One way I would have liked to have celebrated the hard work of exclusively pumping for my first baby is getting a piece of breast milk jewelry. (The first time I heard of it, it sounded kind of strange, but after looking at some of them, I think a lot of the pieces are really beautiful!) After my son was born, exclusive pumping was a huge part of my identity as a new mom. I think that part of this was the amount of time that exclusive pumping takes, and part of it was the complex emotions that I had around exclusive pumping – a combination of guilt that I wasn’t able to nurse and pride that I managed to stick with pumping for so long.
So what is breast milk jewelry, exactly? Breast milk artists can make necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets that include some sort of centerpiece made from a mother’s breast milk. Usually, the artist will use about two tablespoons of breast milk, which is mixed with chemicals to harden and then blended with resin so that it can be shaped into jewelry.
I asked Kristen Hallman from Precious Relics Jewelry for more information about how breast milk jewelry is made, and she was kind enough to answer my questions!
Do I have to worry about my baby trying to eat my necklace?
Your child will not be able to smell the breast milk. It is chemically preserved and dried to stabilize its unique color, turned into a fine powder, and then suspended as a pigment in jewelers grade art resin.
Most pieces are also coated with a permanent UV resistant gloss coating, so breast milk powder is never exposed to the air, and will not give off any scent.
What gave you the idea to start making breast milk jewelry?
I am certainly not the first artist to start creating breast milk jewelry. As I was nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey with my fourth and last child, I decided I wanted to get a piece of breast milk jewelry created to commemorate my journey. As I was shopping around different small DNA jewelry businesses, there was one thing in common; they were all prohibitively expensive.
I have prior training in jewelry design, and I am certified in food preservation, so I put my mind to work to figure out how to create my own. After a lot of trial and error, I found a way that works very well, and I successfully created my own keepsakes.
A few friends saw what I could do and wanted me to make keepsakes for them, and it just took off from there. I created this business with the goal to provide beautiful, unique, quality and affordable breast milk and DNA jewelry to all, not just to a people that could afford to spend $300 on a piece.
Where does the term “inclusion jewelry” come from, and what does it mean?
The definition of inclusion is, “a body or particle recognizably distinct from the substance in which it is embedded.”
I was not the one to coin this term for breast milk keepsake jewelry, but it describes each person’s own unique biological addition to the jewelry resin that encapsulates it.
How is breast milk jewelry made?
Here is a detailed explanation of what I do with the breast milk that is sent to me.
For me, the coolest part of the process of preserving breast milk is how beautifully unique each person’s milk turns out. The process makes for truly one-of-a-kind pieces.
How long is breast milk jewelry expected to last?
With proper care, as outlined on my website, these pieces should last indefinitely. I cannot wait to pass on my personal pieces to my daughters.
This post was updated on 4/1/18; winner is named in the last comment.References
- Hallman, Kristen. “The Process.” https://www.preciousrelicsjewelry.com/the-process/
- Interview with Kristen Hallman, Precious Relics Jewelry, conducted 3/11/18.