Anna Thachuk has made a name for herself by turning breastmilk into a keepsake.
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Anna Thachuk, M.D., always loved playing with her mother's costume jewelry. If it sparkled, she wanted to try it on. She ultimately chose a more traditional career in medicine, emigrating to the U.S. from Ukraine in 2004 and becoming a sonographer. But her love of sparkling things never left her. Fifteen years ago, she began making jewelry with stones and crystals for family and friends.

But seven years ago, she learned about breastmilk jewelry while breastfeeding her second child. The woman had been by adding breastmilk to acrylic resin to create stones.

Thachuk recalls being fascinated by the idea and began figuring out how to do it herself. The process was trial and error. She tested out different techniques to neutralize the milk before finding her stride.

Hands forming jewelry
Credit: Anna Thachuk

"We cast the breastmilk in acrylic resin using silicone molds to shape the stones," Thachuk says.

The niche market for turning breastmilk into jewelry and other products, like soaps, lotions, and even ice cream, has widened recently. Etsy shops sell DIY kits for lactating individuals to make their own jewelry at home (the service doesn't allow for the exchange of human milk).

Thachuk began selling the jewelry on her own website, KeepsakeMom Breastmilk Jewelry, more than three years ago. She can make stones in multiple shapes and sizes, from large teardrop pendants to dainty earrings. She also creates rings and bracelets. Her customers include lactating individuals looking to celebrate their journeys, parents who have experienced loss and are hoping for something to remember their child by, and loved ones of a lactating person searching for that perfect gift.

Baby foot with ring on toe
Credit: Anna Thachuk

Breastmilk can be an excellent source of nutrition for infants and young toddlers for those who choose and are able to chestfeed, but not everyone is on board with it being a precious gem. Thachuk knows this. She says people either love the idea or think it's a bit odd. She understands breastmilk jewelry isn't for everyone, but she loves helping others commemorate a fleeting experience that may last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of years. The process helped Thachuk celebrate her breastfeeding journeys with her three children as well.

"Each was deeply profound but each had its own set of struggles," she says.

For example, Thachuk's supply dried up after two months of breastfeeding her first.

Because each person's lactating experience is unique, Thachuk wanted to take extra steps to make jewelry that did, too. Customers can add tiny touches to their jewelry, including color tint, a lock of their baby's hair, or the baby's hand or footprints.

Whatever piece and customization a person picks, Thachuk hopes it serves as a poignant reminder of a job well done for years to come.

"Because breastfeeding is such a personal journey, it deserves to be commemorated with a keepsake that's just as beautiful and unique," Thachuk says. "It's truly a celebration."