LONG ISLAND CITY — A Queens-based design firm is putting a new face on the traditional baby gift.
Long Island City's Cameo by Rux crafts wooden baby rattles that are carved to mimic the contours of a person's face.
Held upright, the curved edges on both ends of the toys match the silhouette of a loved one, crafted by hand based on a photo of mom, dad, grandpa or grandma.
Founder Russell Greenberg, 33, said he got the idea to incorporate people's actual profiles into his work a few years ago, when he was shopping for wedding bands.
"I was getting married, and I couldn’t find the ring that I liked for myself," he said. So he made his own, crafting a band with ridges that match the contours of his wife's face.
Then two years ago, when his son Kingston was born, he made his first baby rattle, with the likeness of his own face on one side and his wife's on the other.
"My son's birth was the inspiration behind it," he said. "It was a sort of passion project of mine, and a very personal thing."
Cameo by Rux sells the rings and rattles, plus bangle bracelets and other items that incorporate the same personalized concept. The baby rattles go for $180, and come etched with the child's name on the handle.
"You know how they used to dip little shoes in bronze? It's almost like an update to that...It's a really different approach," said Julia Kemp, who works for the product launch website The Grommet, which sells Greenberg's rattles.
She said the unconventional toys are popular with shoppers who want something other than what's found on the typical baby gift registry.
"This is one of those gifts that will just blow parents away," she said.