A mum has been inundated with orders after she started a business making jewellery – from breast milk, umbilical cords and PLACENTA.
Nicola Kamminga, 31, started creating her unusual range a year ago and has since seen her order book stack up with hundreds of requests from proud parents.
She takes postal delivery of vials of breast milk and creates pearls and charms using a closely-guarded stabilising and hardening technique.
The entrepreneur also makes keepsakes from dehydrated placenta and cords, and her business is going so well she plans to open a studio by the end of the year.
The married mum-of-two from Bristol said: “I can’t tell you how I do it, but I can say that it involves epoxy resin to harden the milk.
“It was very much trial and error, and I would make little pieces for my daughter when I was figuring it out.
“For many the jewellery is a lovely keepsake, but for some it is a way of remembering and feeling closer to someone who has passed.
“This is especially significant for parents who have lost children, and I do offer pro-bono pieces.”
Nicola Previously struggled to breast feed her daughter Ayla, and was pleasantly surprised when she was able to produce enough milk to feed Bastian, one.
She had her placenta dried and encapsulated to eat as pills, and then went on a course to offer the practise professionally, before moving on to jewellery.
“I think it was partly a confidence thing which was different the second time around,” she said.
“I was just so delighted and overjoyed.
“After giving birth to Bastian I dehydrated and encapsulated my placenta to eat as pills – I am a big fan of alternative and DIY practices.
“Even though he was only three months old I started a course to offer encapsulating professionally – but so many people asked me to make them placenta and breast milk jewellery that I moved in to that instead.”
She launched Tree of Opals a year ago, and can create milk pearls using as little as 20mm of milk.
Mums interested in buying a piece of breast milk jewellery are asked to send three small vials of milk through the post, which is shaped using moulds.
Each piece costs between £40 and £190 and she is the only jeweller in the world who makes it into charm beads for bracelets and necklaces.
Although fairly common in Australia, there are only a handful of artists who make breast milk jewellery in the UK.
Alongside breast milk jewellery, the talented mum makes pieces using umbilical cords, dried placentas, hair and the cremated ashes of loved ones.
She added: “I have had some quite negative reactions online from people who think what I do is not right, but breast feeding is such a natural and incredible thing to do that it I think it is such a wonderful thing to be able to celebrate.”