A mum-of-two turns breast milk, placenta, hair and ashes into jewellery so customers can have a piece of their loved ones forever.
NHS worker Sarah Hewes, 35, first started making jewellery for friends and family.
In the first lockdown, she had more time to dedicate to her hobby and started her business Under the Pale Moon at the beginning of the year.
The mum, from Hamps., now takes orders from across the UK with people sending her tubes of breast milk, placenta (which must already be dried, powdered and in capsules), pieces of hair or ashes so she can create pendants, bracelets or rings.
She said: “I’m an occupational therapist and I work in a community team with adults with learning disabilities
“I love my work in the NHS, my team and the people and families I support, but my jewellery business allows me more creativity and something that is just mine!”
Sarah, who is mum to Orren, five, and Luna, two, was inspired by her own experiences to celebrate breastfeeding, but she also wanted to offer different options for keepsakes.
She said: “My experience of breastfeeding my daughter made me realise how precious this journey is and made me want to help other breast and chestfeeding people.
“I desperately wanted to feed my son, but it didn’t work out for us, which always made me sad – though that is not a judgement on parents who choose to formula feed.
“Second time around, I was more prepared for the challenges, the demands and better educated.
“My daughter was born early at 35 weeks, so she wasn’t a great feeder. I had to breastfeed her direct from boob, pump and give her a top-up – it was gruelling!
“We were able to wean off the top up and she was exclusively breastfed and is still going two and a bit years later.”
Since launching Under the Pale Moon, she’s grown a solid customer service base.
Breastmilk and hair are some of her most popular choices but she works with the customer to create something beautiful and wearable – with prices ranging from around £40 to £120.
The mum said: “The breast/chest milk needs to be preserved first, then dried and powdered.
“If I’m working with flowers, they need to be dried first. From there the process is much the same for any inclusion.
“I cast the inclusion in UV resin to recreate a cabochon, or stone, adding any sparkle and shaping or making the design.
“Once that is made I set that into the piece on jewellery. I can do combinations of inclusions, for example, breastmilk and hair is a popular choice.
“I started out with mainly breastmilk and ashes, but I’ve since expanded into using encapsulated placenta which is really exciting and I’m learning new skills and adding to the collection all the time.
“I am doing some silversmithing courses to give me more ability to recreate really unique pieces.”
Sarah is also touched by how meaningful some of the pieces are.
She said: “It’s amazing to hear back from them once they receive their keepsake jewellery! It’s clear just how much it means to them!
“One of my customers told me how her father in law had passed away, her daughter and he were very close, she was upset that he wouldn’t be with at the big occasions in her life’s her graduation, wedding, but having his ashes encased in a necklace would mean a little piece would always be with her, safe to say we were both in tears.”
Sarah says she hasn’t experienced any negativity about her products.
She added: “I offer something that is incredibly personal, it is a piece of you and someone you love the most.
“Whether you’re celebrating your child with a lock of their hair, honouring the amazing organ of the placenta that has given life to your baby, your breast or chestfeeding journey that has nourished your baby, or keeping a lost loved one close to you.
“It’s jewellery like nothing else, and it’s beautiful.”