Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Opalescent Opulence

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pin17033lrg_0They may be made of hydrated silica, sometimes containing up to 20% water, but opals sure aren’t watered-down! These flashing, fiery October birthstones are highly valued both for their exquisite beauty and their fantastically diverse range appearances. Opals were even considered the penultimate gemstone by ancients such as Pliny the Elder, who lauded them for the belief that they were composed from bits of every other type of precious gem.

This kaleidoscopic array of color can often be seen in the form of “fire,” or floating shards of visible colors varied and splendid, suspended within the translucent body of each opal. These fractured colors come to be when lightwaves pass through the infinitesimally tiny spheres that make up the structure of the mineral opal.

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 2.48.09 PMOpals are relatively soft gemstones; about 5.5-6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, and should be treated with care as much as worn with pride. If you are lucky enough to own this shimmering gem, we recommend keeping it away from harsh cleaning chemicals, and opting instead to clean it with water and a soft-bristled brush. Bezel-set opals, and opals worn as earrings and necklaces are also fantastic ways to keep your precious gem away from hard knocks.

The Virgin Rainbow, the world’s finest opal, recently made headlines upon its discovery in Australia. It was ultimately valued at over one million dollars for its exquisitely lustrous fire that the discoverer, John Dunstan, claims can even glow in the dark! Now that’s an illuminating ore.

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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Pleased as Peridot

A sizzling summer stone, the birthstone for August is none other than peridot! These delightful gems are best known for their “olive complexion,” which can be attributed to the fact that they all come from the mineral ‘olivine!’ Peridots are also known to be one of the only gemstones that appear in only one color…in this case, a bright green (though shades can range from brownish-green to the much more common yellow-green.) The most valuable shade is a rich, ‘freshly-mown grass’ shade of green, appropriate for their summery birthstone month!

Eve Alfille’s “Water Nymphs” bracelet: sterling silver, peridot & freshwater pearls. Photo credit: Matt Arden.

The peridot comes from a couple of hot sources, ranging all the way from lava erupting from the bed of the sea, to burning meteorites that have crashed into the Earth from space! Unfortunately, not many celestial peridots make the ‘cut’ for use in jewelry.

Throughout history, these gems have always been a favorite for those with an eye for gems. Unfortunately for Cleopatra, the Cologne Cathedral, and a few others, many of the famous “emerald” collections of antiquity were actually probably peridots as well! The stone has also been associated with the sun since ancient times, continuing the gem’s association with heavenly bodies!

Famous peridot tiara of the Austrian Archduchess Isabelle

The Egyptians, who referred to the peridot as “the gem of the sun” preferred to capture their wild peridot specimens on an island in the Red Sea that has gone by the names Topazios, St. John’s Island, and Zabargad, and legend has it that all of the snakes were driven from it by the Pharoh at the time…possibly a previous incarnation of St. Patrick!

Make sure that you don’t forget to get your fill of the “other” sun stone this summer! We’d be more than happy to help you find your perfect match right here at Eve’s, but hurry…you’ve only got one month to celebrate this beautiful birthstone…waiting too long would be a big peri-don’t!

Custom Design, Eve's Insight

While you were sleeping . . . .Eve was designing.

Did you know that artist Eve Alfillé designs every single one of the beautiful & varied gemstone bead necklaces in her Evanston Gallery?

necklace-treeIn addition to designing all the jewelry in her display cases, Eve designs every one of the many necklaces hanging on the wrought iron tree displays in the front of her artistic gallery space.  Its true, each necklace is from Eve’s fertile imagination using a wide array of gemstones and pearls held in her studio and gem room.

A consummate night owl, Alfillé also designs her jewelry treasures into the wee hours of the morning.  “At a certain point, somewhere around 1 or 2am, I reach a sort of “creative high” which results in very interesting blends of color and form.  These are especially intricate combinations, with exciting sterling silver accents and different pretty clasps.

While all together the quantity of necklaces she has could appear overwhelming, if you take a moment to look closely at just a few of the many unique necklaces she has created you will find many wonderful combinations of materials and visual surprises that you will enjoy for years to come.

The next time you need a jewelry pick me up, or a wonderful, one of a kind gift, spend some time exploring Eve’s ever-changing collection of interesting and beautiful necklaces.  “I especially enjoy designing these necklaces and bracelets for women who appreciate ‘unusual,’ and are not afraid of their feminine power,” Eve explains.

Here is a close up look at one of Eve’s many gemstone bead necklaces.

Running Rapids II beaded necklace necklace
Citrine, Flourite, Rose Quartz, Iolite and others with a 14k gold clasp.

Running Rapids II” necklace (left) from Eve’s “Les Petits Fruits” series features a pastel rainbow of different types of gems, including fluorite, citrine, rose quartz and iolite and others, with a 14 karat gold clasp.

Each necklace is unique – however, the mood and look of each necklace Eve creates will be harmonious and use a beautiful combination of faceted, smooth and carved gemstones.

Design Series

Jazz Age in France

From the Jazz Age Series by Eve J Alfille
From the Jazz Age Series by Eve J Alfille

A fascinating and optimistic time in history when music, art, architecture and society took on a transformation of unconventional ideas while maintaining a sense of elegance. We’re drawn to the breathtaking time of excitement and hopefulness wanting to explore for ourselves these wonderful delicacies.
Music was electric and captivated our senses. Everyone knew of Gershwin, Cole Porter and Maurice Ravel. But it was French entertainers like Ada “Bricktop” Smith and the great Josephine Baker who performed nightly to Paris audiences.  When Jazz arrived, it was overwhelmingly accepted by the Parisians. It allowed people like Josephine Baker to become a star.
Inspirational developments included Art Deco design and architecture. The Art Deco aesthetic was wonderfully sleek and streamlined with symmetrical and geometric designs. It’s character was seen in everything from furniture, fashion to jewelry.
As a society, the sense of excitement came from freedoms of individuality such as hand holding, free flowing dresses and beautiful jewelry. It gave permission to define who you want to be.

Watch a wonderful video of France in the 1920’s.

Design Series

“Jazz Age” Eve J Alfille’s New Jewelry Series

"Jazz Age" New Jewelry Series
“Jazz Age” New Jewelry Series

Welcome to Eve J Alfille Gallery & Studio’s new jewelry series, “Jazz Age”. Take a moment to explore the thoughts, inspirations and creations of the Artist’s Statement.

In French schools, the recent past is not taught: too fresh to be history, it may revive controversy. So my high school classes learned all about Versailles and the Baroque style, but nothing about Art Deco, or jazz. Though ‘The Jazz Age’ usually denotes a period in the late 1920’s, its great innovations in style extended long past the 1929 crash. The elegance of Art Deco, coupled with its practicality and relative simplicity, “suggesting better times”, still speaks to us today.

As a child, what had impressed me was the wild romanticism of Art Nouveau, the Paris Metro entrances, the soaring street lights with their sweeping curves. On the other hand, I had nothing but contempt for my parents’ 1940’s furniture, with their restrained, stylized curves, the symmetry and repetition of the little corner motifs, chevrons carved and inlaid in contrasting wood. A frisson ran down my spine recently when, in a 2012 auction catalog I spied those exact armchairs, an Art Deco exemplar, quoted for an extremely handsome sum! How I wish I

"Jazz Age" Featured Earrings and Necklace
“Jazz Age” Featured Earrings and Necklace

had them now!

We revere the elegance of this style: ever modern, it can be treated sumptuously with rare materials, like the inlaid Jean Dunand screen I almost bought in Switzerland in 1981, when we spent a couple of years in Geneva, and my mother-in-law’s diamond brooch. But it had also formed a background of our growing years in its more humble interpretations, the facades of the movie theaters in our small towns, the old Philco radios with the pleated wood cases, the streamline toasters of our early years.

I love the functionality, the stylishness: Art Deco is above all a way of seeing, it looks at the pure geometry of everyday objects, the sun, fountains, ocean liners, the pyramids, and translates them into flat decorative motifs that are at once restrained and joyous! For me, what inspired my current Jazz Age series is the particular duality of the style: how it makes room for both movement and repose, exuberance and severity, inspiration from current times and times past. What other decorative style can throw together speedy trains and ancient pyramids, maybe both in the same piece?

"Jazz Age" pendant
“Jazz Age” pendant

In this series, I have to remind myself to proceed past restraint: it’s permitted to be joyous, even with nothing but the black, white and gray diamonds and pearls! And no problem letting rubies in, just remember to color within the lines! So we will work from both ends, the pastels of moonstones, Ceylon sapphires and opals, and the glorious reds, oranges and yellows of jades, citrines, topaz and rubies. I design, hearing the jazz of Coltrane and Davis, the coolness and the splendor alternating. White gold and palladium for coolness, blush gold for delicacy, all are playing a role in my new Jazz Age series.