Blood Jewellery or blood inclusion jewellery has a long and rich history, traditionally worn behind glass like the Victorian ornate hair jewellery, and it can symbolise a lot of different things. Please note, at the end there is a trigger warning and some upsetting content so please read if you are able.
In more recent times, people have begun to fill vials with their blood to give a partner as a pendant. Blood necklaces hit the spotlight in the 90’s when Angelina Jolie created one for then-husband Billy Bob:
You know those lockets you buy that are clear and you put a picture of your grannie in it or something like that and wear it around your neck? That’s what it was. She bought two of those… Billy Bob Thornton – Vanity Fair
Like a lot of keepsake jewellery, it was for two people to show one another their passion even though there was a physical distance. Much the same as maidens of old giving knights a lock of hair woven into a bracelet to ride off into battle with.
Modern Blood Jewellery
Since the early 2010’s, the depth of keepsake jewellery artists’ knowledge has grown when working with resin. I worked with blood from a baby’s umbilical cord in 2015 but I know others were doing it a few years before. Using either epoxy or UV resin to encapsulate keepsakes can keep them protected from water but unlike glass, which is often used for cremation ashes, doesn’t destroy the blood “inclusion” in the process.
Blood inclusion jewellery has grown in popularity since then and I get regular orders for it. There are a lot of different types of blood jewellery and here are some of the most popular.
Liquid Blood Jewellery
This South African business LOVEINVEIN sells high end kits like this
Blood on Fabric
If your loved one’s blood is on fabric, or a baby wipe or pad, you can dry this on a radiator or windowsill and post it in. It can be visible or not, it’s your choice. Choose a coloured background or even mixed with red alcohol ink resin to look like fresh blood.
Umbilical Cord Blood Inclusion Jewellery
Babies’ cords are full of blood and although I usually include the whole piece of cord, I can just grind the blood if you prefer. This piece contains the entire umbilical cord
If your placenta is encapsulated, you will have small pieces of both you and your baby’s blood in the placenta, which makes it a wonderful pregnancy keepsake after your little one is earthside. Can be combined with material from a pregnancy test if you like.
Many of us celebrate menarche or our last menstrual cycle with joy. This is a beautiful way to remember the service that our blood has provided, creating a space in our wombs where a baby might live. I recommend either drying a tampon or pad, sea sponge or collecting the blood in a cup. This piece uses dragon’s blood red resin sparkle mix with flecks of dried blood as glitter on top.
Memorial Blood Jewellery
If your loved one has passed away or is ill, and they have had blood taken, you may be able to dry some. I would recommend using a saucer with a thin layer of blood somewhere warm: perhaps on a windowsill. Please keep away from children and pets. Once it’s dry, you can flake it off with a teaspoon and keep safe whilst you wait for a sending kit to post it to us as a jewellery inclusion.
Memorial Blood Jewellery
If your loved one has passed away you may want to send away a small vial of their blood to be turned into jewellery
Trigger Warning Upsetting Content
Baby Memorial Jewellery
For the past eight years I’ve been priviliged to offer pro bono baby memorial jewellery to my clients around the world. Bereaved parents have sent me their baby’s breastmilk, cremation ashes, precious tiny strands of hair (sometimes with vernix still attached), scan photos and pregnancy tests or umbilical cord and placenta.