Sniffing out a good piece of jewelry is not always an easy task but one company is leaving it to the dogs.
Luxe Design, a Vancouver-based jewelry company, has created a truly unique line of canine-inspired pieces made from the impression of your beloved pooch's nose.
"The nose has so much detail," says Joanne Hart, owner of Luxe Design. "It's really like a fingerprint for your pets."
Hart says the idea came from fingerprint jewelry in which a mould is taken of a finger and impressions are made from that to create wearable pieces.
"This is just a really fun way to sort of promote that same idea except with the pet lovers," she says. "We do a lot of pet memorial jewelry and pet celebration jewelry for the people that don't have kids and their pets are their babies."
Hart says the techniques are very similar and the imprint can be done from the comfort of your own home using a mail-in kit from the company.
"For the customer, it takes less than a second to take the imprint of the nose, that's pretty simple," she says. "It's made from a rubber, it's a compound that comes in two parts and you mix it together and you can take an impression of anything."
The rubber hardens very quickly, explains Hart, so time is of the essence for taking the impression. And of course timing can also be important when dealing with certain types of dogs.
"All dogs are different, they all have different personalities," says Hart. "As long as you're quick and just get in there and get out. I prefer if the pet owner does it, but I will do it here."
The kit is then sent back to Hart and from there clay is used to reproduce the original mould.
"The rest of it takes a little more time because once I have the impression from that I can do the reproduction of the nose."
It's then fired and becomes solid sterling silver, which Hart can then attach different findings to, such as a pendant, key ring or cufflinks.
"The techniques that we use to bring out the detail in some of our personalized jewelry is the same way you bring out the detail in the nose," says Hart. "It's an oxidized finish and then we do a matte finish over it. It's a really unique print from the dog."
Hart has been making the pieces for the past four or five months and says she has had orders from all over the Lower Mainland, including the North Shore.
"They're very unusual. I think people just think its fun," says Hart. "It's a strange looking piece of jewelry at first, you can't tell what it is."
She says she showed it to her friends and once they recognized it, they were excited about the concept.
"I have a bunch of friends who needed to do it immediately for their pets," says Hart. "I have some mad dog-loving friends."
Since they do a lot of women's jewelry, she says this might appeal to men as well.
"Its kind of a quirky thing," Hart says. "Its kind of nice for the men to have the key ring or the impression of their pet too."
Hart says she mails the moulds back to the owners after she's done, giving them the option to have more jewelry made in the future.
"I can make as many pendants from one impression as possible," she says.
"Once we have one impression, you could do the whole series of stuff and the price goes down."
The prices for each piece run from $180 for the plain pendant to $200 for the cufflinks. Hart says for each additional nose, there is a cost of $50.
The impressions do shrink a bit, she says, and of course the sizes vary depending on the dog.
"If someone has a giant dog, we might need a little extra rubber for the mould and a little extra clay," says the designer.
To purchase a kit, visit luxe-design.com.
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