There is an electricity that runs through Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio that can only be felt in the charming confines of one of Evanston’s most beloved family owned businesses.
And during the holiday season, that electricity is like no other.
“Saturdays can get very busy around here at this time of the year,” chuckles owner and award-winning international artist Eve J. Alfillé. “My granddaughter Becky, who is a sophomore at Evanston Township High School, is often here helping. She has been designing jewelry since she was just nine years old. And of course my daughter Diane is always here as the resident glass artist. It’s a lovely thing to be able to gather my family around me.”
Indeed, the love of family runs through this business like a heartbeat not only during the holidays, but all throughout the year. Joining in that heartbeat is a loyal customer base that has long-loved Alfillé and her skilled team of craftsman since the very moment they first opened their retail store in 1987.
“I never intended to have a retail gallery,” recalls Alfillé, who also previously worked as a teacher and sculptor. “But back then, people didn’t work from home, and I loved creating jewelry so I opened for business. But it was frightening to say the least. I remember our first day open for business and thought, I’m going to have to be here every day?”
The French-born jewelry designer laughs at the sheer thought. But make no mistake, Alfillé continues to love each and every day spent in her gallery filled with rare and exotic pieces, from pearls to gemstones to high karat metals and diamonds.
She also continues to love creating timeless pieces. Her and her team of talented craftspeople actually reveal a new design series every six months for their discerning clientele, including the current series titled Sacred Geometries.
“I used to work in archeology, so I have always been keenly aware of how things begin and why we do the things we do,” explains Alfillé. “I have long researched shapes and forms and numbers that have had special meaning not only here, but around the world. There is nothing like the moment that a customer is touched by something they see.”
Of course, the magic of Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio truly takes flight when customers come in looking to create a unique piece from something they already love.
“I would say 60 percent of my customers come in to look at my collections, but then 40 percent is made up of those customers that have something like their grandma’s diamond and they don’t know what to do with it,” she says. “They simply can’t let it remain in their drawer anymore. They almost have an obligation to make something beautiful out of it.”
Alfillé also loves working alongside her customers to discover a priceless piece.
“I encourage people to bring in things that they already possess,” “There is nothing I love more than sitting down in a comfortable chair with a glass of wine to go through a box of old treasures that we can often make beautiful jewelry from.”
And when it comes to finding the perfect gift, there is nothing like a piece of custom jewelry.
“I encourage my customer’s to make an appointment to come sit with me and discuss what they are looking for,” she says. “I want to know who the person is and what their life is like. And most of all, I want to be sure that we create something that the person will love forever.”
Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio is located at 623 Grove Street in Evanston. For more information, call 847-869-7920, or visit evejewelry.com.