Family

The mum making keepsake jewellery from placentas, breast milk and embryos

Whether it's joy or grief that brought them to us, there is such emotion tied to these pieces. Particularly the embryos.

Mum of four, Amy McGlade, 33, had a goal to capture the mother-child bond through jewellery. As a registered nurse and midwife Amy knew that the emotions around pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood were incredibly powerful, and equally the emotions around couples’ struggles to conceive or the heart-wrenching loss of a new life. She was determined to find a way to capture these emotions and memories in a tangible and beautiful way.

Initially she began creating bespoke jewellery pieces made with breast milk, placenta and baby hair and soon branched out to include embryos, which became the niche for her business, Baby Bee Hummingbirds.

“To our clients, who come from all over the world, these pieces mean everything,” says Amy.

“Whether it’s joy or grief that brought them to us, there is such emotion tied to these pieces. Particularly the embryos.”

Watch the video below to see the process Amy uses to create a ring using breast milk:

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Amy McGlade is a mother of four, midwife and registered nurse who creates keepsake jewellery using ingredients such as breast milk, placentas and embryos.

For those who have gone through IVF treatment to conceive there are often parts of that journey that are left behind. IVF straws that are leftover from a cycle, or deemed too poor a quality to use often pose a dilemma for those who need to make the decision about what to do with them.

“Storage fees are so high, and the decision to destroy them can be heartbreaking,” says Amy. “I’m able to give families another option.”

As with the breast milk, IVF straws are turned into an ash which is then made into a bespoke ring, bead, crystal or locket. For those wishing to use a placenta or baby hair, Amy is able to encase them directly into the pieces she creates.

One person who used Amy’s service gave the feedback: “I’m so in love with my ring, it holds memories that will stay with me forever even when my son has grown up.”

“She has created a physical memory that I will have a lifetime,” says another.

And it’s this feedback that spurs Amy to keep going despite the negative responses she receives from some religious groups who have tried to have her business shut down.

“Oh gosh,” Amy laughs. “I’ve received more than 3000 emails each day. I’ve been used in propaganda videos and likened to Hitler.

“Those negative comments can be hard, especially as a passionate artist, but I learnt that the negative people are not my people or my target market.”

Some of the beads Amy has been able to create.

Amy now has someone to sort through all of the feedback that comes into the business so that she only needs to deal with relevant and useful discussions.

The business has taken off, has a global clientele and is on the way to turning over 1 million dollars.

Amy says, “I also created the world’s first DIY Keepsake Jewellery Kits, so that mothers could craft their own precious pieces. My DIY kits became so successful that I realised many others wanted to learn how to create an actual DNA and Breastmilk Jewellery Business. This led to the opening of a global online Academy,” says Amy.

“It was a really organic growth,” says Amy. “I started a Facebook page and people shared it and they got something made. Within the first year I had grown really quite large, and that cemented the idea that there was a need for what I was doing.”

In New Zealand jewellery designer Sam Small, 34, of Iddy Biddy Buddah Designs creates “DNA keepsake jewellery” using ingredients such as breast milk, ashes, pet’s teeth, fingerprints, umbilical cords and blood.

She told the NZ Herald, “Each piece has got a story behind it and real meaning for each person.

“When a pet passes away it’s such a tragedy, it’s like losing a family member. I get a lot of really grieving people who want pets in pieces of jewellery.”

She is sometimes given baby blankets or hair from children that have passed away to make into jewellery and says she doesn’t charge for those.

“I can’t take money off grieving parents.”

But they’re not all sad stories. Sam has also made jewellery from a lock of hair from a baby’s first haircut and from a bride’s pressed wedding flowers .

Her good luck fertility charms are particularly special to her because she, herself, has struggled to conceive her children. Sam tried a range of drugs and fertility treatments before getting pregnant on her third round of IVF. She now has two children aged four and two years old.

The charms usually have rose quartz, moonstone and dandelion seeds in them.

“It’s like you blow on a dandelion and make a wish that this is going to be the month I get my BFP – my big fat positive. I always put my best wishes in each one. I know that feeling like each time you have a pregnancy test.”

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