Preserved umbilical cords now a fad
Koreans are going to new lengths to commemorate the birth of children ― going so far as preserving and in some cases gold-plating a baby’s umbilical cord.
Among new mothers, ordering a custom souvenir made from an anatomical part of their babies appears to be a growing trend. An increasing number of companies are finding profits in processing umbilical cords and hair from newborns.
Under Korean law, selling an umbilical cord to a third party is illegal, but parents have the right to keep the cord. For 120,000 won ($110) U&I Impression, which takes mail orders, will gold-plate the cord.
Another product becoming a hot seller is a chop, or personal seal, made of clear acrylic resin, which is fashioned to contain a small section of the umbilical cord.
Agamo, (www.agamo.co.kr), which markets the product, said it took the chop idea from the Joseon Dynasty. According to the company, the Korean royal family had a tradition of storing the umbilical cords of princesses, believing that they brought good fortune.
The company also sells custom calligraphy brushes made of baby hair provided by parents. Having such brushes made 100 days after a baby’s birth was common among Korea's high-class families during the Joseon era, the company said.
Agamo said last year sales amounted to no more than 20 chops and brushes a month, but sales this year have surged to 300 items a month, which generate more than 50 million won in sales. Each chop or brush costs about 250,000 won.
by Min Dong-ki, Ser Myoja