Jewelry honoring mothers has been around for ages. It comes in many different forms, from lockets containing baby pictures and nameplate necklaces to initials-engraved jewelry and birthstone push presents. For some, however, all the aforementioned gifts fall short of capturing the true nature of motherhood. Enter breastmilk jewelry. A type of keepsake jewelry, these pieces serve as beautiful reminders of a mother’s breastfeeding journey that she can cherish forever.
Read on for all the information you need on breast milk jewelry, from how it’s made to how to care for it.
Breastmilk jewelry is made from a woman’s own breast milk. It resembles opal due to its milky hue and might be mistaken for the gemstone by an ordinary passerby. The color of a breast milk ‘stone’ can be white or ivory. This is determined by the color of the breast milk sample and the pigment it’s set in (i.e., a pure-white pigment can make the milk appear lighter). For more of that opalescent glow, some companies will let you add silver or gold shimmer powders to the milk. Others allow you to send in your own personal inclusions. This may include organic matter such as placenta or umbilical cord powder, dried flowers, hair, or even cremation ashes.
While breast milk jewelry is nothing new, more and more people are starting to discover the trend due to the increasing number of brands that now specialize in making these cherished mementos.
Deciding how best to nourish your growing infant can be life-altering, regardless of whether you formula-feed, breastfeed, or do a combination of both. It will take up a significant portion of your life, and the journey is not always a smooth one. It takes perseverance and commitment, and sometimes having a tangible reminder of your love and dedication can help you push through the days that make you question everything.
Once you reach the weaning stage, you might encounter feelings of loss or grief (even if you’re prepared for it). Breastmilk jewelry can also serve as a reminder of the special bond between you and your baby and the memories of those soft and cuddly feeding sessions. It can also be a way for a mother to honor and celebrate the life of an infant who has passed.
Although every breast milk jewelry vendor has their own means of collecting the milk and crafting your chosen piece, the process is generally the same. It involves sending a small amount of your breast milk in a breast milk storage bag or another sterilized container to be preserved and crafted into a beautiful piece of jewelry. Pay careful attention to the labeling instructions provided by the company to ensure that the correct sample gets shipped back to you.
Once the jewelry maker has received your breast milk, they can begin the preserving process. There are several ways of preserving breast milk, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. One common method is freeze-drying. This involves freezing the milk and then dehydrating it to remove all the moisture. The freeze-dried breast milk is then ground into a fine powder before being mixed with resin to create your tailormade ring, necklace, or pendant. One of the advantages of freeze-drying is that it preserves the breast milk without using heat, which can compromise the proteins and enzymes in the milk, possibly leading to discoloration.
The price of a piece typically depends on the brand and the type of materials used to craft it. You’ll find that most pieces start at around $100, with prices increasing up to $700 or more. Pieces on the higher end of the price range are typically heirloom-quality, featuring solid gold or diamond accents. Due to the personal nature of breast milk jewelry, most pieces are non-returnable.
If you absolutely love the idea of breast milk jewelry but would rather take a more ‘hands-on’ approach, a DIY breast milk jewelry kit can be a fantastic option. Not only are these kits more affordable but they also save you the trouble of having to package and send your breast milk to the vendor. You also won’t have to wait weeks or months for your treasured piece to arrive. As a bonus, you can be 100 percent certain that the piece actually contains your breast milk.
When breast milk is preserved correctly, it won’t go moldy or change color over time. However, taking good care of your breast milk jewelry will also ensure that it remains in good condition for many years to come. Here are some tips for maintaining your breast milk jewelry:
If you follow these tips, or the care instructions that come with your piece, you can keep your breast milk jewelry looking as good as the day you received it!
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