Breastmilk and Memorial Jewellery FAQ’s Notices and Announcements
Nikki is now back to work on a Friday to complete and ship orders, everything else is dealt with by our team!
Contact Us if you need help!
Q1: How long does an order take? Can I have an update on my order? And any questions about ETA’s, progress, status or any other queries about how orders are “coming along” or “doing”.
- Current orders are estimated to take around three weeks from receipt of your returned kit to when we post
- New orders from August will be estimated to take several months. If this is not acceptable, please don’t order.
- Orders can take up six months from receipt of both payment and elements. Orders needing to be sent of for engraving and/or hallmarking will always take longer (see question 4)
- We do not offer ETA’s/progress reports etc.
- Please do not ask for updates, you need to check your order status right here
- Please don’t chase us for information, if there is information it will be on your account
- If you ask for updates you will be asked to see these FAQ’s. If you will be requiring progress reports/guaranteed updates, please order elsewhere, we are always happy to recommend someone who can offer a service with individual attention for updates, and a faster lead time. By ordering from Tree of Opals, you must promise you’re ok with our automated update policy, our lead time and our policy of not providing updates
We update orders by changing their status to organise them. If there are no updates on your account that means there’s no new information; please do not ask because we don’t want to disappoint you. When it is ready we will update the account then add shipping info. We ask clients not to ask for updates as it makes the process longer for everybody, you will be directed here. Chasing will slow down your order! Please be patient and we are working as hard as possible.
Just Contact Us if you have any trouble logging in. If you can’t see your order, let us know (you may have created a duplicate account)
Q2: Have you received my kit back? Have you sent my kit?
- Log in here to My Account to check your order status to see if we’ve posted your kit and to see if we’ve received it back
- We don’t inform clients individually. If you haven’t received your kit or your returned kit has not been marked received in two weeks, then get in touch
- We ask clients to please not to get in touch before then about receipt of elements
- Please give it time before chasing because Nikki and Joanna are both full time mums too. We are overwhelmed at the moment by constant postal queries. Please check tracking numbers yourselves to help us out, we’re very grateful!
Q3: How do I send you my elements, ashes/hair/cord etc?
- We send you a kit and here is the Sending Elements page which you must read. We usually send kits around once a week so please allow time for it to arrive. If you haven’t received it please check My Account here for your order status.
Q4: I paid for Special Delivery, why did you only send the kit first class/why did I only get a first class stamp in my kit?
- The Special Delivery you paid for is for us to return the finished jewellery to you by Special Delivery. It says “kit posted both ways, Royal Mail Special Delivery: £13” (the kit is £5 and the delivery is £8) they are separate hence the comma in between. Special Delivery isn’t something we are able to pre-purchase for you and it isn’t needed for the kit because the empty kit has little value.
Also on our Sending Kits page it advises that you must upgrade the stamp to Special Delivery at your own cost. Also see section 5.7 of our Terms and Conditions which you agree to twice when placing an order with us.
Q5: Can I order in time for someone’s birthday/wedding/holidays?
A: Yes! Order deadlines for Christmas, weddings and events are now available, please see our Weddings and Memorial Jewellery Deadline page (click here) for more info. Any deadlines for birthdays etc. must be pre-authorised by Nikki by emailing directly on firstname.lastname@example.org I will give you dates by which we must receive your order, payment and elements. You must mention the deadline required for on your order comments for it to be guaranteed.
We do have electronic gift certificates that are emailed and we give you the code. You can choose it to be sent on a physical gift card of recycled high-quality cardstock on the checkout. Or, you can order the jewellery and choose the physical gift voucher on the checkout, which will be sent with the kit and makes a lovely last-minute gift (the recipient can make changes to any item of equal value or pay the difference to upgrade).
Q5.1: Can I order for a wedding or, Christmas?
Yes, please discuss your order with us first and see our Weddings and Order Deadline pages. You can order a Gift Certificate or the jewellery (including ring sizer if required) after the deadline, and add a gift certificate on the checkout, the certificate will be sent with the kit for the lock of hair/cremation ashes which you can give somebody on the day required. They can then confirm the order/colours they would like. Christmas/holiday/gift orders can be amended to any producs of equal or higher value at any point before we receive the elements.
Q6: Can I send you a photo of what I want?
A: No, sorry. Each piece we make is 100% unique because of the huge variation in the colour and texture of the hair, ashes and cords we are sent. No piece will look alike. If you click on the magnifying glass on a photo, it will tell you the colour we used, you can then choose that colour when you order, but it’s never going to look the same.
The photos on our website and social media are examples of pieces we have made for clients in the past, our photos are not a menu to choose what you want from. This is explained in the terms and conditions, which you must promise us you’ve read before we will accept an order. Do not reply to a proof photo and say, “that’s not what I wanted, I wanted this one” and send a photo of a piece made with someone else’s ashes or hair. It’s not possible. We even get clients sending photos of a cremation ashes piece we made, asking for “that colour” in their lock of hair piece. If you want guaranteed results, please do not order from us in the first place.
Q7: Can I see a photo before you send it?
A: Sometimes if we have made a couple of variations we might send a client a photo (a proof photo) to see which they prefer. We try to check each piece with clients by sending a proof photo where possible to make sure you like the colours before your piece is set in metal (if you have colour or there are variations) and you can see our blog here about the extra cabochons. If you would like guaranteed proof photos these must be requested at the time of ordering on the order comments! We don’t send proof photos for mystery pieces or tester slots – these are only available for our normal priced items.
You are not guaranteed a proof photo. Proof photos aren’t the same quality as our professional studio photos and are only meant as a courtesy. If you don’t reply, we will send your piece without confirmation. If you don’t like the colour, we can sometimes add more white, or fewer ashes (for example) but we can’t change the colour of the ashes or hair you sent. Don’t forget that we specifically point out colour variations in our terms and conditions, which you promised us you read when you ordered.
It is quite upsetting for our artists, who put a lot of love and care into their work, to get a reply saying “I expected to be able to see the hair in the piece” (and you’ve sent in translucent/white hair) see our translucent/white hair gallery here. Or “the ashes look grey or murky brown, the colour is disgusting and I expected better quality” from a customer who has sent us grey or brown ashes… We try our best but we aren’t miracle workers! We can’t change the colour of what you send in. See question 6 above regarding colour matching.
Q8: I paid or sent in my elements and I haven’t heard a thing back? Where’s my kit?
A: Your account (click here) will be updated which you can check by logging in. When we update an order an email is sent automatically, however, our emails are often deleted by clients’ email providers, especially if you’re with Hotmail! You have to whitelist @treeofopals.com or email@example.com click here for instructions. We are working very hard to make email clients accept mail from our server. Please see question 1 regarding updates.
Q8.1: How do I add firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (our admin address) to my safe senders list on Hotmail? Your emails weren’t in my junk folder.
- Select Options from the top right (next to the question mark)
- Select More options > Safe and blocked senders (under Preventing junk email) > Safe senders
- In the space provided, enter the domain @treeofopals.com
- Select Add to list
- Ensure the safe mailing lists box has the address you entered, and select OK
(more providers are listed here). For mobile users you can request the desktop site of your email provider in your browser. If THAT doesn’t work then remember, 1 in 10 people spell their email addresses wrong when they order, just ask Joanna on Facebook to check the email address we have for you or log in with the username and password you set originally. If you’re whitelisting our email address because you can’t log in then please ask Joanna to reset your password.
Q9: What do the order statuses mean?
A: Each order has a status. Order statuses let you know how far along the order is, starting with Pending and ending with Complete. When we change your order status we’ll often add a note too, so don’t forget to check your order notes! following order statuses are used:
Pending payment – Order received (unpaid). You can open the order and pay, or check for a PayPal invoice
On-Hold – maybe awaiting contact from you, please get in touch
Cancelled – Cancelled by an admin, get in touch to reinstate
Refunded – Refunded by an admin, get in touch to reinstate
Failed – Payment failed or was declined (unpaid). Note that this status may not show immediately and instead show as Pending until verified (i.e., PayPal), get in touch to reinstate
Processing – Payment received and the order is awaiting our attention. Usually we will send you a kit and add the order details to our spreadsheets. Please check your emails (question 8.1 above) for an automated order confirmation email from firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’ve requested engraving we will confirm the text/font/position etc from email@example.com
Kit to be sent – Joanna will be posting a kit, usually within a week. Get in touch if you’d rather not wait for a kit please
Waiting for Elements – we’ve posted a kit, or you’ve told us you’re sending without one, but we haven’t received your elements back yet. If you don’t get your kit, let us know and we’ll send another one or give you instructions to send without. Please give it time to arrive (we recommend UK customers send Special Delivery so they can track the parcel themselves)
Elements received – We’ve received your elements (milk/ashes/hair etc.) and the order is awaiting allocation to an artist or goldsmith
Next for Artist – we’ve allocated your order to an artist and will give it to them next
With/New for Artist – your order is with our artist and will be worked on soon. You may see a proof photo emailed soon. If you give a preference, please remember our artists can’t always confirm they’ve received your email due to the bulk of emails we receive, but if we don’t hear back from you we will give you a nudge
Urgent – We know you’ve been waiting a while or are a priority order so we’ve put you at the top of our list
Ready to set in metal – your setting has been made and is waiting for the resin part to be made or set. If you’re having engraving and/or hallmarking, this may mean your setting is still in progress
Ready to send – your order is complete and is awaiting tracking info, we may add the tracking info before or after taking to the Post Office
Completed – Order fulfilled and complete – requires no further action
Q10: I clicked pay by bank transfer but where are your bank details?
A: They usually come up at the end of the checkout process but if you missed them please log in to your account here: if it’s showing as Pending Payment there should be a link to pay again, where you can choose bank transfer or PayPal etc. but if it’s showing as On Hold then contact us to have it changed to Pending Payment (contact form at the end of the Memorial Jewellery FAQ’s)
Q11: My transaction on PayPal didn’t complete or I didn’t have the funds – do I have to redo the order?
A: No, just log in to your account here and you’ll see your order. If it’s showing as Pending Payment there should be a link to pay again, where you can choose bank transfer or Stripe etc. but if it’s showing as On Hold then contact us to have it changed to Pending Payment.
Q12: How much hair/ash/cord do I need for a piece? My baby hasn’t had a hair cut yet!
A: Have a look at the Sending Elements page for detailed instructions on how to send your precious items to us. Don’t forget to add your order number and full name, never ever send everything and call if you get stuck.
Q13: Can you send a better proof picture? The photos on your website are much better quality!
A: We send the best we can get with an iPad or smartphone and usually work evenings to fit around childcare. Please remember that we are the only company that sends out proof pictures (as far as we are aware) and they are only meant as a quick courtesy to check the colours/style is as you were hoping. Try zooming out so the image is to scale or hold the picture further away.
The high resolution photos on our website are taken once a month using a special photography setup then transferred to a computer for post processing. Doing a studio shot is not part of the proof service and we are unable to retake proof photos if you don’t like them. Please remember that not everybody gets a proof photo, it is a courtesy sent when we are able to. Please choose from the photo we have sent.
Q14: How can I be certain you’re not just using someone else’s ash etc.?
A: Again, there’s no way to be certain but I just ask you to have trust and faith in us. From the minute we receive your labeled package it gets checked to make sure it has the right details. The order number stays with it throughout the whole process until it reaches you. That’s why we are so strict about adding your order number to your elements, it means we’re always double checking… Especially for the customers whose Facebook, order, shipping and PayPal names are different (if that’s the case please write all the names on your order). When clients drop off their elements in person we’re always happy to show them the studio with our little cellophane-wrapped orders on the board labeled for each client.
We never work on similar orders at the same time. If I have two cremation ash jewellery orders I will wait until the first is totally finished and put away before starting the next. I
“Part of the reason I started making cremation ash jewellery is because I wished with all my heart I’d kept some of my dad’s ashes when he passed away in 2010. I didn’t know I was allowed to. Every piece I make with cremation ash reminds me of my dad’s cremation and I think it honours his memory to allow people to keep their own parents, children and loved ones physically close. The idea of even spilling any ash would be dishonouring him, and the thought of deceiving anyone I can’t even imagine what he would think of that! Please read my blog A Day In The Life of a Bereavement Jewellery Artist to learn more about how I work with elements from your deceased loved ones.”
Q15: I’m still not convinced – can I DIY?
A: Please see question 14 above. Some people dye their hair at home and some people prefer to go to a well-established hairdresser with great reviews; you can certainly buy DIY kits for breastmilk jewellery but for something so important it can be nice to treat yourself. Just think of all the money you’ve saved over formula.
Q16: Is your company ethical?
A: Our jewellery is sustainable, PETA-approved vegan and cruelty-free. We use recycled precious metal and packaging where possible and although our jewellery is plastic, it is not single-use. We tried using EcoResin for a while but all of it turned yellow. More to follow soon in a blog. Nikki writes about vegan jewellery and ethics/alternatives for jewellers to traditional leather and beeswax. Nic is personally a member of La Leche League GB and The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers which are both non-profits supporting nursing families, and visits Tanzania with reusable menstrual pads every now and again. At least 10% of our work is pro bono (free of charge) for families who have lost a baby or young child.
Q17: Do your charms fit Pandora bracelets?
A: Here are some photos from our clients showing off their keepsake and memorial charm beads
A: Not at the moment. We have worked very hard to develop our settings for optimal use with resin and can only recommend our own for safety, durability etc. If you were to have one of our resin pieces set by another jeweller they may not understand the unique properties of resin. Instead please direct the jeweller to our sister site, Keepsaker Supplies, where we can provide the silicone moulds and tutorials. The site is not designed for DIY use and is for professionals only who are willing to use proper PPE (personal protective equipment) etc. Resin can be dangerous and we do not recommend it to be used by amateurs. If you would like a new career making resin jewellery please, please, please do lots of research first and keep your family, pets and yourself safe! Nikki x
Q19: Can I remove parts of a necklace or necklace add-on you’ve made or take the charms off a charm bead necklace?
A: The answer is yes, we use a jump ring that you can open, here’s a video on how to open jump rings but you don’t need special equipment; you can use tweezers and/or fingers. It’s a good question and I’m going to add the answer to the listing and our FAQ’s!
Q20: *trigger* We lost our baby, can you help us?
A: We aren’t able to offer pro bono orders but we do offer a non-profit service for families whose baby or young child has passed. Please see our Baby Memorial Jewellery page for advice on saving a lock of hair, cord/placenta or cremation ashes. We are unable to offer the non-profit service to children whose parents have passed as our jewellery is not suitable for children.
Q21: Are you a member of any professional guilds?
A: Yes, we are a member of The Guild of Jewellery Designers and have a certificate, please get in touch if you’d like to see it
and have our insurance with them, and we have our own Maker’s Mark with the Birmingham Assay Office (known as the Tree of Opals hallmark).
Our precious metal jewellery, silver, gold, platinum or palladium is all hallmarked at the Birmingham Assay Office excluding pieces under the exemption weights – please see the dealer’s notice here. Please see individual listings to find out if an item is hallmarked or under the exemption weight.
We are on the PETA UK and Australia vegan fashion and apparel lists. Nikki also runs the Breastmilk Jewellery Group on Facebook and mentors new artists in not just preserving breastmilk, but in setting the pieces in metal and designing contemporary jewellery. I’m not a trained bench jewellery (classic skills such as setting faceted stones) and I did start a jewellery course but after three sessions my husband was made redundant and I had to stop. The rest is learnt from YouTube and I get inspiration from other contemporary jewellers and artists.
Q22: Are you insured?
A: Yes. Here’s our certificate.
Memorial Jewellery FAQ’s
For more details on our artists and team please see the About Us page.
Contact our admin team here if you have any questions