Newsflash: Diamonds used to be a girl’s best friend, but now man’s best friends are wearing them, too.
The current trend in expensive real jewelry for pets from doggie diamonds and pearls to items featuring a myriad of semi-precious stones has pet lovers digging deep into their pockets to purchase trinkets to fill Fifi’s jewelry box.
When exactly were rough diamonds re-cut and polished to become diamonds in the ruff?
“Buying jewelry for your pet is a natural progression in our relationship with our furry friends,” says Carmina O’Connor chief jewelry designer for Oscar Newman of Chicago, Illinois. “Pets have become very important family members and as more pet owners see them as an extensions of themselves, it follows that the well-dressed pooch or doted-upon feline will be spoilt with bejeweled accessories.”
The 2006 Oscar Newman Collection focuses on silver trinkets studded with seed pearls and Swarovski crystals in popular pastels that mimic semi-precious stones like pink tourmalines, ice blue topaz and peridot.
O’Connor predicts that delicate anklets on a soft flexible cord to be the next hot item for pets.
She concedes that purchases are mainly for small dogs; nevertheless they have also custom designed for Basset Hounds, Salukis, Bulldogs and St. Bernards as well as a variety of glamour pusses and states that about 40 per cent of their annual turnover relates to jewelry.
Pet parents who indulge in some of the latest designs from the Fancy Bones Collection produced by King Jewelers in Aventura, Florida would be well advised to list these items on their insurance policies.
King Jewelers is a well-established name in the retail and manufacturing world where all that glitters is real gold and precious stones. Their foray into the luxury pet jewelry market started as a project to benefit the Humane Society of Greater Miami and continues to support this cause.
The company has had great success with 14 K white gold bones encrusted with diamonds with a flat plate on the back for engraving information. While recommended for smaller dogs, it has a special hook attachment that locks it on to any sized collar.
“We’re very realistic,” says company spokesman David King, whose most expensive piece of diamond and gold pet jewelry to date costs around $12 000. “Personal jewelry is subject to daily wear and tear, so imagine what pet jewelry looks like when a pet sports it everyday. It is a difficult process to make something both beautiful and durable. Once an initial design is completed, I attach one to my 100-lb Boxer’s collar and another to my neighbor’s 140-lb Rottweiler and let them play outside. It only takes 5 minutes to realize if a product is engineered properly and exactly how durable it is.”
Fancy Bones also offers a lifetime annual refinishing service for all its pet products.
Joyce Pessel is the owner and creative designer of Fuzzeface. She is a third-generation jewelry designer whose family has created for prestigious names like Harry Winston, Tiffany and Van Cleef and Arpels.
Her jewelry line consists of collars, pins, charms, necklaces and bracelets adaptable for people, dogs, cats and equine friends. Price varies according to the whether the piece is gold or silver and also according to the quality of diamonds or semi-precious stones incorporated. She also uses cubic zirconium.
Based in Boca Raton, Florida, Pessel launched Fuzzeface in 2003 combining her pet passions for jewelry and animals and admits that movies like Legally Blonde and celebrities like Paris Hilton have helped focus the spotlight on jeweled accessories.
“Pet owners are definitely buying the same jewelry to match their pets,” says Kim Walker owner of the upscale Teacups and Puppies Boutiques in Hollywood and Aventura, Florida.
“The Fuzzeface signature piece, the Boca Bone, is very popular. I get stopped at least once a day when I wear mine.
“The Zola Bella range of turquoise and pearl jewelry by Danielle Russo of Plantation, Florida, is stylish for both feline and canine wearers,” confirms Walker. “And gold-plated birthstone charms are also hot.”
Walker also has private jewelry designers create special pieces for her clients like a delicate diamante chain with pavé encrusted hearts that looks good on both dogs and cats.
Matching pet and people jewelry is definitely becoming a trend. Designers like Lisa Welch of Lisa Welch Designs in Dayton, Ohio are launching whole collections around this concept.
Welch works well with semi-precious stones combining colors like citrines with coral and pink tourmalines with amethysts. One of her popular designs is a 14 k gold fire hydrant sporting a diamond or a semi precious stone.
Since introducing her first range at the end of 2004, Welch hasn’t looked back. Her collection includes bracelets, rings and pendants. While people are buying pieces to match their pets, she confirms that currently most of the clientele are dogs.
No pet jewelry box is complete without pearls.
Susan Smith, owner of Bone Appetit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and the on-line retail store Classy Pets, reports great success amongst the Pet Set with simple pearl necklaces with sterling silver clasps.
Different colored pearl strands like pink and grey offer versatility by being intertwined and worn together.
Laura Thompson Temple of Fifiany and Co of Society Hill in Philadelphia mixes freshwater and sea green pearls together with little with gold accents and a jade centerpiece that offers a glamorous touch for both people and their pets.
Necklaces in beaded semi-precious stones that feature a variety of colors are designed to co-ordinate with her collection of designer coats, hats and scarf ensembles. Her double-stranded necklaces featuring pearls and crystals are particularly popular with cat-owners.
“When it comes to jewelry, safety is a major objective,” says Thompson Temple. “It’s our policy to discourage pet-owners from buying beaded designs if they have more than one pet as boisterous play not only destroys the pieces but could be harmful if swallowed. Instead, I recommend embellished collars where the beads are flat and sewn directly on to the collar.”
Rhinestone collars that mimic tennis bracelets are very trendy for both dogs and cats along with collars adorned with Swarovski crystal letters spelling the wearer’s name. While military-styled dog tags are reverting back to their original canine wearers worn as collar charms.
Sparkly treasures also make popular hair accessories. Bejeweled barrettes, clips and pony-tail holders are fashionable glitz items for long-haired breeds. Naturally the wear ability of this type of jeweled accessory depends very much of the temperament of the wearer.
Jewelry of course makes a great gift for birthdays and special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day (for people and pets) and Christmas. But generally pet parents don’t really need a reason to shop and retailers report a lot of impulse trinket buying below the $100 price tag.
Typical of many pet owners interested in buying jewelry for their fur kids, canine couturier Kara Kono of Miami, Florida has purchased fancy charms for her Pomeranian Rizzo “on a whim”.
“She also has a string of genuine pearls that work well with her extensive wardrobe but she definitely needs more sparkle in her life,” says the fashion forward Kono.
After all, jewelry, whether purchased by a pet owner for themselves or for their pets, is considered “a feel-good gift”. And, as actress Elizabeth Taylor and the late Duchess of Windsor, the former Mrs. Wallace Simpson have proved, it’s impossible to ever have too much…