Barks and Bling

Dogs donning diamonds are a girl's best friend this weekend at the International Gem & Jewelry Show. Featuring the largest selection of fine jewelry, watches, beads, precious and semiprecious gemstones, crystals, gold, and sterling silver, the show has some bling for the whole family, even the dog. "There's a gem collar for dogs," says Arnold Duke, president of the International Gem & Jewelry Show Inc. "One has a fourteen-karat gold charm with diamonds on both sides." Duke also handcrafted a diamond-encrusted fish skeleton pendant that would make a purrrfect gift for one lucky kitty. Sure, it may seem a little excessive, but people love to pamper their pets, and proceeds from the sale of the pendants, in addition to one dollar from each paid admission, will be donated to the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

One of the weekend's highlights is the Pet Fashion Show hosted by actress and jewelry designer Loretta Swit. Best known for her role as Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on M*A*S*H, Swit has recently been seen in Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues (insert "Hot Lips" joke here) and is a vegetarian who is active with several animal rights groups, including Hooved Animal Rescue Protection Society and the Humane Society of the United States.

Duke says the idea of incorporating our furry companions into the jewelry show came to him as he relaxed on Lincoln Road. "I noticed how many people brought their pets shopping with them and I thought it would be fun to do something with jewelry and pets." Duke has a menagerie himself (three dogs, two cats, and two birds) and is excited to partner with the Humane Society for the show. "We thought this would be a fun way to help them raise money and help get these lovable pets adopted." The adoptable models panting and strutting on the catwalk (or dogwalk) will sport sparkling collars, tiaras, and pendants, as well as cute outfits provided by clothing sponsor And when you adopt a dapper dog or chic cat, you are also adopting the baubles on their bodies, says Duke.

Even if you're not a pet person, you can still pick up a new friend for your wrist or neck. "There's something for everyone," says Duke. "You can find 25-cent rocks for the kids to million-dollar pieces of fine jewelry. You can find costume jewelry, beads, pearls ... and if you're a bead person, there will be hundreds of thousands of strands priced from one dollar a strand to thousands." Still not finding exactly what you're looking for? Duke points out that with jewelers, gem miners, and manufacturers right on-site, you can choose your gemstones and settings and have an expert jeweler create your piece while you wait -- or while you continue to shop for matching earrings.

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Lyssa Oberkreser
Contact: Lyssa Oberkreser