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 Adobo.com  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!

 

 

 

Gemstones; The Beauty of Earth’s Treasures

When I was thinking about writing a blog on this particular subject, I asked several of my gemological friends what was their favorite gemstone and why. The responses I received were surprising. Only a few people were able to narrow it down to one gemstone.  Douglas Liebman, GG* and owner of an Estate Jewelry business claimed that Cats Eye Alexandrite was his favorite. “The reason being is that it combines the two most interesting phenomenon in gemstones; color change and chatoyancy (cats eye).”   Cornelis Hollander, Fine Jewelry Designer, favors Paraiba Tourmaline due to its “most beautiful neon green colors” he has ever seen.   Dana Hanna, owner of Scottsdale Sparkles admires Pink Tourmaline for its metaphysical properties. “The vibration of this lovely pink crystal brings an influx of love, joy and happiness into your life.” Everyone else had more than one. Shelly Sergent, Curator of Somewhere In The Rainbow, A Modern Gem & Jewelry Collection, stated that “I can’t answer that…impossible!!!” Shelly went on to say that she likes “bright or sultry gems that sing, dance and are sexy”.

Color Change Cat’s Eye Alexandrite
Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Pink Tourmaline
Pink Tourmaline

 

 

 

 

There were a couple that could narrow it down to a favorite gemstone to collect and a favorite gemstone for a piece of jewelry. William F. Ashford, ADM FGAA – Qualified Jeweller, Gemmologist, and Diamond Grader in Australia stated his favorite for jewelry was the classic diamond due to its “eternal beauty, durability and rarity”. As an Australian Gemmologist William chose Fine Precious Opal for a collection piece. It “exhibits full spectral colours rarely seen in any other natural gemstone”. Fellow Australian Donna Bollenhagen, Gemmologist and Diamond Grader, loves Tourmaline for jewelry and Rainbow Lattice Sunstone to collect. As far as collecting is concerned, Marc Allen Fleischer, GD, AJP* and Curator/Online Editor of Fleischer Museum prefers to collect specimens. His favorite specimens are the different varieties in the species of Tourmaline. Marc states that “Tourmaline is quite complex in its chemistry and is the last to crystallize in a cavity/pocket. That is how you get those wonderful color zones as the ‘soup’ of liquids and gases mix.” he further says that cutting a tourmaline loses the “termination and the striations that are observed in a natural crystal.”

Opal, Photo Courtesy of Craig Lynch
Opal, Photo Courtesy of Craig Lynch
Australian Rainbow Lattice Sunstone, Photo Courtesy of Donna Bollenhagen
Australian Rainbow Lattice Sunstone, Photo Courtesy of Donna Bollenhagen
Tourmaline Specimen, Photo Courtesy of Marc Allen Fleischer
Tourmaline Specimen, Photo Courtesy of Marc Allen Fleischer

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Lynch, GG* and Certified Insurance Appraiser is the owner of Ouellet & Lynch. He prefers to separate his favorites by color. “Red = Spinel, Green = Tsavorite (Garnet), Blue – Kashmir Sapphire, Orange – Spessartite (Garnet), Pink – Spinel, Pink/Orange – Padparadscha (Sapphire) or Topaz”. Whereas January Gaul, GG* favors gems with lots of color and movement in them such as Agates and Jaspers. I as well have two favorites, the first being Red Beryl. Red Beryl is a very rare gemstone which is principally mined in Utah, but there are also a couple of mines in New Mexico. It’s red color has been referred to as gooseberry red, carmine red, and scarlet red. My other favorite is Bi-color Imperial Topaz.

Padparadscha Sapphire
Padparadscha Sapphire
Agate
Agate
Rough Red Beryl
Rough Red Beryl

 

 

 

 

So what do you see when you study these photographs? I see gemstones with intense color, gemstones with two or more intense colors, and gemstones with phenomenon. All gemstones that Mother Nature creates are beautiful in their own right, but thanks to these gemological enthusiasts and professionals we have been exposed to some very special colored gemstones. Maybe next time when you visit a fine jewelry store, you may spend a little bit more time looking at them!

*GG: Graduate Gemologist degree Gemological Institute of America

*GD: Graduate Diamond degree Gemological Institute of America

*AJP: Accredited Jewelry Professional degree Gemological Institute of America

 

 

 

 

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 http://www.gia.edu/gem-encyclopedia. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is world-renown for it’s education and research in the field of gemology.

Colored Gemstones
Colored Gemstones

And The Transition Begins!

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.

Nathan's Adoption Day
Nathan’s Adoption 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!

A Major Change For Nathan

I took a two month leave of absence from my job under the Family Leave Act to help take care of my parents when my Dad fell and broke his hip. At that time I was working a commission only sales job of Fine & Fashion Jewelry at a major department store. When I went back to work, due to returns while I was gone, my sales were in the negative. Due to working commission only, this meant that I had to dig myself out of the negative before I could start earning money again. Needles to say I was not thrilled to be working for nothing, so I left. This gave me the opportunity to continue to help my parents.

During this time Lady Lacy Marie passed away, it was such a heart wrenching event for me. The house was so empty without the pitter patter of her paws and her silly antics that always kept me laughing. After two months, even though I was still grieving for Lacy, I just couldn’t stand the loneliness anymore. This was when Sir Nathan Asscher came into my life. Even though I still missed Lacy, the minute Nathan walked into the house it became a home again.

Nathan
Nathan

He loved the fact that I was home with him all day as I was just getting Gem Lady Treasures of the ground. He loves being right next to me all the time. He wants to be close enough so that some part of him is always touching me whether it be his paw or his back while he is napping. But times are changing.

After nine months of constantly being together, I start a new position working with Estate Jewelry as well as Loose Diamonds and Colored Gemstones next week. Due to this, Nathan is now going to be home alone several days a week. I know that he will eventually adjust, but being the doting Mother that I am, I want to make the adjustment period as easy as possible for him.

I plan on playing the radio while I am gone to give him some noise. I also thought I would leave some dirty clothes in his favorite napping spots so he will have my scent. Other than that I am not sure what to do for him. I have thought about getting him a brother or a sister, but I don’t know if he would like sharing me with another Fur Baby. If anyone has any other suggestions, please leave them in the comment section. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!

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
Stamping
Stamping

 

 

 

 

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!!!

What You Wanted To Know About Gemstones But Were Afraid to Ask!

Gemstones are those beautiful rocks or stones, gems that come from the earth. Yes, some are made in a laboratory by man, but I prefer the ones made by Mother Earth. To understand that they may have taken billions of years to get to the point they are when a miner extracts them from the ground, simply amazes me! Heat, cold, pressure, and all sorts of chemicals all play a role together to create these lovely baubles.

Without going into all of the science behind geology and gemology, we will stick to the simple basics about gemstones. All gemstones have a Species and a Variety. The Gem Species is a broad gem category based on chemical composition and crystal structure. The Gem Variety is a subcategory of the species based on color, transparency, or phenomenon. To translate, think of the Species being a Dog and the Variety would be a specific breed of dog. A different Species would be a Cat. Get it?

The Species Quartz is one of the most important minerals on earth and makes up one of the most popular gemstone groups in the world of colored gemstones. It is an attractive, durable, and inexpensive gemstone that can either be cut or carved into many forms and sizes. Quartz is the second most abundant mineral found in Earth’s continental crust, second only to Feldspar. A fascinating Variety of Quartz is Ametrine. Ametrine is the result when Amethyst and Citrine, both Varieties of Quartz, grow together into one crystal! Some other Varieties of Quartz include Carnelian, Rose Quartz and Smoky Quartz.

Four Peaks Amethyst
Four Peaks Amethyst
Ametrine Rough
Ametrine Rough
Citrine
Citrine

 

 

 

 

Carnelian
Carnelian
Rose Quartz Crystal
Rose Quartz Crystal
Smoky Quartz
Smoky Quartz

 

Gem Lady Treasures; Our Story

In April of 2015, the sweetest dog, Lady Lacy Marie went to Heaven. I was, and still am, head over heels in love with her. Even though I have always had dogs, there was something so very special about her. One month to the day of Lacy’s passing, I was talking to a good friend of mine and he asked me, “Why wasn’t I making gemstone dog collars?”. My professional life was in the fine jewelry industry and I have a love of colored gemstones, so this was a great question. Plus to create it in Lacy’s memory made it the perfect idea.

1798167_10201905627815621_1515577296_n   Lady Lacy Marie

Lacy had always loved jewelry like I did, but I could never find her cute, blingy collars that were well made in her size. Just because she wasn’t a small breed (she was a Dalmatian), didn’t mean that she didn’t want to be a Princess! I made her several necklaces that she could wear with her collar and she did receive many compliments on them, but somehow it still wasn’t exactly what we both wanted.

Sir Nathan Thomas (Dalmatian/Lab Mix) has come into my life and I am full of love for him as well. He is the model (when I can get him to hold still) and product tester for Gem Lady Treasures. As a matter of fact, he is still wearing the very first Gem Lady Treasures collar I made.

Sporting his new GLT Collar!   Sir Nathan Thomas

Gem Lady Treasures now has two main collections, In The Ruff and Haute Dog. In The Ruff uses gemstones such as Crazy Lacy Agate, Labradorite, Sodalite, Unakite, and of course Dalmatian Jasper. The Haute Dog Collection uses Amethyst, Apatite, Aquamarine, Carnelian, and Moonstone, Rose Quartz, and Ruby Zoisite. Our gemstones will constantly be changing depending on what is available. I always use natural gemstones, meaning that there are no treatments added by man. There may be an occasion when I will have a treated gemstone, however it will be noted in the item description for full disclosure.

Our dog collars are labor intensive, high quality, and full of love. Truly a new and unique product! Times have changed and our pets are now our fur babies. An entire new world has opened up for dogs and their parents. Gem Lady Treasures would love to be apart of that new, exciting world!

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