Jewelry keepsakes that celebrate motherhood are definitely considered unique. There are many keepsakes commemorating the precious time spent between a mother and her newborn baby, and one among them is breastmilk jewelry. It is one such magical piece that celebrates the maternal bond with tons of emotions attached to it and quickly captures the essence of motherhood.
Breastmilk jewelry can normally last between 5-15 years. It can even last much beyond that under favorable conditions. The overall life of your jewelry would depend on a lot of factors. The preservation technique of the milk plays a vital role in determining the life of your breastmilk jewelry. The quality and thickness of the outer water-resistant resin are also crucial factors. Exposure to sun and moisture from outside can also degrade or destroy your jewelry. Additionally, proper care and maintenance of the jewelry is crucial for the longevity of the piece. Additionally, breastmilk jewelry may also suffer damage due to physical impact. Therefore, one must be cautious while wearing it if they want it to last longer. Apart from the stone, caring for the metal is imperative too as any tarnish or breakage in the metal can jeopardize the overall appeal of the jewelry.
While the idea of breastmilk jewelry may sound intriguing, you might have several questions in your mind regarding how this piece is made, will it last longer, or does it turn yellow overtime, and how to care for it. If so, then this article is for you. Read on to discover the lifetime of breastmilk jewelry and the ways to preserve it safely.
What is breastmilk jewelry? Is it for real?
Yes, breastmilk jewelry is for real. As its name suggests, it is jewelry made using breastmilk. It contains a unique stone made from breast milk which denotes the bond between a mother and her child. The one thing which is universal for all breastmilk gemstones is their uniqueness. No two breastmilk stones are alike because no two mothers’ breast milk is the same. The quality of these jewelry studs makes them phenomenal pieces to adorn.
With the fast paced and challenging lives that we live today, for a mother, breastfeeding not only offers fulfilment, but is also a huge achievement. A piece of breastmilk jewelry can be the award they truly deserve. What can be more magical than adorning the gorgeous piece, which symbolizes the emotional bond she shared with her child since day one. Breastmilk jewelry can immortalize those memories in the form of a jewelry piece that anyone can cherish.
What makes it special?
Breastmilk jewelry is unique and there a lot of factors that make it amazing. Some of them are:
- An award: Just like athletes win medals, a mother deserves a piece of jewelry to reward her! wears , who has been a part of the marathon of pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood. The best part is, she can wear it everyday!
- A keepsake: It holds the memories of your entire journey. The journey, is always unique and only those who go through it truly understand it. The mother and the child share this special bond whose memories last a lifetime. Even after years, you and your baby can cherish the memories through this amazing piece of jewelry.
- Opening communication options: Some people show genuine interest and truly appreciate the jewelry the mother is wearing. This offer the mother an opportunity to talk to people about her journey into breastfeeding and motherhood.
How is breastmilk jewelry made?
While different custom jewelry makers may follow different techniques and preservation methods, the core procedure is more or less common. To make breastmilk jewelry, milk is first collected and preserved. It is normally dried and turned into powdered form. Post the milk is preserved and stabilized, a resin (normally epoxy or UV) is added to it. Now it is dried to form a stone which is molded into different custom shapes. This stone can be set into different jewelry items. It can be set into pendants, chokers, rings, bracelets, earrings or anything else you can imagine. Custom inclusions may also be added based on personal choice. To know more on the making of breastmilk jewelry, check out our detailed article here.
Apart from jewelry, a lot of people are also going for photo frames that feature a stone made out of breastmilk. Other keepsakes may also be added to these photo frames to further customize them. Some individuals also like to add them to frames that have their baby’s hand and foot imprints. Other items like fridge magnets and keychains are also popular.
Can you use spoiled breastmilk for jewelry?
Yes, absolutely. The milk that may have spoiled or isn’t fresh is still useful for making breast milk jewelry. Since the breast milk doesn’t have to be consumed and is required for a jewelry piece, you can even use spoiled or old breastmilk, provided it is not moldy.
So, if you are a mother who is concerned about using spoiled breast milk for jewelry, worry not and get your precious gemstone carved soon. Cherish those wonderful moments of life again with your breastmilk jewelry for a lifetime.
What all can be added or included in the breastmilk stone?
Different manufacturers that produce breastmilk jewelry also add other keepsakes to it. E.g., some individuals like including their baby’s first tooth in the jewelry, while others like getting their hair added to it. It is not always keepsakes, but other items can also be added to make the jewelry more appealing. The following are common:
- Child’s handprint or footprint
- A patch from their clothes or any other fabric you want to preserve
- Encryption of baby name, initials of parents and the baby, date of birth, birth weight, or a customized message
- Gold flakes
- Silver flakes
- Pearl powder
- Baby’s hair
- Dried Umbilical cord
- Baby tooth
- Tint of birth color
Why does breastmilk jewelry have specks or blemishes?
Each naturally occurring gemstone may have inclusions and sometimes this is the test of the gemstone being natural. Artificially crafted ones are normally immaculate and issue free, but not real! All gemstones from diamonds to pearls have inclusions. Similarly, breastmilk jewelry also has inclusions.
- Presence of bubbles: As milk is a natural substance, during the crafting of jewelry, it may develop bubbles. This is because milk is dried and the flakes are then powdered. This powder is used to form the gemstone. During the hardening process, sometimes, air gets trapped in it. This can sometimes be visible on the surface of your gemstone.
- Powder lumps: As we just mentioned that breastmilk jewelry is made from powdered milk, it needs to be mixed with resin to turn it into a solid stone. The mixing process, if not done right, can lead to the presence of lumps of milk powders. These can be seen as inclusions or marks on the gemstones.
- Presence of protein: While protein is normally present in milk, in scenarios when it is in higher proportion, your jewelry may have visible blemishes.
- Natural Solids in the milk: Naturally, breast milk sometimes has some solids present in it. This normally happens when the fat content of the milk is higher. These solids prevent the jewelry from having an even finish or sheen.
- Physical damage: If you have been wearing your jewelry for a while now, it may develop some dents or blemishes. This is because the stone made from breastmilk jewelry is not very heard. Just like pearls may develop dents, breastmilk jewelry can also develop dents if not cared for properly.
What are the different milk preservation techniques?
There are many milk preservation techniques, but the most common ones are:
- Freeze drying
- Vacuum drying
Freeze drying and vacuum drying are quite similar in process. The only key difference is, free water does not need to be frozen in vacuum drying. In Freeze drying, any free water must always be frozen.
Heat of sublimation is used as key factor
Heating at high temperature and cooling down instantly
|Substance must be frozen before the process can be started
|No prerequisite, all samples can be pasteurized
|Very cold (around -40 degree C)
|Heated at around 65 degree C and then cooled at 4 degree C
|Loss of activity
|Quality is retained
|Quality is retained
|Drying is done is 3 stages:
2. Primary drying
3. Secondary drying
|Spray drying is used, or else it is directly mixed with resin to form jewelry
Pasteurization primarily involves heating the milk to remove any bacteria o pathogens. It is then cold almost instantly to inhibit the growth of any organisms that may spoil it.
Freeze drying mostly uses a 2 phased drying process, where the first process primarily uses sublimation. The drying phases are:
- Primary drying: During primary drying, ice sublimation takes place. In sublimation, the frozen particles of water are directly converted into vapor form. Thus, removing or desorbing water from the milk.
- Secondary drying: In secondary drying, past drying takes place. It is also known as desorption or removal or remaining water. This happens under lower pressure.
Why does breastmilk jewelry turn yellow?
Breastmilk jewelry can turn yellow because of numerous reasons:
- Phase of lactation: The breastmilk can also be yellow even in transitional milk, the next milk stage post colostrum, for similar reasons. If you gave the breast milk sample towards quite a later stage of lactating, the high-fat content in your breastmilk corresponds to its color being yellow.
- Exposure to chemicals: The resin may discolor due to exposure to everyday chemicals that are present in soaps, cosmetics or cleaners. If your jewelry is not brand new and has eventually attained a yellowish tinge, the resin must be the reason. Over time, your once sparkling breastmilk jewelry would attain a dark brownish to yellowish hue due to the resin’s discoloration.
- Exposure to sunlight: The breast milk jewelry comprises stones made from breast milk and resin. The resin present in the stone is prone to discoloration on exposure to UV light. It can attain a darkish brown to yellow tone within hours or days of exposure.
- Preservation technique: Since different jewelers use different preservation techniques, the hue may slightly change based on the preservation technique used. It does not mean that the jewelry has gone bad, it just has changed color. E.g., if your jewelry is made using freeze dried preservation technique, the chances of discoloration are lower. On the contrary, for jewelry made using pasteurization preservation technique, the chances of the stone turning yellow are higher.
Does breastmilk jewelry ever go bad?
Yes, if the milk is not well preserved during the manufacturing process, the jewelry may go bad. Basically, the process of manufacturing a piece of breastmilk jewelry requires the breast milk sample to be made free from any harmful microbial activity. Without proper sterilization and sanitation conditions, your breastmilk jewelry piece would not last long. The preservation method plays a crucial role in this area. If the breastmilk is not well preserved, it may go bad. But in such a case, it will most likely do bad within 30-60 days. So ensure that your manufacturer covers warranty for about 90 days.
Having said that, just like any other piece of jewelry, breastmilk jewelry will also lose its original sheen and charm eventually. However, If you care properly for your beloved jewelry, it can comfortably last for years.
Is breastmilk jewelry durable?
Yes, jewelry made from breast milk is definitely durable, provided you take good care of it and follow the safety measures. Moreover, they are not as durable as natural gemstones and are delicate. So it is best to take care of it properly by avoiding contact with water, sun, or any other environmental factors.
Nonetheless, many manufacturers now produce breast milk stones that are free of disintegration, mold and are scratch-resistant. So, the durability also depends on the brand and their manufacturing process.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE JEWELRY'S LIFE
Primary factors that increase the life of your breastmilk jewelry are:
- The preservation method: We have discussed a few preservation methods. However, each manufacturer uses their own preservation method. Your manufacturer may be using a different procedure. While some methods ensure that your stone stays white, other preservation methods may not offer amazing results.
- The process: The life of the jewelry depends significantly on the process of manufacturing. Each step needs to be meticulously followed while maintaining sterilization and the right temperature and pressure conditions. Your breastmilk sample goes through the curing process. The viscous milk paste is then dried. The dried milk flakes go through grinding, which is mixed with acrylic resin.
- The protective layer: The stone is coated with resin as a last step before being cast into metal. This outer layer of resin plays a crucial role in keeping your breastmilk jewelry safe. If it is durable, scratch resistant and UV safe, your jewelry will have a longer life.
- The manufacturer: This makes it imperative to get your customized breastmilk jewelry from a renowned and trusted company. A renowned manufacturer cares about their market image. They would normally have set procedures and offer you great quality. Always look for reviews of the seller before making your decision. Checking on post purchase cleaning and maintenance services can also help you avoid any surprises later. Another thing to look out for is jewelry insurance provided by the manufacturer.
- Care while wearing: Stones made out of breastmilk are soft! You must always be mindful of that while wearing your jewelry. Accidently bumping your jewelry against hard surfaces or exposing it to even everyday chemicals may significantly impact it.
- Proper Storage: When in storage, your jewelry must be safe against sharp objects, moisture, harmful gases and chemicals among other things.
How long does breastmilk jewelry last?
It has the capability to last a lifetime and be a heirloom piece. As discussed previously, your customized breastmilk jewelry can last for years under proper care, provided it is from a reliable company. It will be in pristine condition if you take care of the points mentioned above during buying the jewelry as well as while wearing it.
However, nothing lasts forever. The same also applies to any jewelry piece. It may gradually lose its sheen.
Can you wear breastmilk jewelry in the sun?
A big NO! You must always refrain from wearing your breastmilk jewelry when out in the sun. There are three major reasons behind it:
- UV Rays: The UV rays are the worst enemy for your precious breastmilk jewelry piece. The resin used to form the breast milk stone, the focal point of your jewelry, is susceptible to discoloration due to UV rays. In just a few hours or days, your favorite and cherished piece can turn dark-brown to yellow.
- Heat: Excessive heat can damage the surface of your jewelry. Extended exposure may also alter shape.
- Sweat: Sweat and body oils are also enemies for your jewelry piece. When you are under the sun, your body produces more sweat and secrets more oil. They tend to tarnish and make not just breastmilk jewelry, but any jewelry loses its luster.
An advantage these days is the addition of UV stabilizers and HALS as a coating on the breastmilk stone. They slow down the yellowing process of the resin. The above factors not only impact the stone in the breastmilk jewelry, but also the metal since most metals are susceptible to damage under sun.
Can breastmilk jewelry get spoiled by perfume or moisturizers?
Yes. Seemingly harmless cosmetics like make-up, perfumes, and moisturizers can become the worst foes for your jewelry piece. Persistent exposure to perfumes, moisturizers and other everyday makeup products pose different types of threats to your jewelry.
- Moisture: Moisture from perfumes or lotions can start degrading the stone and even the metal of your jewelry.
- Chemicals: Any harsh chemical can spoil your well-cherished breast milk jewelry. Synthetic color dyes, fragrances, and ethanol can erode metal coatings as well as the luster.
- Oils: The essential oils can make your jewelry greasy over time. It may also increase the deposit of dust and grime on your jewelry. This not only makes the jewelry appear unkempt, but also eventually leads to its deterioration.
All these factors result in the jewelry, which once used to outshine brightly as a star, losing its original sparkle and strength.
BREASTMILK JEWELRY CARE AND STORAGE
How do I clean my breastmilk jewelry?
You can go for professional cleaning services from time to time. However, you can also clean you jewelry at home. To clean, normally, you can just use a muslin cloth to gently rub the piece of jewelry. If you need to go a step further, you can wash it with water. Be careful and only use mild cleaning process so as not to spoil the jewelry.
- Take room temperature water and pour it over your piece of jewelry
- Let the water drip away
- Use a muslin cloth to gently dry your jewelry. If needed apply gentle pressure.
- Let it rest in an airy place to allow the piece to dry.
- Never put breastmilk jewelry in ultrasonic jewelry cleaner
- Never sun-dry your breastmilk jewelry piece. Also, limit its exposure to a bare minimum.
- Do not use alcohol or alcohol-based products for your breastmilk jewelry cleaning. It may lead to loss of shine and gloss.
How do I care for my breastmilk jewelry?
When wearing the piece of jewelry, you need to avoid the following:
- Operating heavy machines
- Showering and shampooing
- Using perfumes
- Applying oils
- Wearing fragrances
- Wearing lotions or makeup around jewelry
- Washing hands (if wearing rings or bracelets)
- Going out in the sun
- Exposing it to sweat
- Exposure to heat
- Blows against hard objects or surfaces
- Exposure to sharp objects
- Sleeping with jewelry
- Exposure to moisture
- Stepping into Sauna
- Going on a beach or exposing it to sand
- Exposure to chemicals of any type
How do I safely store my breastmilk jewelry?
While I would always recommend wearing your breastmilk jewelry, but there may be instances where you would want to store them temporarily for short or long term. Since by now we know that moisture, sunlight, heat and chemicals are your jewelry’s foes. We need to ensure limiting exposure to them. Therefore, the following need to be ensured when the jewelry is in storage.
- The storage bag or box is air-tight
- The bag or box is lined with soft cloth in order to avoid damage due to the rough inside surface.
- Ensure that the jewelry is stored in a cool dark place.
- Silica gel bags may be added to the storage container to absorb any excessive moisture if you live in an area with high humidity.
- Store each piece individually. This will protect the piece against any sharp objects from the other piece of jewelry. This would also protect it against any friction caused by the other piece of jewelry.
To sum it up, soft cotton or velvet bags stored inside ziplock bags in a dry place, away from sunlight can be suitable for storage.
The bottom line
Jewelry made from breastmilk may sound a little strange to some people, but it is the most loved piece for many. It is a great way to celebrate motherhood and have a tangible object to cherish those memories. the quality of the piece may be ensured by making your purchase from a trusted seller. If stored right and taken care of when wearing, it has the potential to last a lifetime.
Until next time!