Jewellery made using a woman’s breastmilk has been big news recently, finding coverage in national papers and beyond.

One small business that found itself in the right place at the right time is Precious by Kerry, its sales more than doubling in the last year. Along with breastmilk jewellery it offers pieces including locks of hair and loved ones’ ashes.

Professional Jeweller decided now was the time to lift the lid on the growing trend and spoke with Precious by Kerry founder and designer, Kerry Miles, to find out more.

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What is Precious by Kerry and how did it start?

I’ve been helping people to capture precious moments for over five years now. I create jewellery as keepsakes to remember the special time with our little ones and our lost loved ones. My aim is to create lasting objects, a moment captured forever.

This all began when my eldest son helped me figure out how to preserve breastmilk to create my own rings as a way to celebrate my breastfeeding journey. There was a lot of experimentation but eventually we perfected it and had a beautiful stacking ring. I have worked with resin over the past 25 years during my studies but I’m always learning, and encapsulating the breastmilk was a new challenge with its own rules.

Everything is labelled … and kept separate – we have no margin for error. The milk is dehydrated and preserved over nearly a week and then we begin to make the handcrafted jewellery.”

When the piece was complete, I posted it online to my local breastfeeding support group and the requests came thick and fast. It all happened very organically and has been an absolute blessing. I am an advocate of lifelong learning and my business grows with every new piece designed for each client.

I take very seriously the responsibility of encapsulating intensely personal items such as breastmilk, loved ones ashes, lost baby ashes, first hair lock and it gives me great pleasure in making sure each client feels respected and valued, receiving a tailor-made precious experience.

What can clients expect when they shop with Precious by Kerry?

We offer a completely bespoke, personal service, and with this comes great responsibility and trust. When clients order through our webshop, we send out a postal return, collection pack and ring sizer, along with instructions.

Everything is labelled from this stage and kept separate – we have no margin for error. The milk is dehydrated and preserved over nearly a week and then we begin to make the handcrafted jewellery. At the moment we have a lead time of six weeks from receipt of components.

What inspired you to start making breastmilk jewellery?

Breastfeeding was something I was determined to do and when the journey, after much turbulence, was successful, I wanted something beautiful to mark these times. We had so many sleepless nights, pain and tears, but the main thing was that I kept these tiny people alive with my body.

With the current pandemic our clients found they had extra disposable income with which they were able to afford their long-awaited gift to themselves.”

Breastmilk is not just a substance, but a lifeline and in many ways it’s an irreplaceable bond between mother and child. When a mother loses a baby they can still produce milk, which adds to their sense of loss and grief.

Having a piece of jewellery can be invaluable at these times and can give these mothers something to physically remember their wee ones. We have suffered loss five times and the heart-wrenching times we went through have given me a deep empathy and a longing to help ease anyone’s suffering in whatever small way I can.

What other products do you offer?

We also create pieces infused with cremation ashes, hair locks, placenta, umbilical cord, flowers and fabric.

We offer a completely bespoke, personal service, and with this comes great responsibility and trust.”

We infuse these components in glass and resin before setting in our handcrafted jewellery. We only work with precious metals: 925 silver, gold, white gold and rose gold. Our pieces infused in glass now take up around 80% of our orders.

Was consumer interest growing even before the media caught hold of the trend?

Yes. Ours is a niche market, but the niche is quite broad. We have a reputation for excellent quality and personal service as well as being able to personalise our jewellery to specific requirements.

With the current pandemic our clients found they had extra disposable income with which they were able to afford their long-awaited gift to themselves. We are currently in the process of extending our studio in order to further improve our quality and service.