• Scroll to the bottom of this post for a chance to win $150 toward your own piece of custom jewelry •
I often have this worry that I’m not doing enough to capture my daughters’ fleeting childhoods. I don’t just mean taking photos or logging milestones in baby books (which reminds me, I need to log milestones in baby books). I mean keeping trimmings from first hair cuts, hand prints from daycare art projects, the baby hat they wore home from the hospital: tangible, tactile things that I can touch and feel, and that will remind me of their smallness when they’re not so small.
So when Suzanne Henderson, a fellow Kelowna mom and small business owner, contacted me about making personalized fingerprint necklaces for both of my kids, I jumped at the chance.
Henderson’s business, Smallprint Okanagan, is actually really cool. She makes handcrafted jewerly that literally captures the fingerprint of a loved one in silver.
We stopped by her Kelowna home and my kids played in her living room while she explained how she turns fingerprints into jewelry. It’s a lot like baking cookies, only you’re making a necklace (or other piece of jewelry) rather than shortbread.
She starts by rolling out the silver, which at this point looks like a glob of grey silly putty, smoothing it out with a tiny rolling pin.
Then comes the tricky part: first a wriggly three year old, then an even wrigglier 18 month old, gently press their finger into the silver. Suzanne was fantastic at it, and we got Isla’s finger print in one go, and Polly’s in only two attempts.
Then you sort through a selection of pendant shapes, which look like small cookie cutters (seeing where I’m going here with the baking analogy?), and she presses the cutter into the silver around the fingerprint, carefully removing the excess.
And voila. Suzanne then fires the silver in a kiln and out comes a beautiful, solid piece of silver with the fingerprint perfectly engraved in it. Because there are no moulds, the pendants have literally been touched by my children’s little fingers – I can feel the grooves in their fingerprints. Here’s how they turned out:
She even inscribed their names and ages on the back of each pendant:
What got me most excited about Suzanne’s business is that she can make so many other pieces of silver, including bracelet charms, dog tags, cuff links and key chains. It’s totally customizable – you choose the shape and size.
And you can also make jewerly out of hand and footprints, drawings and love notes. For hand prints, Suzanne mails clients special paper – kind of like Crayola’s Color Wonder paper – along with something that looks like a tiny wet nap. You wipe the wet nap on a hand, foot, or even your dog’s paw, press down on the paper, and a perfect imprint is left behind. This is how it looked when my three year old did it:
Suzanne can then scan that image into her computer, and use that captured image to imprint it back onto a piece of jewelry. You can do this with a loved one’s signature, a cherished letter or note, or even the fingerprints of people who live outside the Okanagan, and aren’t available to do the process in person. Even a child’s drawing can be shrunk down and imprinted onto silver, and given as a gift on a key chain, necklace or bracelet.
I’m already dreaming up gifts for my mom, my husband, and even my daughter – who seemed to think the pendant necklace was for her, and now wants one with our dog’s footprint, shrunk down onto a tiny piece of silver to wear around her neck.
With Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) just around the corner, Smallprint Okanagan offers unique gifts that you can’t find anywhere else, and that are personalized just for the recipient.
If you’re interested in having Suzanne make something special for you or someone you love, visit her Facebook page here. Better yet, enter the contest below by entering your email address and liking the Smallprint Okanagan Facebook page, and be entered to win $150 toward an amazing piece of custom jewelry.
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