Gold: Smooch a Pooch for Charity & More

Dog Day Afternoon

The Southside Village Smooch-a-Pooch Stroll, now in its fourth year, is an annual opportunity for Belinda Coffrin, owner of ­Coffrin Jewelers in Sarasota, Fla., to raise money for the Humane Society of Sarasota County. The outdoor festival, organized by the Southside Village Business Association, takes place around Feb. 14. “We tried having it in March and April, but it was just too warm for the animals,” she says. “Plus, the name, Smooch-a-Pooch, just fits Valentine’s Day.”

Local businesses set up booths touting their wares, and the Humane Society drives in a van full of dogs, cats, and the occasional turtle, llama, or miniature horse—all of which are available for adoption. While funds are raised through raffles (Coffrin donated a sterling dog-bone bracelet this year) and a Smooch-a-Pooch booth—dog lovers pay $1 for sloppy puppy kisses—extra efforts from the jeweler raise even more money.

Coffrin solicits scrap metal (clasps and leftover resizing bits) year-round, ­donating the money collected after refining to the Humane Society. It may not produce a windfall—“each year we raise $1,000 to $2,000,” she concedes—but “those little pieces of gold add up.”

In 2011, she hosted a “Beauty and the Beast” contest, crowning one female and one male dog best-looking canine. (The prizes: 24k gold-covered Milk-Bone medals.) Owners registered their pups for free with Coffrin, who snapped their photos and inserted them into “cute dog-and-cat frames bought at the dollar store.” Each pic sold for $10.

All animals are welcome at Smooch-a-Pooch—even llamas!

To promote the Stroll, Coffrin hangs posters in her store and surrounding Southside shops. She runs an ad in the local paper a week in advance, notifies fans on Facebook, and sends a round of email invites to her customers. Next year she’ll step up efforts by tripling the number of emails. “We’ll do an email blast after Christmas then, again in early February, and once more the week before the event,” she says. “We’ll also do a better job promoting it afterwards.”

Universal Appeal

Earrings in 18k gold with 1.06 cts. t.w. diamonds; $7,800; FR Hueb, São Paulo; 55-11-3168-5871;

A pair of 18k gold circle-motif chandelier earrings from FR Hueb in São Paulo appears to be an international hit. The firm reports that two differently sized styles are going like gangbusters in Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. (To date, more than 100 pairs have sold worldwide, the majority in Brazil.) According to ­company owner Cristina Abdala, their popularity is likely due to the earrings’ widely appealing inspiration: geometric forms. “The main idea in the collection is to use circles, squares, and triangles in a way that the softness, movement, and femininity of the pieces are not compromised,” she explains.

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