Diamonds for dogs: Meet the jeweler who created this £755,000 dog collar

Now is definitely a good time to be a wealthy owner’s dog, as the consumption of luxury and designer pet products has seen a significant boom in recent years.

It’s incredibly rare these days to come across an international designer brand that doesn’t sell a range of pet-related products – from Gucci’s £1,750 pet bowls to Louis’ dog carriers. Vuitton at €2,816, pet parents are certainly looking to pamper their pooches.

So if you yourself are looking for a luxury diamond necklace for your four-legged friend, then Nathalie Knauf, the founder of Knauf Jewelery and Soho Poms, a luxury brand of shampoos and accessories for dogs, is your wife.

She recently showed off her latest lavish order – a flawless diamond dog collar with a paraíba tourmaline pear-shaped pendant, worth a staggering €755,000!

In addition to her professional life, Knauf supports the work of several dog charities and she recently became a proud ambassador for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

Euronews Culture caught up with the London-based canine entrepreneur to discuss the role dogs have played throughout her life and the ins and outs of her work.

Dogs have always played an important role throughout your life. In fact, your fondness for them was born from a dramatic incident in your childhood?

Yes, I was brought up with Italian mastiffs and when I was three years old myself, my father and my grandmother went for walks. I ran a little in the fields and picked flowers. As we were walking, a bicycle passed, grabbed me and drove off.

My dad realizing what had happened didn’t know what to do so he told the dog to grab the bike. Fortunately, the dog understood what was happening and started chasing after the bike. You can imagine these dogs are quite heavy, so when he jumped on the bike, everything flew off. I was stealing, the cyclist was stealing and the bike was broken.

When my father arrived, the cyclist said, “I thought the child was lost and he ran away.” So it was definitely an attempted kidnapping so I’m very lucky to still be here. My father didn’t tell my mother about the incident until three years later because he himself was so shocked.

How many dogs do you currently own?

I have 11 dogs right now. 11 Pomeranians, who I call the Soho Poms.

Soho Poms is also the name of your custom small dog clothing and accessories company. How did the idea for this brand come about?

The idea really started organically when I started buying a lot of products for my dogs. Leashes, harnesses, winter coats and beds, etc. However, a lot of the products broke pretty much after I bought them, which upset me because if you’re making that investment for 11 dogs, there’s a lot of money at stake.

So I said well, maybe I can do better. So I started creating. I also found a shampoo that is amazing for dogs’ coats and undercoats.

At the moment we are focusing more on small and medium sized dogs, but next year we will put more emphasis on the needs of larger dogs.

Graduated as an economic analyst, you then left the world of finance to launch Knauf Jewels with your husband in 2011. How did you get into the world of jewelry?

Originally I worked in finance so I had nothing to do with jewelry. But I always loved my grandmother’s jewelry collection and was fascinated by it.

Later, I got married and my husband started creating jewelry himself, which he sent to his family and friends. It started out as a hobby for him, but he started to realize he was selling a lot of it, so he asked me if I wanted to join him on this project.

So I said ok but I will have to learn it and figure out what it is. I left my job and went back to studying gemology for three years, while developing the business. Now I create 60% of everything we do, so I’m completely involved.

Have you recently been commissioned by a client to make a diamond dog collar worth €650,000?

Yes, I have been asked to do a project before from a client in London who wanted something to match their own necklaces and earrings. So I came up with the idea and created this piece myself.

Of course, it’s a luxury, but luxury for some people has no limits. This is definitely the most expensive dog item I have ever made. Even I don’t own such expensive jewelry.

Where do you find the most fulfillment in your work?

Whether it’s jewelry or dog accessories, or now diamonds for dogs, I think what’s most satisfying is seeing people wearing and using my designs and having good returns.

‘Oh I used your shampoo it was amazing we loved it. I also used it on my hair. Can I buy another bottle?’.

I think that’s the most satisfying. I think it’s the worst if you buy something and it’s just neglected in a corner somewhere. I think it’s sad.

You are now an ambassador of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and have pledged to donate and raise £100,000 to help fund his wellbeing initiatives – what work are they doing?

They do charity to try to help different projects. Some of them will be for dogs living on the streets, others for raising puppies or service dogs used in laboratories. I am therefore happy and honored to support this good cause.

Percentages of all my sales go to charity. It is a collaboration that we continue.

I can’t be more proud to support this because humans can speak for themselves when something is wrong, but animals can’t. And I think that’s why they need all of our help.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

I really want to take my Soho Poms business forward and just make it grow and grow. We want it to be the one stop shop for everything dog and human related, like the cute leggings you need in the morning to walk your dogs. We want to become the Amazon of the canine world.

Sarah C. Figueiredo