Breast Milk Jewellery? Meet the Artist Behind This Unlikely Trend

Breast Milk Jewellery? Meet the Artist Behind This Unlikely Trend

NEON

Annie's toddler reaches out for the white stone that gleams on the silver chain that she pulls out of her wallet. “That’s my feet,” 2-year-old Jessie says, grinning, as she points at the pendant that bears a miniature image of feet. But there’s a catch – it’s made out of breast milk!

The first few days of parenthood can be a blur between diapers and wails, burps and gurgles. An artist in Chennai is immortalising this magical and confounding journey through jewellery and keepsakes.
A customer, Annie, says she treasures this pendant as it reminds her of the beautiful journey of pregnancy and motherhood.
A customer, Annie, says she treasures this pendant as it reminds her of the beautiful journey of pregnancy and motherhood.
(Photo Courtesy: Preethy)

The woman behind these keepsakes, Preethy Vijay, says she chanced upon this idea when someone had suggested it on a mother’s forum. The polymer clay jewellery artist decided to give it a shot. Though a popular concept abroad, it is still quite new for India.

While she turned to the internet for help, Preethy says that she soon found out that "nobody reveals their secrets”. After some thought, she decided to turn to chemistry to decode the perfect formula.

Some mothers are shy about wanting these keepsakes, Preethy reveals. 
Some mothers are shy about wanting these keepsakes, Preethy reveals. 
(Photo Courtesy: Preethy)
When it comes to breastfeeding, once the journey is done, it’s over. You can’t see a drop of milk after that. So when they are able to see the milk lifelong, it is nice. They are able to keep it as memory. They even pass it on to their daughter or son-in-law. 

After six months of trial and error, Preethy was ready to take orders. She reveals that she was flooded with requests before she even went public with the project. Her Facebook Page, Mommy’s Milky Love, is full of positive feedback from satisfied customers.

Most customers have the same question: “Won’t the milk spoil by the time it reaches her?”

Preethy asks customers to send her 15 ml of milk that can then be designed into a ring, pendant or other keepsakes.

Many mothers now want keepsakes made out of the umbilical cord or their child’s hair. 
Many mothers now want keepsakes made out of the umbilical cord or their child’s hair. 
(Photo Courtesy: Preethy)

Many of her customers are shy about it, she says. ‘'I had a customer who labelled the courier packet 'Ayurveda medicine’ because she didn't want her family to find out. She was sending it without the knowledge of her family,” says Preethy.

She gets up to 12 orders a week and needs 2-6 months to complete them. The pieces cost anywhere between Rs 1,500 -Rs 3000.

"When my daughter was in my womb, the doctor said she has very pretty feet. So I wanted that image to be in breast milk,” says Annie, adding that she always carries the breast milk pendant that Preethy made for her in her wallet.

It’s not just breast milk. Preethy can create wonders with baby teeth, hair and even bits of the the umbilical cord.
Preethy chanced upon this idea after her first child. She couldn’t make a keepsake with breastmilk, so she made a beautiful item out of his first baby teeth.
Preethy chanced upon this idea after her first child. She couldn’t make a keepsake with breastmilk, so she made a beautiful item out of his first baby teeth.
(Photo: The Quint/ Smitha TK)

A child may outgrow its mother’s lap, but never her heart. Several mothers are flocking to Preethy and other jewellery designers for such keepsakes, so that they can immortalise the moments they’ve shared with their child, even after the little ones leave the nest one day.

Cameraperson: Smitha TK
Video Editor: Kunal

Also Read:
#GoodNews: UP’s Villages are Defying Norms & Embracing Nutrition Inadequate Breastfeeding May Cost India USD 14 Billion: UN Report

NEON