Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Gold Diggers

leektorc1
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!
 
 
leektorc2
“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

Unearthed in Angola

 

 

An illuminating discovery was unearthed only weeks ago in Angola, Africa, unexpectedly escalating the shares of the company responsible by 29 percent. Lucapa Diamonds, an Australian-based mining company, was already in the public eye following the recent discovery of three other diamonds over 100 carats from their Lulo mine in recent history.

The uncovering of a diamond of spectacular proportion, however, broke all of these records: a 404.2-carat behemoth of a diamond was found, sporting a top-tier D-color and Type IIA. The stone itself measures about seven centimeters in length, which would be comparable to wearing a diamond ring the size of your finger itself.

While the final fate of the gem is unknown, it caused a stir at market when the stone sold for $22 million Australian dollars, or roughly $16 million in the US. That’s quite a bit of change, with an estimated $55,585 per carat!

This stone is currently measured as the 27th largest recorded diamond in history, following such illustrious diamonds as the Cullinan diamond found in South Africa in 1905…And if rare stones such as these are your fascination, there are many minerals far more rare than diamonds! Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks to possibly read about them in a future story.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Artful Amethyst

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.43.37 AM.png
“Two as One” carved amethyst necklace. Copyright: Eve Alfillé, Photo Credit: Matt Arden.

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.

Amethyst_Quartz.jpg

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

A Diamondiferous Discovery

970x700ximg_564d146a0f5c0.png.pagespeed.ic.vrz9DvS3sV.png
Even Kim Kardashain and Elizabeth Taylor would have a hard time wearing this new find around! The world’s second-largest gem-quality diamond ever found was unearthed in Botswana last week, weighing in at a seemingly perfect 1,111 carats. The value of the stone remains unknown, as it was too large to fit into the onsite scanner, and will have to be flown to Antwerp for proper measurement.

 

Vesuvius
“Dawn Over Vesuvius” by Eve Alfillé features 196 tantalizing diamonds and elements of  20 and 22 karat gold. Photo credit: Matt Arden. 

Just unearthed last week by the relatively minor diamond company, the Lucara Diamond firm, this unnamed stone has already been shattering records! It now comes in second only to the Cullinan diamonds of British crown jewel fame. In fact, Lucara may not remain minor for long: with this discovery, followed a mere 24 hours later by the discovery of two more strikingly sizeable diamonds in the same area, the company’s stock immediately inflated by 37 percent upon public revelation of the find.

The stone, though still un-scanned to verify its exact color and clarity, had been judged to be a Type II diamond, meaning that its brilliance is of a near-perfect quality which makes this stone look as if it was carved from the very heart of a glacier. No wonder diamonds are called “ice!”
Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Opalescent Opulence

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

virginrainbow