FORT WAYNE, IND. (WPTA21)-A recent morning at mike Durnbaugh’s Fort Wayne home. Mike’s a dental technician who usually fashions dentures but on this day he’s putting finishing touches on a piece of jewelry the likes of which you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. This pendant is for his wife Robin’s business.
“Everybody I told my idea to pretty much thought it was a bad idea,: Robin recalls. “The more of the negative I got the more determined I was.”
Robin’s business, ‘Robin’s Loving Touch’, produces jewelry from customers fingerprints, their loved ones, even their friends. Here she demonstrates on granddaughter Olive. Robin takes the fingerprint, makes a positive impression then a lost wax cast in pure silver or 14 carat gold. The result is an attractive pendant to wear around the neck or a bracelet with prints of an entire family. Robin also works with local funeral homes, takes prints from the hands of people who’ve passed away and makes pendants for relatives to remember their loved ones by. For Robin that can be a very emotional experience.
“This is the last touch, this is the last tangible piece of their family member they have.,”
she explains. “They become family heirlooms passed down through generations. Makes me feel good.”
This is a hand print Robin took from an unborn child who died in the womb at 19 weeks gestation.
“I thought it was gonna be a horrible experience and it turned out to be actually very wonderful experience,” she says of taking the hand print. “Just this calm came over me. I knew what it would mean to the families and how they would treasure it.”
Customers can take their own prints at home, mail them to Robins Loving Touch which sends back the finished jewelry. And Robin’s work isn’t limited to humans. Here she’s taking a nose print from Prim, a schnoodle dog, for Prim’s owner. Like fingerprints an animals nose print is unique. Robin’s been in business since the early ’90’s, makes hundreds of pendants and bracelets each year shipping them to customers in all fifty states and overseas. Fashioning rememberences appreciated for many years.
‘Do you see an end in sight for your business?’ we ask. “No. No end. I think people would be disappointed if I did. Someday maybe I’ll show my girls how I do it.”