Many of the pendants and rings Sandra McMullen makes for clients hold a unique, milky colour to them. That’s no surprise, of course, since they’re made with breast milk.
McMullen specializes in a niche craft known as DNA jewelry, which incorporates human, animal or plant samples as part of their composition.
The most popular component is breast milk, but clients also ask for pieces made with umbilical cords, placenta, cremated ashes, hair, fur and plant elements. All of these samples are mixed with resin and designed into a unique piece of jewelry.
“It’s fun because you get to wear your memories,” McMullen said. “I love wearing my loved ones, and I think others do too.”
McMullen’s journey started in 2017 when she heard of a woman in Australia who made jewelry with breast milk.
“I really wanted a piece of breast milk jewelry, and I kept hinting it to my husband and he didn’t quite pick it up,” she said “So I thought, ‘I guess I’ll just make it myself.’”
McMullen would take a year to perfect the technique, a challenge considering she had no former experience in making jewelry.
Soon she began selling the service. It picked up in popularity so quickly that McMullen was able to quit her job in health care and make her business, Sacred Life Jewelry her full time job.
Crafting a breast milk stone takes three weeks; McMullen will take a half-ounce sample, combines it with a solvent and chemicals to dry it out before she can grind it in a mortar and pestle and combine it with resin and other elements.
“I’ve got tonnes of breast milk in my freezer, ready to go,” she said. At this point, McMullen has a five-month wait-list for orders.
As a mother to two, McMullen knows why other moms are so eager to have a piece of breast milk jewelry of their own.
“It captures that breast feeding journey which is incredibly special and important, and it can be hard to let go,” she said. “Just to be able to have that memory, you can look down and have that time together again.”
McMullen says in the future she hopes to expand her business so she can get orders done faster. She also hopes to get an education in crafting metal mounts for her stones, as she currently uses a third party source for that.
McMullen keeps her prices low to keep the jewelry accessible to others; prices start at $45 and go upwards of $200 on average.
For more information you can visit facebook.com/sacredlifejewelry/
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