Frequently Asked Questions
The process of making Breastmilk Jewellery is not a ‘quick turnaround’. From the time you place your order there are a number of stages to go through. If you require a container to send you breast milk to us I need to post that out to you and you have to return it. When I receive your milk, it has to be carefully logged and labelled before being processed through a number of stages which involve heating, preserving, natural drying (which can take 4-8 days alone) and making into the end product ready for the next stage.
Please bear in mind that this has to happen for each and every order on an individual basis. Once the process has started there are many stages to go through, which may involve making the individual piece for you in silver, setting up, mixing, pouring, curing, sanding, polishing and more. Each piece is individually handmade for you, so will be different to the next and the one before. In addition, if I’m not happy with it, for any reason, I will have to remake it, not something that happens often but I will not let anything out of the studio until it is right for you.
During the process, I will take a tiny sample of any ‘left over’ mix to make a small cabochon of your ‘milk resin’ as a reference. This is useful for comparison against any deterioration of your jewellery and will be kept for a year alongside any remaining processed milk. We are aware that some customers may wish to return to purchase another piece at a later date, so if we retain your processed milk in storage, the process time will be very much decreased and also guards against those who may have low milk yields and have difficulty providing a further sample.
Each piece is handmade individually for you with care and attention. That often means (depending on your order) that the silver bezels and rings are made to order to your size and requirements. The fact that it is handmade does not necessarily mean that it will be identical to the one your friend bought last month.
Milk varies in colour, constituents, how it dries, how it reacts when heated, opacity and how it combines with the resin for example. Handmade means exactly that, it is not manufactured to perfection but is an extension of the artist creating your piece; therefore, there may be a tiny bubble or a faint seam you can see in a certain light. These things are unique to your piece which means there is not another one like it anywhere in the world. Likewise, computer screens and phones vary so it may not look identical to the picture you saw, but will be pretty close.
Most people think breastmilk is white or off-white. Essentially it is, but it is also very individual to you. It can be very white through to almost yellow, some can change colour slightly during the heating process. It can even have very faint tinges of red, green, or blue depending on what you’ve eaten before sending your sample which can also affect the colour change over time (hence the small sample taken at the time of placing in your jewellery). So please don’t be surprised if it’s not a brilliant Dulux white, it’s yours, its individual and a loving keepsake for your memories.
It may be possible to include other items or colour in your jewellery if you so wish it. Please be aware however that in some pieces, depending on the finishing process necessary, they may not show up as well as you may like. With an inlay ring for example, it is possible to have coloured ring (using coloured shell), with ‘drops’ of milk within the colour. However, it is not possible to place these strategically, they have to be mixed with the colour and resin at the stage they are place in the ring channel. When the ring is filed and sanded the pieces will appear wherever they settled during the curing process so is essentially random.
It may be possible to include things like a lock of hair on pieces which are filled in a different way, so the hair for example would be placed over the top of a partly cured milk layer and covered with a clear layer to show up against the white milk layer.
Pieces may be offered with the inclusion of Birthstones. There are however certain methods that will work and ones which won’t. Most birthstones are tube set in sterling silver so that they can be inserted into the piece at the appropriate time. You can see from the piece offered on site the positioning of the stones where appropriate. If you would like the stones in a different place in the piece you’d be welcome to contact us to discuss your wishes.
The basic Birthstones options use high quality Cubic Zirconia to represent the appropriate birthstone colours for each month. However options are available to choose the real gemstone such as Diamond or Emerald for example. These would be sourced on an individual basis due to the cost which prevents a stock level being kept, however are usually available within a short period, so if stated at the time of ordering would be with me by the time I needed them to set into the jewellery.
UK and US birthstones vary slightly and either option is available. The tricky ones are Opal (for October US & UK) and Moonstone/Pearl (for June US & UK), as these can either rarely or not at all be found as faceted stones. An alternative recognised stone for October is Pink Tourmaline and for June, Alexandrite. Any specific choice can be discussed of course with us via email on the website message service.