Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Precious and pampered pets love attention, and one way to help them get noticed is to festoon them with tasteful pieces of jewellery. Jewellery for pets is a newly revived trend begun by the ancient Egyptians whose hieroglyphs depict images of cats wearing necklaces--that reflects the emotional connections humans share with their companion animals. Here in the future, we do not worship our pets, but we come pretty close. More money is spent each year on pampering our furry family members than ever, so bestowing upon them handfuls of finely crafted jewellery is not as unusual as it would have seemed a few decades ago.
Before continuing, a word of caution about pet trinkets; they should only be worn with human supervision, and only temporarily. They are not meant for continuous wear. If the necklaces break, the beads and stringing material could become a choking hazard.
Pet jewellery can be made from anything in an existing stash of treasures, but it is really fun to have a shopping excursion and choose everything especially for your companion animal. Materials can be as fancy or rugged as you like. Colour schemes can contrast the animal's fur, match his eyes, coordinate with your home's decor or represent your pet's month of birth or adoption, just to list a few ideas.
When choosing beads, consider the animal that will be wearing the finished item. No matter which types of stash treasures are chosen, comfort should be the first rule when creating the jewellery. As beautiful as large gemstones can be, no one wants to wear a strand of big rocks around the neck, not even your Neapolitan Mastiff. That is not to say gemstones cannot be used, but care should be taken to ensure the finished piece is not too heavy.
Large dogs can, and probably should, wear large beads so the jewellery makes a stronger impact. Choose from wood, horn, resin, polymer clay and amber, as they are all lightweight materials. Cats and small dogs can wear smaller beads. Choose from the same materials listed for large dogs, as well as crystals, freshwater or glass pearls, pressed glass and E beads.
To construct pet jewellery, you must first decide whether or not you seek an elegant or sporty look, simple or complex. Pet jewellery can be as easy and classic looking as a Chanel-inspired chain run through with coloured ribbon, or as artistic as a freeform peyote collar with drop bead accents.
For a really simple project, use your pet's existing collar and create a pendant using a small crystal suspended from a headpin. Or, again, using the pet's existing collar, make a beaded bezel for a small cabochon or rivoli, and affix.
For something a bit more fancy, use a length of chain and a toggle clasp. Attach a pendant to the circular portion of the clasp. The focal can be simple or elaborate?whatever your taste. Attaching the amulet to a headpin, and the headpin to a lobster clasp, will enable you to change the charm to suit the day's mood or preference.
If you prefer something that looks more like an actual necklace rather than a decorated collar, cut a length of nylon coated, flexible bead wire, string the beads, and attach to a small length of chain. Use a lobster clasp. The chain and clasp provide multiple sizing options so more than one family pet may enjoy wearing the necklace.
Despite our affections and best efforts, sometimes a pet simply will not sit still long enough for us to put a collar around its neck. For these active darlings it can be helpful to use elastic cord. Simply slip over the pet's head and his new look is complete! Be sure to dot the cord's knot with superglue to help ensure it does not come undone. Before cutting the ends of the cord, run them through the beads on either side of the knot.
The possibilities for dressing up your pet are quite expansive, given the many styles and types of beads available these days. We may not have flying cars here in the future, but we do have oodles of gorgeous baubles, and your pet will look smashing in whatever you design.