My parents are selectively sentimental. They trashed my baby teeth as soon as those suckers fell out, but my dad still has a birthday card I drew for him 20 years ago that features a tiny steaming pile of dog poop and reads “Happy Birthday, You Stink.” Parents hang on to the strangest things—which explains the growing cottage industry for jewelry made of preserved breast milk. I first heard of the trend in a Mashable India article, and it got me thinking: Is milk jewelry—be it human or cow—the accessory of the future?
Per The Bump, breast milk jewelry features an accent stone that’s filled with breast milk. To create the stone, the lactater in question captures some of their boob milk and sends it off to a specialty breast milk jeweler. The jeweler then dehydrates the milk into a powdered form, mixes it with preservatives, adds a special resin, and shapes it into a “gemstone” to set into a ring, necklace, bracelet, or other piece of jewelry. As you might imagine, the resulting “stone” has a whitish hue that mimics that of an opal.
While the trend is new to me, The Bump reports that breast milk jewelers crept into the Etsy scene as early as 2013. Today, the phenomenon is becoming more widespread as parents shell out to memorialize those sweet, sweet breastfeeding memories. With that, more and more breast milk jewelers are popping up with company names like “Milkies” (bad) and “Mama’s Liquid Love” (worse). Actually, the only good company name for a breast milk jeweler is “Precious Mammaries.” That one can stay.
I, personally, have never lactated and thus have no interest in turning my breast milk into a tasteful pendant necklace. But the demand for breast milk jewelry does beg the question: why are any of us buying genuine opals when we could buy milk jewelry instead? I’m not talking about human milk—I do not want the fruits of someone’s boob adorning my ear lobes—but cow, goat, or sheep milk.
First, jewelry made from animal milk would likely be a lot cheaper than opal jewelry, as the cheapest genuine opal pieces tend to hover between $400 and $600. Per The Bump, breast milk jewelry pieces start around $100.
Plus, as our friends at Gizmodo reported in 2013, opal mining is extremely dangerous. Why detonate homemade explosives in a dark mine shaft when you could simply milk a cow, preserve the milk, and shape it into a lovely gemstone? Finally, cow milk and human milk both contain a similar percentage of water, so they’d theoretically dehydrate in a similar fashion.
After conducting a cursory Google search, I wasn’t able to find any jewelry made of cow’s milk. (I was able to find an abundance of breast milk jewelry, as well as jewelry that contains bits of human placenta. I’m good, thanks!) There’s a whole market just waiting be tapped, folks. Time to get to milkin’.