[Ad – Beyond the Willow Tree gifted me my beautiful breastmilk jewellery in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.] This week is England’s National Breastfeeding Celebration Week, and what better way to mark the occasion than with beautiful, feminine breastmilk jewellery? I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with Beyond the Willow Tree recently, and I have some gorgeous items to share with you here. Plus one lucky reader will win their own stunning crystal like my one in the image above!
I contacted Beyond the Willow Tree way back around Christmas, and it’s taken quite some time to reach this point – because I didn’t realise until later, but they’re actually based in Australia!
But it was well worth the wait, as I’m sure you’ll agree. And if having my breastmilk immortalised as a precious crystal were not special enough, I can also say it’s travelled around the world!
I asked Melanie, the founder of this innovative keepsake business, to tell me about the how their jewellery is created, and she’s given me a little information to share with you – although the exact method is understandably protected. To give you a small insight, here’s the process for each customer…
How Breastmilk Jewellery is Created
First, you’ll need to take 35ml of expressed milk and prepare for sending. Milk must then be heated, and once cooled, transferred to a storage bag; for ensuring safe transport with minimal leaks I actually triple bagged mine.
I chose the beautiful rose quartz tipped crystal for myself, but Melanie very generously created two additional surprise pieces for me, for which I was asked to also sent a small lock of hair from each of my beloved girls. Those tiny curls from Pixie and Elfin have travelled farther than either of them have – yet! All three items went into a padded envelope with a customs document provided by Beyond the Willow Tree (if you’re feeling overwhelmed about making sure you package everything correctly, rest assured they also provide full instructions!).
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Because we’re so used to thinking of milk that’s older than a couple of hours as ‘bad’, I was a little apprehensive of this next bit… Once the parcel has been left at the post office, you’re in for a long wait while it travels ten thousand miles to the other side of the world to be set into a stunning piece of jewellery! I was assured that though the milk would no longer be safe for consumption, it’s still in perfect condition to be formed into a keepsake.
I’m not sure whether this is typical for the company but, due to popularity and because every item is (naturally) made to order, at the time I sent my bits off there was also a backlog of several weeks.
When your package arrives at the lab, it will be logged, crosschecked, and labelled – and then the magic happens!
The process involves the use of special liquids which have been tailor-made to suit the preservation of breast milk. This creates a base which is then mixed, encased, and formed into a ‘stone’.
I had to put it out of my mind for the next couple of months while I waited, because it’s not easy being patient for that length of time when you know the delivery you’re waiting on is going to be so precious! When I came home one day and there was an airmail envelope waiting for me on the side, I may have squealed a little bit.
My Beautiful Breastmilk Jewellery
A picture is worth a thousand words, and inside were these fabulous, irreplaceable pieces:
Rose Quartz Tipped Crystal with breastmilk, light opal flecks, finished with sterling silver:
This pendant is definitely a gorgeous statement piece, however nobody would ever know the nature of its very personal history unless you chose to share.
Golden Lux set in sterling silver with cubic zirconia, light opal flecks, milk and hair:
This lovely ring has a vintage feel about it, and can be made with real diamonds if you prefer! Only a tiny amount of hair can be used so it may not be visible.
Opal Jewel Dainty Pendant with light opal flecks, milk and hair in sterling silver:
Delicate and understated, the flecks in the breastmilk really make the stones of this necklace sparkle. Again, only a minimal amount of hair can be set in the stone, but mine is just about visible.
Breastfeeding my girls has been such a passionate and positive phase of my life, and having beautiful and tangible keepsakes by which to celebrate is invaluable. I’ll treasure these pieces forever.
I had significant difficulties to overcome in order to continue both with Pixie and then subsequently with Elfin, and as such I consider feeding each of my daughters to be a huge personal achievement – I think it probably is for any woman who breastfeeds. Immortalising my breastmilk with the hair of my babies feels somehow poignant too: they’ll never be so young again, and I’ll (almost certainly!) never produce milk again after I’ve stopped feeding Elfin.
I’m delighted with my unique jewellery, and I hope that these pieces will be cherished equally by my girls when I come to pass them on.