Jewelry’s Naughty (Not So) Little Secret

I found this great article by  Sarah Shannon written for the Business of Fashion on July 20, 2017. It gives a good insight to the treatments of gemstones and the disclosure of treatments to the consumer. Gem Lady Treasures uses only Natural Gemstones unless otherwise disclosed.

Jewellery’s Naughty Little Secret: Treated Gemstones

Unbeknownst to most jewellery consumers, gemstones are often treated, filled with glass and even irradiated, yet retailers rarely disclose this.

LONDON, United Kingdom — “Here in the US, if it’s pretty, it sells,” says Gary Roskin, executive director of the International Colored Gemstone Association. Processes like heating gemstones to enhance their colour are so common that “no-one is really concerned,” he adds, but other treatments like filling fractures with lead glass to hide the poor quality of stones are also commonplace and “need to be disclosed all the way to the consumers.”

According to the Gemological Institute of America which examines more than two million diamonds, coloured stones and pearls each year for grading and analysis, these treatments range from bleaching to surface coating to dyeing to irradiation (where gems are exposed to an artificial source of radiation to change their colour). Laser drilling is also used to remove dark spots on stones, while lattice diffusion, where an element such as beryllium is penetrated into rubies and sapphires to enhance the colour is common.

And yet disclosure isn’t always the norm. In a competitive market worth $310 billion according to Euromonitor, the potential negative sales impact of disclosing treatments is often seen as a commercial liability. It’s a stance that may surprise consumers increasingly interested in transparency and ethics.

The Gemological Association of Great Britain estimates that 98 percent of rubies are treated; heated, glass-filled or otherwise subjected to diffusion and flux techniques. Blue topaz is almost entirely treated, sapphires are 95 percent treated in some way by either glass filling, diffusion or heat treatment, while citrines are often heat-treated, according to gemology and diamond tutor Julia Griffith. Aquamarines are heat-treated, emeralds are often filled with oil or resins to hide fractures and turquoise is resin-coated. (Enhanced coloured diamonds are “not common,” however, Griffith says, and any treatment of diamonds is usually clearly described at point of sale).

“I would be surprised how many [stones] are treated” if I hadn’t studied it, says Griffith. “It’s accepted in the trade that all rubies are treated but it’s not told to the consumer,” she continues. While many gems require treatment to produce the colours consumers have come to expect, “people should be able to ask questions from their jeweller” and get honest answers, she adds.

The treatment of gemstones has been going on for centuries but the increasingly technologically-savvy treatments — and the difficulty in detecting these — makes things ever more complicated and often retailers hide behind these technicalities to avoid disclosing treatments to consumers, Griffith says. That or they simply don’t know. “It’s not always made very obvious to the customer because it could be quite a turn off. It’s a resistance to disclose or not knowing themselves and part of that is because it can be so complicated and yet so common.”

It’s accepted in the trade that all rubies are treated but it’s not told to the consumer.

To be sure, the supply chain for gemstones can be long and complex: miners often sell to “rough holders” who then sell to manufacturers who cut and polish. Gems are then sold onto wholesalers before they reach retail jewellers. Treatments can occur at any point in the process, making disclosure to the end consumer even harder, industry sources say.

Rubies that are not treated “are rare, and depending on the four C’s (same as diamonds), can reach record-breaking prices,” according to Gabriella Harvey, director of procurement and product services at Gemfields, one of the world’s largest coloured gemstone miners, which specialises in ethical sourcing. Heating, which improves colour, clarity and durability, allows for a broader customer base to enjoy coloured gemstone jewellery, she adds.

“Treatments are widely accepted, not only with rubies but with all other gemstones. The crucial thing is disclosure,” says Harvey. “We lead the industry with our approach to transparency and treatments is an area where this is crucial for consumer confidence.”

While suppliers and cutters may be increasingly transparent about it, jewellery retailers, particularly fashion jewellers, are lagging behind. “For many years, retail jewellers didn’t think about it. The miners would send to suppliers, suppliers would enhance them and because the retailer didn’t have the education to question what was coming from the suppliers, or the supplier felt it was traditional that these gems would need an enhancement of some kind,” the practice continued, according to Roskin from the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA). “It never had an importance that it has today,” he adds. Today the ICA — with 750 members; mostly miners, cutters and gemstone suppliers — has a code of practice which includes mandatory disclosure of treatments.

“We are trying to teach the retailers what’s out there and what’s available and how to detect it and when it’s not detected what labs can be used,” Roskin says. “We tell the retailers they should be much more actively searching out the supplier that is going to tell them what’s happened to the stone that comes from out of the ground.”

Mandatory disclosure of the treatment of diamonds is required for certified members of the UK-based Responsible Jewellery Council. Coloured stones are soon to be included in the product disclosure, according to Anne Marie Fleury, director of standards and impacts. The body has just over 1,000 members, including luxury jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Chopard, Boucheron and Bulgari. But that’s a drop in the ocean of the total industry and many lower-priced fashion jewellers are nowhere to be seen.

Mostly you pay for what you get, but businesses need to tell people what they are buying.

The World Jewellery Confederation, or CIBJO, publishes Blue Book guides with globally accepted standards for the industry including requirements to disclose treatments of gemstones at point of sale and in written material. But it’s a voluntary code and not enforced.

In the US, Federal Trade Commission rules state it is unfair or deceptive to fail to disclose that a gemstone has been treated if the treatment is not permanent, the treatment creates special care requirements for the stone or the treatment has a significant effect on the stone’s value.

On the lower-ground floor of high-end department store Selfridges in central London, the Astley Clarke concession offers a blue diamond wrist piece for £9,950 (about $13,000) sat below a glass counter on a taupe suede box. The “Firework” cuff has several thousand small blue stones set in yellow gold. The brand’s website lists the gem as “blue diamonds,” but as a sales assistant brightly admits, the gems are treated. She also points out the £695 mini coloured diamond halo hoop earrings with yellow, red, white, green, black and blue diamonds that are also treated and a popular choice amongst shoppers.

“Our blue diamonds are irradiated, this is a safe and stable treatment, we do not treat them ourselves but we only buy certified stones that are tested to ensure they follow the strict regulations,” says Emilie Robichaud, senior product development manager at Astley Clarke. “Our sapphires are heat-treated and some of our agates are dyed. These are widely used and accepted methods of treatment. All our sales staff are trained and do explain to customers who enquire. Our experience on the whole is that for pavé and beads, customers are not overly concerned. We strive to be open and honest about the gemstones we use and any treatments that have been applied to them.”

Kiki McDonough, the British jeweller known for her coloured gemstones, has a “Candy” collection which includes a “green amethyst” and diamond drop earrings for £2,300 (about $3,000). Green amethyst is formed by heating or irradiating amethyst or yellow quartz. A spokesperson declined to comment.

At London’s Selfridges department store on a busy afternoon, shopper Bell Hendricks peruses the fashion jewellery counters with her aunt. “I didn’t think it was that common,” says the 26-year-old of the prevalence of treated gemstones. “Mostly you pay for what you get, but businesses need to tell people what they are buying,” she adds.

Certainly the lower prices paid for treated gemstones typically reflect their value. “You’re not necessarily getting ripped off, the problem is in the understanding. I can see that it’s a challenge for jewellers if you give too much information people go, ‘Oh hold on, I don’t want that, I want a natural one,’” Ms Griffith says. “I don’t have a problem with treatments as long as they tell people and it’s sold at what they are worth.”

Introducing Our New Breeders Program!

Are you a breeder and would you love to see you business grow as fast as your puppies grow? Gem Lady Treasures would love to help you do just that!

As a breeder you have a most unique position, a position that other businesses don’t have. You do not sell puppies, you give families the opportunity to grow their family. Society has changed over the past twenty years. Dogs are no longer possessions; they are four-legged kids – fur babies!

According to an article written for Bloomberg Business Week by Ben Crair on August 18, 2015, he stated, “The U.S. pet industry has more than tripled over the past 20 years.” In an article for Consumer Affairs on August 15, 2016, Sarah D. Young wrote, “Americans spent upwards of $60 billion on pet products last year, and that number is expected to climb by $2 billion this year.” As a breeder I am sure you have felt this change. The question is, are you taking advantage of this boom in the industry?

How can you enhance your buyers experience? How can you create a relationship with your clients to build a repeat business? How can you encourage your clients to refer you to others? This is where Gem Lady Treasures comes in.

I spoke with a Dog Mom who received a unique collar when she purchased her dog from a breeder. She told me that even though her dog has outgrown the collar, she has kept it because it carries such wonderful memories for her; not only of the adoption, but the breeder as well. Another Dog Mom told me that she received a special dog collar from the breeder of her dog as a first birthday gift. She was absolutely thrilled to receive such a wonderful and unexpected gift. In addition to her dog being remembered by the breeder, it bonded her more to the breeder. She also said that she has sent other families to that breeder.

As a member of the Gem Lady Treasures Breeder Program, we will work with you in selecting natural gemstones and a design that would be specific only to you. Another option would be to create natural gemstone dog collars using the stone of the puppies birth month or adoption month. The dog collars would then either be a gift to the puppies family at the time of adoption, or as a first birthday gift. This gift is what is going to bond your customer to you just as your puppy is going to bond to their new family.

Business today is all about building relationships with our customers. Building a strong connection with your clients is smart business, doing so with natural gemstone dog collars is a creative way to grow your business.

Please contact me at so we can discuss in depth how the Gem Lady Treasures Breeder Program can help you create that special bond and wonderful memories with your clients, as well as grow your business!


Identifying A Colored Gemstone

One of the more challenging assignments a gemologist may have is to correctly identify colored gemstones, usually for appraisal purposes. At first thought this may seem like an easy task. As a matter of fact, there are many people who have worked in the fine jewelry industry for years that cannot correctly identify colored gemstones, I have worked with many. Identification first starts with a clean stone under a 10x gemscope. The color(s) throughout the stone and the type of inclusions offer a hint of what the stone may be. Another test using a Refractometer, which tests the gemstones ability to slow down or bend light, also aids in the id. Without getting to technical, the amount of slowing down of light it does is referred to as the Refractive Index (RI). The RI along with what was found, and not found, in the gemscope can lead to an identification. There are several other tests that a gemstone could undergo in determining what it is, but again, to keep this from getting to technical, we will just stay with these two tests as they are the most important.

In order to complete the requirements for a Colored Gemstone Graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America, the final exam is to correctly identify twenty gemstones. A very taunting task I assure you. Let’s have some fun and see if you can pass a three stone test.  From the three color groups below, pick out a Ruby, a Sapphire, and an Emerald.

Which is the Ruby?






Which is the Sapphire?

blue-sapphireblue-spinel kyanite





Which is the Emerald?






Left to Right:                                                                                                Red: Ruby, Pyrope Garnet, Red Diamond                                                  Blue: Sapphire, Blue Spinel, Kyanite                                                       Green: Chrome Diopside, Emerald, Tsavorite Garnet

So how did you do? Pyrope Garnet, Blue Spinel, Kyanite, and Tsavorite Garnets can be found in numerous pieces of fine jewelry, usually only found in specialty/designer fine jewelry stores. A Red Diamond is extremely rare and you will probably only see one in photos. Chrome Diopside is great for the look of an Emerald but at a much lower price, however it is not commonly used.

If you are looking for a particular piece of jewelry, unless you really want a specific stone, you may want to be open minded about what Mother Nature has to offer. After all, not all blue stones are Sapphires and not all Sapphires are blue!

Treatments for Colored Gemstones

In today’s technically advanced world, all of us should be aware of exactly what we are purchasing in the gemstone world. Treatments, synthetics, and imitations can easily look like the real thing! Consumers need to know about treatments because they can easily affect the price of the gemstone and would also determine how a jewelry piece would be repaired or re-sized. I am going to discuss the different treatments so you know about them, but at the same time keep the amount of science down to a minimum (for both of our sanities)!

A treatment in colored gemstones is defined as any human-controlled process beyond cutting and polishing, that improves the appearance, durability, or value of a gem grown by Mother Nature. A treated gemstone is not a synthetic or an imitation. Those are completely ‘grown’ by man in a lab, Mother Nature had nothing to do with it. There are those that say a synthetic could be defined as “real” because it has the same chemical structure as a real gemstone, but it all goes back to the fact that they were developed by man, therefore they are synthetics. So please be aware of this whenever you are shopping for colored gemstones and yes, thanks to new technology, now even diamonds.

Any reputable and ethical dealer should disclose this information to you willingly. However I would go under the assumption that the colored gemstone you are looking at is most likely treated in some form, which may or may not be known. I have heard (but could not verify) that the amount of treated colored gemstones in the marketplace today could be as high as 80% – 95%!  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the framework of industry ethics. If you are interested in reading the full description by the US FTC, you will find it in Section 23.22 entitled “Disclosure of Treatments to Gemstones”.

There are ten types of gemstone treatments:

1: Bleaching

A treatment that uses chemicals to lighten or remove color. Cultured pearls are commonly bleached to remove dark spots and produce a uniform color.

2: Cavity Filling

Treatment that fills and seals voids to improve appearance and add weight. This treatment is often found in rubies.

3: Colorless Impregnation

Filling of pores or other openings with melted wax, resin, polymer, or plastic to improve appearance, luster and stability. Commonly used in turquoise and jadeite. Dye could be added to the filler. This would be considered two treatments, impregnation and dyeing.

4: Dyeing

A treatment that adds color or affects color by deepening it, making it more-even, or changing it. Like bleaching, dyeing is done mostly to porous gems such as jadeite, coral, and cultured pearls.

5: Fracture (Fissure) Filling

Using a filler to conceal fractures and improve the apparent clarity of a gem. The fillers include plastic, glass, polymer resins, and oils (Canadian balsam, cedarwood, and palm oil). Emeralds almost always have fracture filling as well as rubies. Due to this type of treatment, whenever having a repair done to a piece of jewelry with an emerald or ruby, always insist on the jeweler using no heat. I would even go so far as to have “no heat” written on the repair ticket. Also if a jeweler offers to clean that piece of jewelry, again insist on no heat. Most ultrasonic cleaners that jewelers use are heated.

6: Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is one of the oldest and most common of treatments. Heat treated gems were found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian kings. Heat treatment is exposing a gem to rising temperatures for the purpose of changing it’s appearance, usually color.

7: Irradiation

Exposing a gem to radiation to change or improve the color of the gem, however it is possible for the new color to revert back to the original color. Sapphires and tourmalines are likely candidates for irradiation.

8: Lattice Diffusion

The penetration of certain elements into the atomic lattice of a gemstone during heat treatment, with the objective of changing or accentuating its color.

9: Sugar and Smoke Treatments

Used on opals to bring out the play-of-color (the multiple colors usually found inside opals), sugar treatment is soaking an opal in a hot sugar solution and then sulfuric acid to deepen the color of the opal. Smoke treatment is heating a wrapped opal until smoke or ash penetrates the surface to darken the color of the opal. Of these two processes, sugar treatment is the most common. (FYI, it is a good idea to soak your opals in distilled water every once-in-a-while so they do not lose their moisture which then leads to damage.)

10: Surface Modification

Altering a gem’s appearance by applying backings, coatings, or coloring agents. The three basic methods are backing, coating, and painting. Backings to gems include silver or gold foils, fabric, paper and even colored feathers. Backings have fallen from fashion and are not commonly seen in gemstones, but are often used in costume jewelry. One gemstone that we do commonly see today that has a backing is mystic topaz. Since heat can often melt the backing, mystic topaz should not be exposed to heat. Coatings include wax, varnish, plastic, ink, and metallic compounds. Painting gem materials is another ancient practice from the Renaissance period (1300’s – 1500’s). Painting was obviously done with paint, but also ink, and nail polish.

As I am sure you have noticed, treatments are used to improve the color, clarity, and durability of a gem. Treatments are not a bad thing. Because of treatments, lesser gems can be treated to become beautiful gems and at a more affordable price, making them available to more people. If it were not for treatments, the industry would be limited to the supply of naturally created gemstones beautiful and durable enough to use as gems. In that case, the mighty and the rich would be the only ones to own them.

Gem Lady Treasures proudly uses natural gemstones, but that is not to say that at times we would use a treated gem. For example, in my quest for locating turquoise, I am looking for a turquoise that has been treated for stabilization (but not color) because it is a notoriously unstable gemstone. Of course, we would disclose the treatment.

I hope that you found this article helpful, interesting, and maybe even eye-opening. If you are interested in even more detailed information on treatments, Click Here to access “An Introduction to Gem Treatments” from GIA. Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a world renown institute known for its research, education, and ethics in the field of gemology.

*Information for this article was provided by “Colored Stone Essentials” by GIA (11/2008).

The Humanization Trend of Dogs

Do you actually LIKE being woken up to a cold nose in the morning?

Do you home cook meals or bake treats for your dog(s)?

Do you refer to your dog(s) as fur babies?

Do you purchase coats, sweaters, dresses, or outfits for your dog(s)?

Do you have more pictures of your dog(s) on your phone than family?

If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, then I have news for you, you are a Crazy Dog Person, and you are not alone! Announced by the 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association survey, 54.4 million households in America – 44% – own atleast one dog.

Young families are waiting longer to have children and instead are adopting dogs, hence Fur Babies!

In an article written by Roberto A. Ferdman, he says that “it could just be a coincidence that Americans are birthing fewer babies at the same time as they’re buying a lot more … dogs. But there’s pretty good reason to believe it isn’t, Damian Shore, an analyst at market-research firm Euromonitor, told Quartz. ‘There’s definitely some replacement happening there,’ he said.”

“One telling sign that the two are not entirely unrelated is that the same age groups that are forgoing motherhood are leading the dog charge. ‘Women are not only having fewer children, but are also getting married later. There are more single and unmarried women in their late 20s and early 30s, which also happens to be the demographic that buys the most dogs,’ Shore said.”

“There’s also evidence people are treating their dogs a bit more like little humans these days. Premium dog food, the most expensive kind, has grown by 170% over the past 15 years, and now accounts for 57% of the overall dog food market.”

According to an article written for Bloomberg Business Week by Ben Crair on August 18, 2015, he stated that “family sizes are shrinking, pet owners no longer treat their animals as property but as children, pampering them with products and services that would have once seemed ridiculous: bottled water, gluten-free kibble, doggy diapers, designer beds. The ‘humanization’ trend has benefited more than just animals. The U.S. pet industry has more than tripled over the past 20 years and pet care was one of the few retail industries to grow during the Great Recession.”

According to an article in Consumer Affairs by Sarah D. Young on August 15, 2016, “Americans spent upwards of $60 billion on pet products last year, and that number is expected to climb by $2 billion this year.”

Ms. Young continues by saying that “dropping dough isn’t the only way we show love to our favorite felines and prized pooches. A pet parent’s love can often be seen in what they would be willing to do for their dog or cat.”

The website  recently set out to see just how far pet owners would go for their pets. In a survey, 2,000 dog and cat owners were asked what they would sacrifice for their pet’s health and happiness. As it turns out, the better question might have been, ‘What wouldn’t a pet owner do for their pet?’

The results of the survey showed that pet parents would do just about anything for their cat or dog, even if it meant giving up a big part of their life. Sixty-three percent of participants said they would choose their pet over a significant other. What else would pet parents be willing to give up for their pets? Here are some more interesting findings from Adobo’s infographic:

89% would save their pet in a fire over a priceless family heirloom

85% would starve for a day so their pet could eat

78% would give up their favorite food if it meant their pet could live forever

58% would rather keep their pet and live in a shack than give up their pet for their dream home

54% would lose a finger so their pet could keep a limb

Pets are furry bundles of love and loyalty, and pet parents want nothing more than to return some of that devotion.

I personally have always treated my dogs as fur babies. For those that say they are dogs not kids, I can unequivocally state that like children; I provide my kids with a roof over their head, food in their belly’s, and a comfy bed to sleep in. I teach them right from wrong, I take care of their health needs, and most of all, I give them all the love that I have.

I am a Dog Mom and proud of it!




What You Wanted To Know About Gemstones But Were Afraid To Ask: All About Color!

There is so much information available for those who want to learn about diamonds, but not a lot about colored diamonds and colored gemstones. Did you know that a round brilliant cut white (clear) diamond is graded differently than a round brilliant cut colored diamond? When looking at diamonds for the purpose of buying, the Four C’s (Clarity, Cut, Color, and Carat) come into play. The most important ‘C’ depends upon the person looking at the diamond, what they like to see in a diamond. When it comes to a colored diamond, the most important ‘C’ is color, color is everything!

When a cutter is given a rough white diamond, it is carefully looked at to determine what shape it should be cut into, to save as much weight of the material as possible. When a colored diamond is cut, bringing out the color is the ultimate goal, even if it comes to forfeiting some weight to achieve that goal. Cutting colored gemstones is the same as cutting colored diamonds, sacrifices will be made to achieve the best color possible.

When scientists and gemologists look at color, they view it with three things in mind; hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the first impression of an objects basic color. Tone is the degree of lightness or darkness of a color, and Saturation is the intensity or strength of the color. In the fine jewelry industry, color quality and gem value are inseparable. Each gemstone is given a color range that is acceptable. For example the green color range for an emerald and the green color range for a peridot will be completely different due to the chemical makeup of the gemstone. Without going into all the detailed science behind colored gemstones, color in a gemstone is determined by what chemical(s) was introduced to the crystal when it was growing. Nitrogen will cause a diamond to be yellow, but not a sapphire to be yellow, that would be iron.

This is just a highlight on the intense subject of color. I didn’t even get into the complicated subject of color treatments. What matters to you, the consumer, is what YOU are looking for in a colored gemstone ~ buy what you like. Even though I am aware that the highest color value in a tanzanite is a deep purplish-blue, I purchased a pair of pale violet-blue tanzanite’s to accent an aquamarine I have. The more vivid color would have been to harsh next to the sea blue of the aquamarine.

Hopefully this will help you begin to understand why prices on colored gemstones are all over the place. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or you can check out The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is world-renown for it’s education and research in the field of gemology.

Colored Gemstones
Colored Gemstones

Gemstone Dog Collars Verses Dog Jewelry




These adorable little fur babies all have the same doggy necklace on. For fun, like in the magazines, who is wearing it the best?

I will be the first to admit that dogs wearing jewelry are adorable, but I will admit there is a strong practical side of me.

Whenever I see a picture of a dog wearing a piece of dog jewelry they are usually not wearing a collar. I do understand that some pet parents don’t keep collars on their fur babies all the time, but there are a lot who do. I do because if my fur baby Nathan ever got away from me, I want him to have his ID tag on so hopefully with the help of someone, he can find his way home to me. Another reason is that it is really easy to clip a leash onto a collar but not a doggy necklace. They are just not made strong enough to control a dog through the use of a leash. I have also seen warning tags on doggy jewelry to not leave the jewelry on the dog when the dog is alone, choking could be a dangerous issue.

I made doggy necklaces for my Dalmatian Mix Lady Lacy Marie, however hers were always worn with the collar that she had. The reason for this was that I could not locate a fun ‘Princess’ collar in her size. They were all made for XSmall or Small dogs of which she was not.

Gem Lady Treasures created our Unique, Handmade Leather and Natural Gemstone Dog Collars for many of these reasons. Our beautiful collars use real natural gemstones unlike most dog necklaces. The natural gemstones are securely attached to our collars by hand sewing and knotting. Nathan has been wearing his Natural Poppy Jasper collar for nine months now and not one gemstone has even come loose. Double dee rings provide room for attaching a leash and tags without crowding. In addition, there is no danger for choking!

Gem Lady Treasures Gemstone Dog Collars are also made in all sizes, XSmall to XLarge plus have the benefit of being Unisex. Boys as well as girls can wear them! Please click on the link above to see all of our fabulous collars.

Building Nathan’s New Bed

I know, I know, I have been talking about this fabulous bed that I am building for Nathan forever. My poor fur baby, it was supposed to be his Christmas present, then Valentines present. He has been such a good sport about it, napping in it when he can. The current status is that despite my best efforts and advice from the guy at Home Depot, it is not turning out as it should.

I painted the legs and attached them to the bottom of the bed, they turned out great! It was really pretty simple and so I had hopes that the rest of the bed would be as well. Silly Me! That was the last thing that went well. Originally I was going to miter the sides of the bed, but quickly eliminated that idea because my miter box was to small to make the proper cuts. Using L brackets I attached the backboard and then the side boards. Problem is that the side boards do not meet up cleanly with the backboard, there is a triangular gap (whine!). They are cut straight, but I am wondering if the wood is warped or something. I’m really unsure as to what I should do about it.  I could leave them that way and change the way I was going to decorate the bed. Instead do something to either hide the issues or make them part of the décor. Of course both sides have different issues!

I did get the pillows done and Nathan now has his own teddy bear. He doesn’t really play with his teddy bear, but each night he carries his teddy bear into the bedroom, and everyday he carries it outside. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to rescue that silly bear from the sprinklers!!!

Only time will tell how this project will end up!!!

Bed Leg
Bed Leg

Nathan Napping
Nathan Napping


How a Gem Lady Treasures Collar is Made

Probably the biggest misconception about our collars is that we purchase leather dog collars and then add on the gemstones. However convenient that would be, it simply would not give us the tight quality control that we like to have on our product. I order strips of a high quality belt leather in a natural color. Two different widths are used; a five-eights inch for the xsmall & small and a one inch width for the medium, large, & xlarge.

For the collar, I take the leather strips and first cut them to the length I need. I then bevel the edges, both top and bottom. The reason is that it is more comfortable for the dog plus it is a nice finishing edge detail. Holes are then punched into the leather for the buckle to use and for assembling the collar. There is also a wrap around piece of leather that needs to be cut, beveled, and holes punched. This wrap around piece is how the buckle is attached to the collar. At this point if the leather is to be dyed black, that is done all by hand. Even when wearing gloves my hands always have a significant amount of black dye on them afterwards! Some comes off with major scrubbing and polish remover, but it usually takes several days for my hands to be back to normal! After dying and drying for 24 hours, the leather is then buffed by hand and a sealant is put on. This is then allowed to dry for at least 12 hours.

Beveling Edges
Beveling Edges

Punching Holes
Punching Holes






When completely dry, I use a leather stamp to stamp the size of the collar onto the wrap around piece. I also stamp my makers mark “GLT” (Gem Lady Treasures) onto the tongue of the belt. Here again care is needed when using the stamps. I have a Wedium instead of a Medium as proof! Now the assembly begins with hardware that is all nickel plated solid steel. The roller buckle is placed into the middle of the wrap around piece, being careful that the side stamped with the size is to the back side. Once again I learned this the hard way! The end of the collar is placed in-between the wrap and a rivet is hammered into place. The first dee ring is placed in-between the top of the wrap and the collar piece and then another rivet is hammered into place through all three layers. The second dee ring is added and the final rivet is hammered home. At this point, what I refer to as a ‘blank’ is completed. A blank is a collar that is ready to be stoned. I try to keep a number of sizes in blanks in both the natural and black colors on hand. That way when an order comes in, and I don’t all ready have one made, all I have to do is add the customers desired stones. By doing this I can ship out the order as fast as possible so the customer does not have to wait long for their purchase.

Not that the process up to now is not fun, but it is at this point where I can see the final dog collar coming together. When I first added the gemstones to the collars, I did a ton of measuring, converting inches (collar width) to millimeters (bead size) and back. Making sure all of my math was correct I used a quilting ruler to mark where I needed to place my needle punches. The major lesson I learned here was that despite using calibrated stones, no matter how many times I measured, how accurately I measured, and how accurately I converted my numbers, the layout was always off in some manner. I finally learned to use the actual stones themselves when measuring. By laying them out in the pattern I desired, I was able to place my needle punches in accurately. This is such a crucial part because once a punch is made, it is there forever. A needle will not go through the leather without a hole made for it. The needle punch is much smaller than a hole punch, only large enough for a needle and thread to go through the leather. If a mistake is made at this point, it is a costly mistake. After all, you have the investment of the materials and labor into a piece that is no longer useable. I have a few of these ‘very exceptional’ collars – (NOT) hanging in a special location in my workroom. I keep thinking that at some point in the future I will be able to figure out a way to use them!

Needle Punches
Needle Punches

Stoning in Progress
Stoning in Progress





We currently have two Collections for our collars. The In The Ruff Collection uses Crazy Lace Agate, Dalmatian Jasper, Labradorite, Sodalite, and Unakite. The Haute Dog Collection uses Amethyst, Apatite, Aquamarine, Carnelian, Moonstone, Rose Quarts, and Ruby Zoisite. Each of the two collections has its own design. In The Ruff has the oval gemstones laying horizontal whereas the Haute Dog Collection has the oval gemstones laying vertical. I decided on this to help separate the two collections and give my customers options. Whichever design I am using, the process is basically the same. For the Haute Dog Collection, I do a backstitch on the back of the collar and add a drop of adhesive to secure the backstitch. Then I pull the needle and thread through the needle hole, place in a knot (much like you would see on a pearl necklace), add a natural gemstone bead, place another knot and then down the next needle hole. I do not tie off after each bead is placed in because then the back of the collar would look messy with starts and stops of the thread and dots of adhesive. For the In The Ruff Collection, after securing the thread on the back, I come up through the needle punch hole, add a natural gemstone bead and then go back down the next hole. I come up again in the next hole and then place a knot. The natural gemstone bead is then added and the process is continued. In this layout, the knots are placed in-between each bead. Another thing that I should mention is that when stitching on the natural gemstone beads, the tension in the thread is very important! The thread needs to be as tight as possible so that the gemstones are on the collar as tightly as possible. This ensures that the gemstones won’t get caught on anything and accidently pulled off. After a quality control check our unique, handmade leather and natural gemstone dog collar is complete.

As you can clearly see, our Gem Lady Treasures Dog Collars are labor intensive and created with lots of love, and yes, blood, sweat, laughes and tears. Depending on which gemstones are used, they all have their own personalities. I sincerely hope that there is one in either of the collections that will suit you and your Fur Baby. If not, let us know so we can find the perfect gemstone just for you!!!

The Hope Diamond and A Dog Named Mike

Gemstones have been cherished for thousands of years. There are gemstones that have been known since ancient times and there are gemstones that were discovered less than 50 years ago. Gemstones have been found in tombs dating back Before Christ, found in royal collections, found in buried ruins, found in streams, and found deep within the earth. Why do we love them so? There are so many reasons why; historical interest, family heirlooms, birthstones, metaphysical properties, color, worth, or even ‘just because’.

Examples of historical interest would be the Hope Diamond and the Black Prince’s Ruby in England’s Crown Jewels. The Hope Diamond started with Louis XIV in France. Then it was known as the French Blue. Over the centuries it was stolen and cut and stolen again and re-cut. One of the first American’s to own the Hope Diamond was Evalyn Walsh McLean. McLean was a very flamboyant lady who often lent the Hope Diamond “to friends to wear, including her Great Dane, Mike”!* In the English Crown Jewels, the Imperial State Crown has many significant gemstones on it, but the Black Prince’s Ruby is actually not a Ruby at all! In the beginning it was thought to be a Ruby, but after testing it turns out to actually be a Red Spinel. To this day it is still referred to as a Ruby.

Hope DiamondBlack Princes' Ruby (Spinel)

A majority of families have a piece of jewelry that has been handed down over the years. Most likely the ladies engagement ring and/or the wedding band. Some recipients have the piece re-designed to make it more contemporary, like the fashion of the day. Others keep them as is, as more of a keepsake. Many people wear gemstone jewelry because it was given to them as a gift, they bought it for themselves because they liked it, it has their birthstone in it, the stone is their favorite color, or they are suffering from a aliment and believe the metaphysical properties could help relieve that aliment. But why should a dog wear a gemstone collar? Let’s take a look at our families.

Reports are showing that young couples today are waiting to have children and are having fur babies instead. Yes, fur babies. They are named that for a reason. As any dog lover knows, the dog is an essential part of the family, no longer the family pet. Not just to young families, but to all families and the dogs are becoming even more spoiled than they ever have been. Didn’t know that was possible right? Society changes all the time and what do they change? The easiest changes to note are the current fashions that are worn. We are now wearing computers on our wrists, arms, or legs. We were not doing that 50 years ago. Dogs were not wearing gemstone collars 50 years ago, but they also were not referred to as fur babies 50 years ago.

Our fur babies should wear these collars for the very same reasons why we wear gemstones. As a gift for the dogs unconditional love, to be unique and stand out in a crowd, the color looks great on them, or it is their birthstone (or adoption stone). They can even wear it for the metaphysical properties!

When you really think about it, is there really a reason dogs shouldn’t wear a gemstone collar? I think not!

* Gemological Institute of America, Diamond Essentials, Version 11/2008, chapter 3, page 13.