The Story Behind Breastmilk JewelryAnna
A little weird? Maybe.
Incredibly meaningful and beautiful? Definitely.
Read on to discover the story behind breastmilk jewelry—how it started, who buys it, and why. Because we at KeepsakeMom are so passionate about what we do, we love sharing how breastmilk stones are made, how every mother’s milk is different, and how these differences give rise to the unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that we craft expertly by hand.
What Is Breastmilk Jewelry?
Breastmilk jewelry is a baby keepsake, a symbol of the intimacy of the breastfeeding bond between you and your child, and a celebration of the amazing feat that you’ve accomplished as a mother.
Our pieces fit into a long tradition both of jewelry celebrating motherhood and of baby keepsakes, from locks of hair and lost teeth to baby blankets and first shoes. Whether it’s a treat for yourself or a gift for a loved one, our breastmilk jewelry cements a moment in time that will pass all too soon. At KeepsakeMom, we pride ourselves on creating unique and personal pieces that become beautiful symbols of an even more beautiful experience. Each one is a treasure that you will not only cherish for the rest of your life, but that you will also be able to pass down to your children.
From pretty pendants to distinctive rings, elegant earrings, and charming bracelets, our handcrafted jewelry incorporates resin stones or centerpieces created from your actual breast milk. Resembling a white opal in appearance, each breastmilk stone is personalized and completely unique, serving as an irreplaceable keepsake of the closeness between mother and child, a celebration of your love and dedication, and a lovely reminder that the bond between you and your child will never truly end.
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Why Breastmilk Jewelry?
Breastmilk jewelry allows nursing mothers to celebrate their “breastfeeding journey,” serving as mementos of the determination and hard work that breastfeeding requires—and representing the emotional closeness and bonding that breastfeeding nurtures.
Whether you nurse or pump, our jewelry helps mothers celebrate their “breastfeeding journey” by providing mementos not only of the hard—and often painful—work that breastfeeding requires, but also of the emotional bond that it creates and fosters. It is immensely satisfying to watch your baby grow both physically and emotionally, and to know that this growth is directly because of you. Breastmilk jewelry is a remarkable way to remember this accomplishment and what it took, while celebrating the lasting bond that the two of you share.
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But Isn’t This a Little Weird?
When we tell people that we make breastmilk jewelry, they typically react in one of two ways: they either love it, or they think it’s strange.
We get it. Many of us instinctively see breastmilk jewelry as a powerful symbol of an amazing experience. To others, however, it might seem weird or even “yucky.” Some people tell us that it’s not for them, and we can respect that. But for the many who do appreciate the sentiment behind it, breastmilk jewelry becomes an enduring reminder of a beautiful, all-too-fleeting experience. It encapsulates an emotional, even primal, connection and tells a story of deep significance. And due to our meticulous process, it is as hygienic and worry-free as any other piece of jewelry you might own.
“The gold flakes suspended in the milky white stone is a beautiful combination. And even more beautiful is the meaning behind the piece. Thank you!”
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Who Buys Breastmilk Jewelry?
Whether it’s a gift from husband to wife, from mother to mother, or from mother to child, or whether it’s a precious memento of a lost life, each of our pieces captures a singular time that all too quickly slips away. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to create timeless, customized pieces that can be handed down to future generations.
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When Did This Start?
It started for us six years ago, but the origins of breastmilk jewelry date back almost twenty years, to an innovative woman on the east coast who combined cured breast milk with acrylic resin to create the first breastmilk stones.
When I (Anna) was first exposed to the idea of making baby keepsake jewelry from breast milk, I was fascinated. I was breastfeeding at the time, and, as a nursing mother, I understood the profound significance of breastfeeding—as well as its sometimes unexpected challenges.
Energized by a sense of curiosity and wonder, I started experimenting with my own milk, reducing it, trying different techniques to neutralize it, and mixing and casting the dried milk with acrylic resin to create our now-signature breastmilk stones. Through trial and error, I perfected the breastmilk curing process and soon began crafting beautiful breastmilk jewelry, individually and by hand, for myself—and then, through word of mouth, for friends and acquaintances.
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It’s a Personal Journey
Breastmilk jewelry symbolizes the uniqueness of your breastfeeding experience with your child through each one-of-a-kind stone. It is a lovely and deeply meaningful way to commemorate this time in your life.
Breastfeeding is an extremely personal process that is specific to every individual mother and child. No two children nurse on the same schedule. Some babies take to the process easily, while others require more patience. One mother may have an abundance of milk, while another’s supply may dry up overnight. At KeepsakeMom, we recognize that each experience is unique, and that all experiences deserve to be remembered, honored, and celebrated.
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The Uniqueness of Your Breastmilk Stone
Every mother’s milk is different, and it’s these differences that make your breastmilk stone and piece of jewelry so unique and personal.
The color, density, and hue of each mother’s milk is different. Some breast milk contains more protein, which makes the milk whiter and gives your breastmilk stone or centerpiece a brighter, whiter color. Some milk has a higher fat content, giving it a richer quality and lending your piece a creamier appearance. If your milk is more watery, it may yield a stone or centerpiece with a lighter, more translucent look. And if the milk is high in sugar, the breastmilk stone or centerpiece might well look denser and more opaque.
The continual adjustments that your body makes are nothing short of extraordinary, and each of these qualities is reflected in the final pieces of jewelry that we create.
The composition of your breast milk also depends on the particular stage of your breastfeeding. When you first start to produce milk for your newborn child, it is high in fat and protein. As your baby grows, the composition of your milk changes with your child’s changing needs. Then, as you start feeding your baby solid foods, your breast milk becomes more watery, containing less protein since your baby is now getting that protein elsewhere. Even during a single feeding, the earlier milk is a little more watery when compared to the milk that comes a few minutes later, when it is richer in protein. In a sense, this allows your baby to “drink” before he or she “eats”.
After we cure and dry each individual mother’s breast milk, we turn it into a powder that reflects the same hues and colors as the original milk. That’s why your individual breastmilk stone may come out a slightly different shade of white than the color of the pieces you see when you place your order. You may even see some “specks” in your stone from the heavier proteins in your milk. All these little variations are what makes your breastmilk piece so unique and personal, and showcasing them is one of our favorite parts of this entire process. No two pieces are ever the same.
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Adding Inclusions and Creating Custom Jewelry
Inclusions are little things that you can add to your breastmilk jewelry stone to further personalize your piece. They can include color tints, shimmers or shines, gold or silver flakes, and even a lock of your baby’s hair. And whether you combine several different inclusions or add just one, they are the ultimate way to customize any order.
One of the most common inclusions is birth color, which we base principally on birthstone colors. From warm, deep red, the color of garnet and the birthstone for January, to icy blue, the color of aquamarine and the birthstone for March, birthstone colors and tints add significance and beauty to any piece of breastmilk jewelry. It’s also fun to choose a color simply because it appeals to you, and sky blue and blush pink are popular choices as well.
FLAKES AND SHIMMERS
If you’d rather keep things neutral, you might want to experiment with other inclusions like gold or silver flakes. Gold flakes are a great idea if you wear predominantly gold jewelry, while silver flakes are ideal for silver lovers. To give you even more choices, we offer gold flakes in both yellow and rose gold, always using 24K gold that won’t tarnish or degrade over time.
Opalizing your breastmilk stone gives it the pale, milky appearance of an opal. This effect plays on soft flecks of color and, when seen in the sun, highlights all the colors of the rainbow in gorgeous pastel tones. We have to admit that we can’t get enough of this inclusion—in fact, it might even be our personal favorite.
Including pearl powder, or a pearl-like gleam, gives your breastmilk jewelry a shimmery finish. This is a popular option for pearl-shaped stones and is a lovely way to add shine without masking the authentic look of the breast milk itself.
LOCKS OF HAIR
To further personalize your piece, you can also include a lock of your baby’s hair. This works best in pendants and beads, and just a few strands will make any piece extra special.
Finally, we can add your baby’s name, birth date, or a small message on larger breastmilk stones in a font of your choice. The options are unlimited!
In short, because we know how personal any piece of jewelry can be, we offer as many ways to personalize and add relevance to your breastmilk jewelry as possible—even beyond the breast milk itself. And you, as the designer, are the one who gets to shape and create the breastmilk stone that best reflects your own style, taste, and personality.
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Handcrafted Jewelry and Imperfections
Handcrafted jewelry is unique. It reflects the intimacy that we as jewelers have with every piece we create, showcasing the energy and passion that we put into making each individual piece by hand.
Because we create each piece of our breastmilk jewelry by hand and don’t rely on machines or mass production, the imperfections inherent in handcrafted jewelry are part of its one-of-a-kind beauty and charm. For example, you may see a few tiny bubbles in your breastmilk stone, an edge that isn’t perfectly symmetrical, or gold or silver flakes that aren’t distributed within your stone completely evenly. Such quirks add to the organic and thoroughly unique beauty of each piece, with every variation contributing to your breastmilk jewelry’s depth and character. Each piece we craft has its own story, and no two pieces are ever alike.
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How Is Breastmilk Jewelry Made?
Making quality breastmilk jewelry is a craft that requires skill, tooling, the right curing method, and a keen understanding of—and experience with—acrylic resin jewelry making.
For starters, we don’t rush the process, and we work only with the finest products to create breastmilk jewelry that is both beautiful and durable. We strive to make pieces that you will enjoy, and we want you to admire each keepsake’s beauty as well as everything it embodies: your determination, your sacrifice, and your achievement, along with the unbreakable bond that you share with your baby.
When preparing to actually make a piece of breastmilk jewelry, our first step is to cure your milk and turn it into a fine, dry powder. To do this, we start with two tablespoons of your breast milk and add trace amounts of a natural preservative to help inhibit enzymatic activity and to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. We then gently reduce the milk until the breast milk becomes a paste.
After transferring the paste to a sealed, airtight commercial desiccator, we dry the milk over the course of two weeks or so. Though it requires patience, this slow and deliberate drying process is a critical step in keeping your milk free from bacteria and other contaminants, since improperly cured milk can turn your stone a deep brown color and compromise both its appearance and its durability.
Once the milk has dried into larger flakes, we grind it by hand with a small mortar and pestle in order to get the fine, powdery consistency that we need for the acrylic resin casting process.
To turn your breast milk into a stone, we blend your powdered milk with clear acrylic resin of the highest quality, which we cast in a silicone mold. It’s at this blending stage that we add inclusions to your piece, like color, shimmer, gold or silver flakes, a lock of your baby’s hair, or even script. And we don’t use all your dried milk. We deliberately process a surplus and store it in a carefully labeled container in order to safeguard against flaws in the final piece, or against any pieces that get lost in delivery. We also keep the cured milk on hand in case you decide to order additional pieces down the road.
Once your breastmilk stone is cast, it takes about twelve hours to dry and harden. After we remove the stone from the mold, we inspect it for quality and add a transparent protective coating in order to help protect it from UV radiation. We then set your finished breastmilk stone into a ring, bail, back, or mount, depending on the particular piece of jewelry you have requested. Finally, we inspect the finished creation one last time to make sure that your beautiful, one-of-a-kind keepsake is ready to be packaged securely and shipped to your door.
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The Ordering Process
Because we want to make it as easy as possible for you to design your own unique piece of breastmilk jewelry, we’ve kept our process simple.
CHOOSE YOUR DESIGN
All you need to do is choose just the right piece—one that reflects your personal style and the bond that you share with your baby—and we’ll take care of the rest. And whether you fall in love with one of our inspired designs or create a custom piece from scratch, your breastmilk jewelry will always be absolutely specific to you and your baby.
RETURN YOUR BREASTMILK KIT
When you place your order, we will send you a breastmilk kit containing a labeled, leakproof storage bag, a set of instructions, and a padded, prepaid return envelope so that shipping is free. Just add your milk and drop the envelope in the mailbox. It’s that easy.
TREASURE YOUR JEWELRY
Since each piece we make is customized and crafted completely by hand, it will take approximately six weeks for your jewelry to arrive. But before you know it, your beautiful jewelry will be at your doorstep, providing you with a lasting keepsake of your breastfeeding accomplishment and a celebration of the lasting bond between you and your child. Cherish your beautiful breastmilk jewelry and wear it—with love, with pride, and with joy.
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How Do I Care for My Breastmilk Jewelry?
As with any piece of fine jewelry, it is important to treat your breastmilk jewelry with care.
We encourage you to store your jewelry in the soft bag that we provide with each purchase, to keep the bag in a dark, cool place, and to avoid excessively humid environments. Whenever possible, avoid exposing your jewelry to prolonged, direct sunlight or extreme temperature fluctuations as well, and always remove your jewelry before tanning or using a sauna.
We also recommend removing your breastmilk jewelry before you bathe or shower, before you wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer, and before you go swimming. The buildup of residue and chemicals from your water supply or swimming pool can dull the sheen of your breastmilk stone over time.
When needed, clean your breastmilk jewelry using cool water and mild soap, avoiding jewelry cleaners and harsh chemicals. Alcohol, while useful for cleaning the metal parts of jewelry, can potentially damage the surface of your breastmilk jewelry stone, and it’s best to avoid exposure to perfume as well, since it is often alcohol-based. If contact with chemicals or even oils from your skin do dull the luster of your breastmilk stone, simply polish it with a soft, clean rag to restore its shine.
In addition, your breastmilk stone will be extremely hard, but this does not mean that it will be scratch-proof. Sharp edges can scratch the surface of your stone, so be mindful of your jewelry when handling abrasive items, and take care when layering your jewelry, as rubbing can cause unintentional wear.
Finally, with all that being said, please don’t let any of these precautions stop you from wearing—and enjoying—your breastmilk jewelry piece. If you treat it carefully, your jewelry will easily last long enough to keep and pass down, and you and your children will be able to cherish it for decades to come.
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The Best for Last
So what now?
Well, first, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to learn the story behind breastmilk jewelry. These hows and whys are what got us into this whole adventure in the first place, and they are what continue to fuel our passion and keep us excited about what we do every day. And although we’re most likely just a tiny bit biased, we can’t help but feel that each piece of breastmilk jewelry really is the perfect combination of beauty and meaning, reflecting every mother’s deeply personal experience through a universal symbol of love and connection.
In the end, all of us here at KeepsakeMom feel incredibly lucky to be spending our days helping fellow mothers preserve such an amazing time in their lives, and we can’t wait to partner with you in creating your own unique keepsake. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!