Thanks to so many Gem Lady Treasures admirers who asked us to create additional products, we have been busy at work! I am happy to say that we have added three new products with many selections of each. There are bottle stoppers, keychains, and bookmarks ~ all at great prices!
There are two different bottle stoppers, one at 4 1/4″ tall and the other at 5″ tall. Just what every dog lover, gemstone lover, and wine lover needs! Our bottle stoppers come in a variety of looks. Made from silver-plated zinc with durable silicone gaskets, they will look great crowning any wine or champagne bottle! They do meet USDA food grade standards and should only be hand washed. We have used natural gemstone beads, glass beads, ceramic dog bone beads, and an antique silver-plated paw print charm.
Our new key chains are so much fun! Whether it be the mailbox key, the pool key, or your spare house or car keys, they will easily be spotted with these unique keychains attached to them. By the way, did you know that they would also look great dangling from your favorite handbag strap?
We also have added a few great bookmarks. The shepherds hook style bookmark is 3 1/2″ in length and cast from a lead-free zinc alloy. Whether it be a text book, a casual reading book, or a coffee table book, show your personality with these fabulous and unique bookmarks!
On Monday I started my new job. When I left for work Nathan had no idea that this was about to become a daily habit. When I returned home, he was very happy that Mommy was home! I noticed that he had napped in bed all day and that he had re-arranged all six pillows.
The second day he hesitated in taking his ‘cookie’ when I left for work. Again when I returned home he was very excited and yes, more pillows had been re-arranged to his liking.
On the third day, it was all I could do to get him to take his ‘cookie’ when I left for work, only to find when I got home that he had not eaten it all day long. His way of letting me know that he is not happy with this new schedule. The re-arrangement of pillows has now become a daily routine. I have a feeling that he is no longer arranging the pillows for his comfort, but as a way to deal with his frustration that Mommy wasn’t home.
I will admit that Nathan is not the only one dealing with separation anxiety. It is so hard to leave those big, brown, beautiful and adoring eyes! Like all parents do, I have taken a picture of him to work and it is sitting on my desk. The cute one of him sticking his head out of the sunroof the day I adopted him. It brings a smile to my face by just looking at it and remembering that special day. I just wish a picture of me would help him through the day.
Two more days of this and the weekend will be here. I can all ready tell you that the two of us will be spending both days, all day, together, as it should be!
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.
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!
We currently have two Collections for our collars. The In The RuffCollection 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!!!
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.
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.