Fingerprints are completely unique and individual to each person. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. Fingerprints are usually grouped in to three main categories: whorls, arches and loops. Loops are the most common, followed by whorls and then arches. Your fingerprints will never wear out (no matter how hard you try) but they can be slightly altered due to scars. Criminals have even been known to use acid to burn off their fingerprints, OUCH! But even though every person’s print is unique, getting a print that’s clear enough to create fingerprint jewellery is not foolproof!
When taking fingerprints for jewellery, I usually recommend taking prints from those over the age of one year old. This isn’t because the fingerprint is yet to fully form as other companies may tell you. Fingerprints start to form approximately 4 months after conception and are fully present by the time the foetus is 6 months old. The way your fingerprint develops is influenced by factors including your DNA and even the conditions in the womb at the time of forming. This is why every set of fingerprints is different.
The reason for the age guide when taking fingerprints for jewellery is purely a size issue. Your little one’s tiny yet gorgeous fingers are so small that it is very difficult to pick up the detailed lines which make your fingerprint special. This often results in prints taken from those under a year old looking like oval splodges.
Getting a clear print-tips and tricks
I do have some tricks to try and capture clear prints from those under a year old including taking a print from the thumb instead of the forefinger and even using a toe (yes toes really do have fingerprints! well, toe prints too) which has proved very successful in the past. But every person is different. In the same week I managed to get crystal clear prints from two five week old babies yet in a 13 month old we were still struggling to obtain a clear print.
I will never guarantee that we will capture a clear fingerprint to incorporate in to silver however what I do guarantee is that I will never make an item of jewellery which I do not believe has a visible print!