This is probably the question that I receive more than any other!
There are several factors that come into play when questioning the longevity of breast milk jewelry. The artists' preservation method, the resin used to make the stone, and how the jewelry is cared for once it's delivered to the client all determine how long your breast milk jewelry will last. I will go into specifics on each factor below so that you know what to expect from your jewelry before ordering AND after completion.
1. Preservation Method
As mentioned on The Process page of my website, breast milk needs to be preserved before being mixed with resin and turned into a stone. This prevents the milk from spoiling and going moldy in your jewelry.
Just as there are different ways to bake a cake, there are also different ways to preserve milk. Most DNA artists seem to use a ready-made preservation powder that is purchased in bulk from larger, well-known breast milk jewelry companies but there is also a large group of artists like myself who have formulated their own method. Personally, I felt the need to create my own so that I could tweak the measurements of the chemicals used to cater to each sample of milk. Every clients milk is different so in my mind, I felt they each needed to be preserved a little differently as well. The basic method I use is the same for all milks, but I make small adjustments based on things like the fat content of a clients milk.
While most preservation methods being used are proven to withstand time, all are not created equal. When purchasing breast milk jewelry, be sure to research the company and find out if their method is stable so that your milk doesn't turn rancid later down the road.
If you do a search of "epoxy resin" on Google or Amazon, you'll realize pretty quickly that there are thousands of brands selling thousands of types of resin... each with a specific use and purpose. You'll also notice that most of these different brands have a main selling point in common; all claiming to be "non-yellowing". While some brands hold true to that claim more than others, it is a pretty far fetch to say that ANY brand of resin is completely UV resistant. It's basically impossible to find a resin that stays crystal clear forever. Because of that, it's up to me to find the brand of resin that works the best for my jewelry and the needs of my clients since one of the biggest complaints towards a lot of breast milk jewelry is that the clients piece has gone yellow. Some people may think it's the actual milk itself that has gone bad, but in reality it's usually just the resin changing colors.
Just like all preservation methods are not created equal, neither are all brands of resin. Since the main inclusion I work with (breast milk) is white, even the slightest amount of resin yellowing will show. This is why I've researched, tested, and bought several types of resin so that I can try and prevent that from happening. I want to make sure that I'm using the best of the best for my clients and give them a piece of jewelry that will last as long as possible. Right now the resin I'm using hasn't had any significant changes in color, even in test pieces that I have had sitting in a windowsill for 12+ months. Even though this specific resin seems to be doing a fantastic job as far as clarity is concerned, I still continue to research more brands just in case something better comes along.
3. After Care
In my opinion, this is probably one of the most important factors in making sure that your breast milk jewelry lasts. An artist can have a scientifically proven preservation method along with using the best resin on the market, but the client can still mess up their jewelry within months of receiving it... no matter how perfect it was when it was originally sent to them. So many things adversely affect resin and precious metals that it's really easy to damage your jewelry without realizing you're doing so.
Here's a short list of things that can deteriorate breast milk jewelry:
-alcohol based products (hand sanitizer, dish detergents, facial cleansers, perfumes, lotions)
-extended UV exposure (wearing your jewelry in tanning beds or leaving your jewelry anywhere that receives direct sunlight)
-humidity (storing your jewelry in a room that has a high humidity level such as a steamy bathroom or near a humidifier)
-water (bathing, swimming, or washing dishes with your jewelry on)
Breast milk jewelry requires special care so please keep these things in mind when purchasing a piece. If you have a job/lifestyle that requires constant exposure to any of these things, I'd recommend purchasing a necklace or wearing your piece only while you're off of work and/or on special occasions. This will limit the exposure and help to ensure that your jewelry will last longer.
Kayla Mueller - Sun & Stone Keepsakes Owner/Creator
What Clients Are Saying About Their Breast Milk Jewelry:
Sterling Silver Oval Halo Ring With Embellished Band
"I am in LOVE with my ring from Sun & Stone Keepsakes! Kayla was wonderful to work with and created the most perfect ring! I can't thank her enough for making something I'll cherish forever."
Sterling Silver Infinity Teardrop Halo Ring
"Absolutely amazed with how my breast milk ring turned out. Thank you so incredibly much, now I have something to remind me of my beautiful journey!"
Round Sterling Silver Pendant
"I purchased a necklace with breast milk, a lock of hair, and the birthstones of me, dad, and our baby inside and I am IN LOVE!!!! She did such an amazing job and I am forever grateful for my keepsake. I wear it everyday!!!"