A Chennai based small scale entrepreneur, Preethy Vijay, has taken jewellery making to the next level.
She brings out unique jewellery made out of mother’s breast milk and the first person to bring breast milk jewellery to India.
While many consider breast feeding as a very special experience of motherhood, Preethy tries to preserve this feeling with small jewellery such as earrings, rings, pendants, and other keepsakes made from breast milk.
She came across this idea when a mother asked her if breast milk jewellery was made in India. When she checked online, she found that it was only available in foreign countries.
That’s when Preethy decided to make it herself. “I have been making polymer clay jewellery for nearly four to five years now.
Breast feeding is an emotional bond between a mother and a child, so I thought why not try to explore this,” Preethy said.
She explained that she learned the art through trial and error.
However, despite her handson experience with creative designs and crafting, it still took her six months to create a proper piece of jewellery with breast milk.
“I started working with this idea last year in September, and till May, I couldn’t take orders. Since milk is perishable, I have to use certain amount of preservatives when making the jewellery.
But, at times, this changes the colour of the milk. I could not know whether or not this will happen immediately, because it takes at least one month to develop a noticeable change. Since last September I had been working on a few jewellery pieces to perfect my methods.
I also took help from a few of my friends with a Chemistry background to develop the technique.” Only after May 2017, after settling on a technique, did she start taking orders. She also started a Facebook page, Momma’s Milky Love.
When asked how she collects the breast milk for her jewellery, she said she sends her clients a detailed procedure of how to send the breast milk. As soon as she gets the milk, she said the preservatives and keeps it in a cold storage. She adds that it usually takes nearly 2 to 3 months to make each piece of jewellery. But, since preservatives are used, the jewellery can be preserved life long.
“Since my work has been gaining popularity through online pages and my friends, people are reaching out with orders more often now. I nearly get 10 to 12 orders a week. But I am only able to do 3 to 4 per week.”
She uses artificial material or sterling silver to make these pieces. Depending on the material and the design, their prices range from Rs 1000 to 4000. She also makes jewellery with umbilical cord, baby’s first tooth and locks of hair. “Most of them do not use the jewellery on a regular basis. But they want to cherish their breastfeeding phase with these jewellery.
That’s why I also started making keepsakes with an Indian touch.
She added that, she has been receiving tremendous amount of encouragement from various places outside Chennai. People from abroad also place orders and get the breast milk delivered through someone who is coming to Chennai. She laments she missed the chance to make such jewellery for herself because her son is already six years old. But she is happy to bring joy to other mothers with these small pieces of jewellery.