Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Belle Epoque Pearls

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The Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio and The Pearl Society cordially invite you to join us on a private, guided tour of the Driehaus Museum, a Gilded Age museum and historic mansion in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

This tour will take an intimate look into the beautiful jewelry of the Belle Epoque period as depicted in poster form in the new exhibit: ‘L’Affichomania’ the Passion for French Posters. The tour will be followed by a brief Q&A.

  • When: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm
  • Where: The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 East Erie Street, Chicago

Reserve your place now as space is limited to only 10 lucky attendees! Call 847-869-7920 to pay by credit card, or stop by the Gallery to pay in person. Private tour cost is $21/person (non-refundable) which is required at the time you reserve your place.

Please make checks payable to Eve J. Alfillé Gallery.

Please note: We will meet at the museum at 12:00 pm. Parking is available for $15.00/car with museum validation at ROW Self-Park, 50 East Ohio, Chicago.

driehaus

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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Pliny the ‘Jeweler’

IMG_9596Over the course of human history, many famous and illustrious minds have been drawn in by the hypnotic allure of diamonds. Something in the sparkle of this April birthstone just casts an irreversible spell over the imagination, regardless of social station or place in time…But before Kim and Kanye ever showed off their 15 carats of commitment, before Elizabeth Taylor decided “big girls need big diamonds,” and before they were Marilyn’s best friend, there was Pliny the Elder.

Though perhaps not as flashy as some of today’s divas this ancient Roman scholar was not shy when it came to demanding some diamonds. A man of stunning intellect, his nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote of him:

“The only time he took from his work was for his bath, and by bath I mean his actual immersion, for while he was being rubbed down and dried he had a book read to him or dictated notes.”

sheila-terry-pliny-the-elder-roman-naturalistIn fact, during his lifetime, the elder Pliny set about the task of describing no less than the entire known natural universe. His writings, known as the “Naturalis Historia,” were the first model for the modern encyclopedia.

Fortunately for us, is not necessary to leaf through all 37 volumes of his epically-proportioned tome to see that, just like the fashionistas of today, the diamond’s mischievous sparkle was just as potent to the mind of this erudite scholar. In his 37th and final volume, he introduced diamonds as the Jupiter of all gemstones:

“Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”

In a glowing, and even overexaggerated account, Pliny goes on to proclaim that:

“All these stones can be tested upon the anvil and they repel blows so that an iron hammer head may be split into two and even the anvil unseated. Indeed the hardness of the diamond is not able to be described.”

Pompei EarringsFollowing all this praise of diamond, it comes as almost a surprise that he went on to heap disdain on those who dared to dress themselves in what he considered too many gems. Whether intentional or not, his contempt for the Roman “excess” in fashion can even border on the humorous, in such accounts as that of his description of the affect pearls had on the ladies of the empire:

“Our ladies quite glory in having these suspended from their fingers, or two or three of them dangling from their ears. For the purpose of ministering to these luxurious tastes, there are various names and wearisome refinements which have been devised by profuseness and prodigality; for after inventing these ear-rings, they have given them the name of ‘crotalia,’ or castanet pendants, as though quite delighted even with the rattling of the pearls as they knock against each other!”

Unfortunately, in the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius of Pompeii, this great mind met his untimely end. There the younger Pliny took up the torch of historian, and is the only remaining source today of the great tragedy which struck Pompeii. He described the characteristic virtue and boldness of his uncle in this final description, in which Pliny decided to rush into danger’s way to respond to the plea of a friend:

“He changed his plans, and what he had begun in a spirit of inquiry he completed as a hero…Happy are they, in my opinion, to whom it is given either to do something worth writing about, or to write something worth reading; most happy, of course, those who do both. With his own books and yours, my uncle will be counted among the latter.” (Pliny, to Tacitus)

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Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

“Maker & Muse: Early 20th Century Art Jewelry” Guided Private Tour

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René Lalique, Chrystanthemum Pendant/Brooch, c. 1900. Collection of Richard H. Driehaus.

The Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio and The Pearl Society cordially invite you to join us on a private, guided tour of the Driehaus Museum, a Gilded Age museum and historic mansion in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The tour will feature an array of unique pearls and other gems in the new exhibit: Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry. The tour will be followed by a brief Q&A.

  • When: Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 10:30 am
  • Where: The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 East Erie Street, Chicago

Reserve your place now as space is limited to only 15 lucky attendees! Call 847-869-7920 to pay by credit card, or stop by the Gallery to pay in person. Private tour cost is $21/person (non-refundable) which is required at the time you reserve your place.

Please make checks payable to Eve J. Alfillé Gallery.

Please note: We will meet at the museum at 10:30am. Parking is available for $14.00/car with museum validation at ROW Self-Park, 50 East Ohio, Chicago.

Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, jewelry, Pearl Society

Pearl Society Meeting – “The Dragon’s Other Quest: Pearls and the Magic & Power of Jade”

Thursday, March 6, from 6pm to 8pm at the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio, 623 Grove St., Evanston

The Pearl Society salutes the Chinese Year of the Horse at its upcoming March 6th meeting, Thursday evening from 6 to 8 pm. The Chinese Dragon is depicted in pursuit of both pearls and jade, stepping stones to eternal life and wealth. At this March meeting our guest speaker, Scottie Perry, will discuss the many aspects of Jade. According to artist & Pearl Society founder, Eve Alfillé, Ms. Perry’s many years living in Asia have made her highly cognizant of jade’s major role in these cultures. Scottie served as docent in Asian museums, and has traveled extensively and amassed knowledge that is not otherwise familiar to westerners. This lively session is interactive, fun & not to be missed!

Please join us for this unusual presentation and become familiar with Jade’s multiple aspects. Be sure to bring your Jade jewelry for perusal & discussion.

Please reserve now! 847-869-7920 or e-mail Eve at contact@evejewelry.com
Refreshments will be served

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.