A mum has revealed how she’s made herself a living by creating jewellery out of breastmilk, placentas, umbilical cords and even ashes, with customers eager to purchase these unusual accessories.
Vickie Krevatin, from Beggarwood in Hampshire, has been creating unique jewellery for her brand Mom’s Own Milk since 2013 after she left her job in the financial corporate world.
The 47-year-old’s one-of-a-kind jewellery and keepsakes cost between £95 and £150 and are individually made for customers all over the world.
In order to create the jewellery, Vickie’s company uses the breastmilk preservation process and a secret formula.
The brand also embeds locks of hair and ashes into the jewellery by using a heated fusing process and lampworking.
The mum of one decided to launch the business of creating DNA keepsakes as she had a personal experience with breastfeeding and was keen to symbolise it in something she could wear every day.
Although Vickie has received the odd negative comment or two, she says most people believe her work is visually striking and intriguing.
After having worked in the financial corporate world for twenty years, Vickie decided she wanted to have children as she was approaching her forties.
The business owner is a former specialist in anti-terror financing, money laundering control and sanctions compliance. She fell pregnant after her first attempt at IVF and despite having a difficult pregnancy, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Jessy via c-section in 2011.
Jessy, who is now nine, was breastfed for six months until Vickie returned back to work. A year later, she decided she would like to try for a second child.
Yet Jessy’s needs turned out to be much higher then Vickie had realised, as her son was diagnosed with severe ADHD and had to be medicated from the age of three. Vickie explained that her son’s needs are very complex and that he is currently awaiting further autism assessments.
She told The Sun: “At the peak of my career and approaching my 40s, I decided it was time to have a few kids.
“Conception was hard and I eventually fell pregnant by IVF treatment at the same time as I was scheduled for back surgery for three herniated disks in my lumbar spine.
“Despite a difficult pregnancy, my son was delivered by c-section. My plan was to breastfeed for six months, return to work and a year later try for a second child.
“Little did I know – Jessy ended up being a very difficult child.”
Realising that her son needed that extra bit of attention, Vickie knew that she couldn’t go back to the corporate environment in London. She just wanted to spend as much time as possible with her son.
As her son got older, the jewellery maker knew that she wanted to still stay as present as possible for her son, but she was realising she had a lot of extra time on her hands. It was then that she found Mom’s Own Milk in 2013.
She said: “I believe each mother has the choice on how to feed their newborns, toddlers and children.
“Being so close to Jessy from birth, seeing every part of his development and watching him flourish was a life-altering experience for me.
“Our mother and son bond grew stronger with each moment spent together and breastfeeding ended up being the catalyst for our relationship and for the conception of Mom’s Own Milk.”
Initially, Vickie was going to buy breastmilk jewellery. Yet she found that it was new and the typical waiting time was between 6 and 24 months. She became impatient and realised she could just try making it on her own.
Vickie’s business has now become the leading UK and worldwide provider of custom made biodegradable eco-friendly glass breast milk jewellery and keepsakes.
She said: “What we do is very Marmite with our customers. We offer a tangible representation of a feeling, frozen in time.
“Our breastmilk jewellery represents all the trials and tribulations in the breastfeeding/ expressing journey.
“I have a charm bracelet with beads containing sand from my favourite holiday places. My own breastmilk is made into a bead and ashes and hair from my beloved dog and cat.
“Wherever I go, people comment on it and remark on how visually striking and unusual it is.
“Once I share what it contains, their expression is either wonder, disgust and inevitably they are shocked it is so pretty.”
As Vickie’s brand has expanded, she’s also provided a service for cremation jewellery and uses the ashes of beloved family members, friends and pets to make bespoke keepsakes that can contain hair, placenta, umbilical cords, teeth, wedding flowers, bridal lace and sand from a gravesite or favourite place.
Several years after starting up, Vickie finds that she often has hundreds of customers making orders online and they complete an inclusion collection kit – which is made up of medical vials and instructions.
Most of the jewellery and keepsakes that Vickie makes are one-off pieces, such as items like rings, charm beads and pendants.
Explaining her personal experience with custom jewellery, Vickie added: “My bracelet is very nostalgic for me.
“It reminds me of simpler times with my son – I thought his formative years were hard but as he grew older he became a more demanding child due to his severe ADHD.
“I also really love animals and my pets were my children before Jessy came along.
“They offered so much comfort and unconditional love and that is what I remember when I feel their ashes against my wrist.”
She continued: “In one instance, we made a keepsake charm for a customer with her breastmilk and part of her child’s aorta that was removed after birth.
“The charm was to celebrate her daughter’s third birthday – she loved it.
“With my brand, I wanted to symbolise time, love, criticism, tears, joy and everything else associated with breastfeeding.
“It is a very close, special and mostly private relationship with my son that I carry with me every day.”
Vickie said that although others create breastmilk jewellery, the process is flawed as it can cause the preserved milk to turn rancid after a few months.
The business owner has made sure that Mom’s Own Milk focuses on creating personalised jewellery and keepsakes which have different aspects, three-dimensional shapes and colours.