Preserve Emotions, Memories with Breastmilk Jewellery
As breastmilk jewellery gains popularity in the city, DT Next speaks to a few individuals crafting the jewellery to understand the process. They also provide insight into why it is trending and how it has become a cherished keepsake for many families
Judcy BobcyCHENNAI: Breastmilk jewellery took centre stage following an entrepreneur’s pitch on the Shark Tank show earlier this year. However, in Chennai, the crafting of this unique jewellery began in 2016, with Preethy Vijay claiming to be the pioneer of this type of jewellery making in India. Many people choose breastmilk jewellery for various reasons. “Breastfeeding memories are emotional for mothers and they wish to cherish that for a lifetime,” says Preethy Vijay, who started the venture Momma’s Milky Love in 2016. The idea of making this jewellery struck Preethy when a mother raised a concern in a Facebook group asking about breastmilk jewellery makers in India. “This requires an art and chemistry background. After a lot of trial and error, I formulated a technique,” she adds.
Crissana Jessie, founder of Frills and Pearls, started making breastmilk jewellery when she felt the need for herself. “People wish to celebrate and preserve even the smallest details connected to their children,” states Crissana. She believes that social media has played a prominent role in expanding the reach of this field. “With social media’s influence and word of mouth, people living in rural areas are also aware of this business and wish to purchase a product for themselves as well,” the 31-year-old explains to DT Next. She adds that breastmilk jewellery is common in foreign countries.
Another jewellery maker, Manju Hari, has been curious about craft and art since childhood. This 30-year-old and mother of two started Mother’s Precious Jewellery in 2018 and claims that these remain special for the mother and the baby. Explaining the process of making the jewellery, she says, “Initially, we have to freeze the breastmilk. Then comes the heating process and preservatives are added. After that, the milk undergoes a drying process to turn into powder. The milk is mixed with a solution and then placed on the ornament selected.” Like gold, the breastmilk jewellery lasts for a lifetime.
Apart from breastmilk jewellery, the city is also indicating a rise in the number of orders for umbilical cord, baby hair, nails and teeth, among others. It takes around 4-10 days to make a complete breastmilk jewellery. The makers also say that the jewellery is affordable and the price majorly depends on the type of metals like gold, silver and imitation jewel. It should be noted that one can buy this product with other breastmilk as well.
When asked if it is popular only among young mothers, Crissana says, “Couples who married late and people who gave birth many years after marriage, value these memories more and feel precious. These jewels are sentimentally connected with their souls.” Taking us on an emotional ride, she shares a snippet of her most memorable order, “Usually, mothers send the breastmilk for orders, but once I received it from the relatives of the couple. But, before the completion of the jewellery, the mother passed away and I was notified that it was the last breastmilk of the mother. So, that jewel stays with the baby as a treasure from the mother.”
Judcy Bobcy, DEA in the police department, purchased an umbilical cord pendant for her first baby, who passed away. “It was an emotional moment when I touched the pendant. I was able to feel my baby who is not with me now,” her voice breaks. “Now, I am cherishing this. After me, it will be a memory for my children,” shares the mother of two children.
Talking about the transition the business has undergone, Preethy Vijay says, “Nowadays, many fathers are sending the breastmilk of their wives, which was not prevalent before. This shows how the idea of breastmilk being a taboo is breaking.”
On the other hand, Manju Hari believes that people’s curiosity and social media’s influence will increase the scope for breastmilk jewellery. Preethy Vijay also aims to spread awareness about breastmilk donation which will be helpful for premature babies,