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!

 

 

 

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

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!!!