Jackie Kaufman works at her casting studio in Redington Shores. Samples of her work are on the table in front of her.
REDINGTON SHORES – Most parents are thrilled when a child loses that first tooth. Of course it is saved, first for the Tooth Fairy’s largesse, then in a small box or container and tucked away and rarely seen again. But what if that memory could be out in the open, cast in gold and worn as a piece of jewelry; the moment saved and on display forever.
That is what Jackie Kaufman and her business Rock My World is able to do. Jackie is a caster, and casting baby teeth into gold pendants or charms is just a portion of what she does, and hers has become a thriving business.
“It has been very successful,” she said. “I would have liked to have backed off a little bit but that’s not the way it turned out. I actually had to refuse some holiday orders because there were just too many and I needed some time off.”
Apart from baby teeth, Kaufman has had requests for other unusual objects. They include dog and cat noses, rat paws, hamster paws, pig noses and more. She has been able to fulfill them all.
“If you can get it into a mold then we can make it into a piece of jewelry,” she said.
The mold, it seems, is the genius of the business. If a customer wants that baby tooth, or the dog’s nose, cast into jewelry Kaufman will send a molding kit in the mail. The customer would then make a mold of the tooth, or the nose, and Kaufman says the animals don’t seem to object because it only takes a second – and send the mold back to Kaufman. The actual tooth never leaves the owner.
After that, Kaufman uses the mold to make the gold or silver replica of the tooth or nose or paw and it is then incorporated into a piece of jewelry.
The whole idea really began about five years ago. Kaufman was casting jewelry of a non-personal nature when she got a call from a former customer.
“A woman in Canada said they had an ill dog and wanted a replica of the dog’s nose,” she said. “That’s how it really started. Other people then saw it on line and it go going. I still have a picture of that first nose on line, the nose of Maggie the dog.”
Kaufman moved to Pinellas County with her husband Cliff from Fort Lauderdale a year ago. They rented a house in Tarpon Springs until six months ago when they bought a house in Redington Shores. Their business, all online sales, is operated from there.
“When we lived in Fort Lauderdale we actually had a retail outlet and had kiosks and sold at craft fairs, but five years ago we closed it all up and decided to sell strictly online,” she said. “It is easier that way because we have customers all over the world. We recently sold pieces to Australia and England.”
A recent customer from Pennsylvania can’t say enough about getting a replica of her dog’s nose. Cheyenne Mayernick’s dog Petey passed away recently and she knew she wanted a keepsake of him.
“He was sick and I knew he wasn’t going to last long,” she said. “I knew I had to do it.”
Mayernick said the whole process was rather easy.
“All I had to do was get a molding kit from Jackie and make 3 molds of his nose,” she said. “She picked out the best one and made a keychain for me. I got it back almost two months to the day.”
By then Petey was gone so the emotion of getting the keychain is something Mayernick will never forget.
“I got it on a Monday and opened it up and cried,” she said. “It was worth every penny. It does look like his nose; I am so excited by it.”
“I was telling Jackie that losing a pet is not easy. He was my first pet and the first one lost. He wasn’t just a dog and it is sad that he is gone,” she said. “My keychain is a piece of him, I will have it forever, there is nothing in my eyes that I could have better.”
Kaufman says there really isn’t an end to the things she can cast into jewelry.
“We have done over 4,000 pieces,” she said. “We’ve even done fingerprints of older people for their children to have. We can cast fingerprints into jewelry too.”