Jewelry for a Purr-pose

Award-winning jewelry designer Marie Scarpa, best known for her intricate, hand-woven pieces, has a new “pet project.” A consummate cat lover, she’s created a limited-edition collection of fine-jewelry pieces that incorporate the naturally shed whiskers of nonendangered wildcats.

Scarpa, of Petaluma, Calif., has joined forces with Leopards, Etc., an organization that raises awareness and funds to help preserve endangered wildcats from extinction. She got the idea to use shed whiskers in her jewelry last summer.

“After seeing these magnificent animals and hearing their plight, I had to get involved. . . . I’ve got six domestic cats at home, and I’m always picking up shed whiskers, so I thought big cats must shed them, too.”

Big cats do occasionally shed whiskers, and these are incorporated in Scarpa’s collection. Prices range from $300 to $1,500. All proceeds will go to the Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund.

Rob and Barbara Dicely, owners of Leopards, Etc. (, have been working with wildcats for over 20 years. They have fostered more than 80 cats and currently have 24 rescued wildcats on their 22-acre compound.

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