If you're like me, hypoglycemia makes you paranoid. Not just in the moment it happens, but for weeks and months after a significant low I just feel scared -- that it might hit me again at some unexpected moment out in public and no one around me would know what was happening. Which is why I am so religious about wearing medical ID jewelry. I'm also very fashion-conscious, so that med jewelry had better look good!
I'm happy to say I've recently discovered another great provider of pretty things that could save your life in Oneida Medical Jewelry, which has recently relocated to Florida and is refreshing its historical selection of products for our med ID pleasure.
I've worn a lot of beaded medical ID bracelets in my time, but never anything leather, and certainly never a necklace. So I was delighted to have the opportunity to try out two products from Oneida over the past several weeks: their classy Italian leather and steel bracelet, and their stainless steel caduceus pendant on a shiny ball chain.
Allow me to introduce the company, review the pieces they sent me, and offer you all a chance to win a voucher for a free piece of medical jewelry of your choosing!
When Oneida (pronounced Oh-Nye-Dah) approached me recently, I was surprised to learn that the company has been around for 50 years -- given that I'd never heard of them. Turns out the organization was one of the pioneers in the medical ID world. It was founded as National Nameplate Co. in Iowa in 1963 by Genny and Don Bennett, who attended an American Medical Association meeting that year about ways to help people relay their medical conditions to others in case of emergency where they might be unable to communicate. The manufacturing experts went off and designed a medical alert necklace and metal wallet card with a custom-engraved symbol. The AMA included information on these products in a national mailing to all U.S. pharmacies, and the rest is history, so to speak.
That is, until disaster struck recently. After Genny Bennett was killed not long ago in a wildfire, the Bennett family began looking for a partner to help maintain the business. They struck gold in Sticky Jewelry, the Florida-based company that many of us in the Diabetes Community are familiar with. Oneida has now moved its small operation to Saint Petersburg, FL, to work alongside Sticky Jewelry (now about 30 employees in all). Marketing contacts tell us that Sticky Jewelry will eventually focus on personalized jewelry, whereas Oneida will remain the core medical ID brand.
What's on Offer?
They're now offering not only their own custom-made products -- such as their signature raised, hand-soldered emblem -- but also select pieces from other great vendors like ChicAlert (featured here last year) and Links of Hope, a nonprofit organization that teaches women in Honduras how to create beaded jewelry and helps provide for their families.
Their bracelets span the gamut from fun kids plastic bands and colorful sports bands at $5.99 and $7.99 respectively to the very guy-friendly dark coffee leather ID bracelet at $37.99 to a classic elegant ladies bracelet complete with solid sterling silver Figaro chain at $84.95. The necklaces range from this fun flip-flop design ($24.99) to a variety of heavy-duty dog tags, to medical pendants that are actually attractive, like this blue and silver one ($19.95 with basic chain).
According to spokeswoman Kylie Thigpen, some points that set Oneida apart from other med jewelry vendors are: competitive low prices and free engraving; live customer service agents available 6 days a week, so you can reach a real person; and all stainless steel products are made with 316L Marine grade stainless steel that's hypoallergenic and non-corrosive, so it will last for years and not hurt you.
She says they also put an emphasis on finishing and shipping FAST -- as in, an order goes from placed to shipped in 3 days or less, regardless of shipping options.
"I've found that when people take the time to order a medical ID, they need it soon. It's so important to wear medical jewelry, so it's important you get it fast," she says.
OK, fast is good, but what about wearing their stuff?
As noted, I chose a bracelet and necklace that are frankly out of my usual comfort zone for medical ID -- but have discovered that's what makes them so fun to wear.
The leather-band bracelet really does look modern and elegant, and I love that the combination of black and brown assures that it matches with everything. It also has this fantastic folding clasp that makes it waaaay easier to put on yourself than those tiny catch-clasps on most chain-style medical bracelets. Two lines of engraving fit beautifully on the back of the shiny plate. My only complaint is that the metal name plate doesn't stay put on the leather, but sometimes slips toward the clasp one way or the other. I wish it didn't do that. Also I should mention that they seem to run a bit large. I would have liked mine smaller, so as not to move up and down my arm so much. I'm trying to think of it as a bangle...
I chose the plain brushed-steel-look caduceus necklace because I know myself; if the necklace screamed, "Look, I have a medical condition! See it right here on my neck?!", I would never wear it. That's just me. This necklace is subtle enough to look like actual jewelry, yet (hopefully) recognizable enough in case of emergency. The chain is a good length at 20.5“, and I had the same two lines engraved on the back of this one: "Type 1 Diabetic / Insulin-Dependent." That ought to do it, even for the most unfamiliar EMT... right?
In short, I think the products are solid and the prices are reasonable -- especially with no extra charges popping up for engraving. You can even "build your own bracelet" with lots of fun choices at this link. Their beaded strands are pretty darn nice as well.
Want to give Oneida a try? Enter our giveaway, below...
A DMProducts Giveaway
Interested in winning a $50 Gift Voucher for Oneida Medical Jewelry?
Entering the giveaway is as easy! You know how it works:
1. Just post your comment below and include the codeword "DMProducts" -- a valid email address is required to win.
2. This week, you have until Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, at 5 p.m. PST to enter.
The contest is open to all. Best of luck!
* This contest is now closed. Congrats to Brianna, who is the voucher winner! *