the find of a lifetime in a field just south of Manchester. Their “hoard,” a bracelet and three neck torcs estimated to be at least 80% gold each, were either lost or buried 2,500 years ago, making them possibly the oldest known Iron Age discovery to date!
 
 
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“The torcs were probably worn by wealthy and powerful women, perhaps people from the continent who had married into the local community,” said Dr. Julia Farley, a curator for the British Museum. “Piecing together how these objects came to be carefully buried in a Staffordshire field will give us an invaluable insight into life in Iron Age Britain.”
 
 
Not far from another famous find, the “Staffordshire Hoard,” this locale seems ripe for the detecting. This bounty was uncovered by ‘local boy’ Terry Herbert in 2009, and has already garnered a generous bounty for the finder (it’s the law in Great Britain that all found artifacts must be turned in to the government, but also that they get reimbursed the full value!), and the objects themselves have already been touring museums for some time! It will be exciting to see what happens to this 2017 discovery once its worth has been calculated by the British Museum, where it is currently being kept on display.
 
 
 To get an eyeful of the famous 2009 find attributed to ‘local boy’ Terry Herbert and the garnet-encrusted goodies he unearthed, check out the hoard’s official website (…or, for a closer look, just check out some gold and garnets at the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio!).
 
 
Garnet and gold pommel cap from the Staffordshire Hoard.
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

Multi-faceted Fighters


Are you living with a gemophobe? Maybe a husband or son who thinks that all precious stones are just hunks of sparkly rock meant to be locked away in a jewelry box or behind a plate of glass in a museum? That person might say that gems can never be fun. Well, that person (despite all odds) has probably not been watching enough TV!

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For the disbelieving diamond-doubter in your life, the cure may lie in the most unlikely of places…just sit them in front of the tube, and tune in to Cartoon Network’s hit show “Steven Universe!” The main characters include the ever-tenacious “Crystal Gems,” a band of gem-powered fighters, thinkers, and fun-havers named Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. These gems must work together to protect the Earth from evil…and also, raise Steven Universe, the adolescent protagonist of the show who has also inherited his mother’s gem, “Rose Quartz.”

“Steven Universe” creator Rebecca Sugar

Each of these characters have not only inherited names from their constituent stones, but have been known to share their attributes as well. According to show creator Rebecca Sugar (also the first female show creator/director in Cartoon Network history), “I wanted their gems to parallel their personalities. Pearls, being automatically smooth and perfect, Amethyst, [which is] coarse and rough, and I love how raw Garnets are mysterious with just a little bit of red peeking through hidden inside.” Steven, with his rose quartz gem, is also known to possess an unconditional love for all things, as this blush-colored stone is of course the most famous among “love stones.”

Some other minor characters include, but are not limited to, Peridot, Lapis Lazuli, and Jasper. Arguably some of the most fun moments on the show also feature the creation of “gem fusions,” in which two gems will fuse together to create a larger, more powerful gem, which have gone by the names of Malachite, Sugilite (voiced by Nicki Mnaj), Opal, Alexandrite and more.

Steven-Universe-001Now, for your gem nay-sayer, these are gems that would simply refuse to stay put in a dusty jewelry box. These gems are made for fighting, and that’s just what they do…by battling invading aliens, defeating giant monsters, swimming through lava, and saving Steven from the occasional misadventure…enough to keep the most critical mineral mope satisfied. It makes a very promising first step to convincing them that gemstones really CAN be fun (especially when you can wear them!)…or, at the very least, it will keep them occupied while you get to sneak away to enjoy the array of Eve’s glittering, and wearable, gems here at the gallery.