When I was younger, I recall being jealous of my peers who could wear cheap costume jewellery and not get covered in welts. I hated that I couldn’t wear the $5 multi-pack of earrings from Claire’s without enduring extremely itchy and inflamed earlobes. I resented that my sensitive skin meant I couldn’t rock the mood rings, friendship necklaces and chokers that filled my girlfriends’ jewellery boxes. As an adult, I stopped wearing jewellery aside from my wedding rings and a simple, sterling silver chain that my husband gave me long before he was my husband. It wasn’t till I caught a rerun of a CBC Marketplace investigation on toxic jewellery that I even remembered how I used to yearn for costume necklaces. Turns out, I’m grateful for my sensitive skin! Many pieces tested by Marketplace came back with high levels of cadmium. Yeah, that’s nasty stuff. When ingested, it is a carcinogen. You can read more here. I wasn’t much for putting jewellery in my mouth as a kid, but a lot of my friends were. I remember classmates who would nervously suck on their necklaces during a test, for example. And as a mother in the CBC Marketplace piece pointed out, lots of women wear costume jewellery, and when they hold a baby, guess what that baby does with that jewellery!
By now, you’ve probably heard of “chewlery” or “teething necklaces.” These are funky necklaces and bracelets made of food-grade silicone beads, designed for moms to wear so their babies can safely play with them and suck on them. I love my chewlery pieces, but I don’t really wear them if I don’t have my baby with me, and they tend to get covered in fluff and fur because the silicone beads are slightly sticky. I miss wearing my subtle, silver chain with its tiny cubic zirconia charm. (My Mom says that I’m the kind of woman who makes a cubic zirconia look like a diamond. Love you Mom!) With Little Miss constantly in my arms or in the baby carrier, however, this necklace is too fragile for her curious little fingers. This is why I decided I needed some mama metal. I discovered Silver Seedling on Instagram and fell in love with her Wolf Talisman. While her line of Talisman necklaces is not specifically “mama metal,” she assured me my necklace would still be strong and safe for pulling. (Her “mama metal” line is called “Heirloom.”) Made of casted sterling silver, my wolf’s head is flanked on either side by garnet stones, and the chain is 24″.
I absolutely love how this necklace looks with everything in my wardrobe. I am not the kind of gal to change up my jewellery (or my shoes or purse for that matter) depending on the outfit. If I like a necklace, I want to wear it with everything. (Pajamas included.)
As for Little Miss, she was immediately attracted to the necklace, especially because it seems like something she shouldn’t be allowed to touch. It’s long enough that she doesn’t try to choke me with it, and while she has definitely given it a few strong tugs, it’s no worse for wear. This is a piece designed to last; a piece that I could have repaired if ever it did get damaged.
It’s not meant to be sucked on and gnawed on like silicone necklaces, but I’m definitely not worried about any toxic metals if she does put it in her mouth sometimes. She really just likes to fiddle with it between her fingers while she’s nursing or hanging out in the carrier. And I just like feeling like I have some style when I’m wearing it! It’s perfect for my fall/winter wardrobe of flannel and cozy sweaters. My preschooler is also a big fan of my wolf necklace, and he likes to play with it while we are cuddled up reading stories at bedtime.
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The metalsmith behind Silver Seedling is mother of two, Nikki Hollett. Her jewellery is crafted at her home studio on Vancouver Island and inspired by “natural elements, faery tales, animal spirits and ancient wisdom of the heart.” To follow her on Instagram is to fall in love with her artistry!