A memorial, by definition, is a tribute to a person or event. In the case of cremation memorials, they honor the memory of a life. Cremation rates are rapidly increasing in today’s society. Because of this fact, the choices for containment of the ashes can be overwhelming. Almost all funeral homes and crematories offer a selection of urns and cremation jewelry. However, you are not obligated to make a purchase there. Keep in mind that the ashes are given to you in a plastic bag within a cardboard box.
The internet is full of resources for cremation memorials. Before you begin your search, you might want to think about your plans for the ashes. Hopefully, your loved one expressed certain wishes about these decisions. Realistically though, this sharing of information is not always the case. So it’s advisable to think about your loved one, his/her interests, favorite places, and personal beliefs.
The ashes can be kept in a cremation urn, they can be scattered, or transformed into jewelry. Alternatively, a combination of these options is possible. Let’s start with the cremation urn.
There are thousands of choices of cremation urns in today’s market. They’re available in a variety of sizes, materials, styles, and designs. Again, you can eliminate hours of searching by reflecting on the personality of your loved one. For example, an elderly woman who enjoyed a life of gardening and nature loving would probably not want to have her ashes stored in a metal urn with a sports team insignia on it. Instead, she might like a ceramic urn with lovely colors and painted flowers. You can specify your online search by using these descriptives, such as : “ceramic cremation urn with flowers.” Ideally, it’s a good idea to find an urn that reflects the personality or interests of the person being memorialized. There’s nothing worse than walking into a home and noticing a non-descript urn that says nothing about the person who had passed. You probably never want to hear a guest say, “oh! We have that same urn!”
Cremation urns today are available in ceramic, metal, wood, glass, biodegradable materials, and more. Color is also an important factor. It’s a great way to personalize an urn. A cheerful, outgoing person would be well represented by an bright-colored urn, such as yellow or red. A more demure personality might be characterized by a lovely blue or green-hued piece.
Cremation Urn Size
One of the most frequently asked questions about cremation urns is : “What size urn do I need?” The general rule of thumb is 1 cubic inch per 1 pound of human weight. In other words, a 150 lb. person would need a cremation urn with a 150 cubic inch capacity. Most standard, mass-produced cremation urns have a 200 cubic inch capacity. While this is a safe bet, not all people weigh that much at the end of life. If you find an urn that suits your aesthetic taste, it’s fine if it’s under 200 cubic inches, as long as the person weighed less than 200 pounds.
Small or Partial Urns
Many families or friends divide the ashes so that each family member or friend can keep a memento of the loved one. This is a perfect situation for a smaller urn, sometimes called a partial urn – one that is less than 200 cubic inches, yet larger than a very small keepsake urn ( to hold a very small amount of ash: please see below). The small urn is also a good choice if a portion of the ashes have been scattered, and the rest is kept or buried.
"Love Is Blue" Small or Partial Cremation Urn
Many people choose to keep just a very small amount of ash (usually just 1 or more spoonfuls). This is the perfect situation for a keepsake urn. There are thousands of keepsake urns available today. Just as is true with any sized urn, you can search for specific characteristics, materials, or colors in an internet search, such as “blue keepsake urns” or “wooden keepsake urns.”
The keepsake urn is popular for larger families.
Many couples choose to rest together forever. A companion urn has enough capacity for two people. The first person to pass can be kept in the companion urn until the spouse or partner joins them, which can be years later. It is important, in this instance, that both parties advise their survivors of this plan. It would be a shame if a couple desired this arrangement but didn’t have it come to fruition due to lack of communication.
Where to Store A Cremation Urn
Keeping A Cremation Urn in the Home
There are a few choices around the final resting place of a cremation urn. Many people keep a decorative urn in the home. When selecting an area to place the urn, keep in mind that, if fragile, you won’t want it in a precarious position. Keep it out of reach of children or frisky pets. Many urns can be sealed permanently with an epoxy. Just ask the company where you purchase your urn for a recommendation for that.
Some people opt for outdoor urns. These urns are a wonderful idea for someone who loved nature or who cultivated a garden. The consideration in this case is weather resistance. Just be sure to ask about the material and its ability to withstand the elements when you make that purchase.
Cremation urns can be buried, either on private land, or in a cemetery that can accommodate this option. It is advisable, for environmental purposes, to bury an urn that will not have toxic effects in the ground. A green cemetery will most likely require biodegradable or natural materials. Be sure to check with the cemetery before you purchase an urn for burial.
Niche or Columbarium
Many cemeteries and religious facilities have a section for urns to be safely kept, called a columbarium. This is a wall of niches, or small compartments, where an urn can be safely installed. If you are interested in this option, be sure to check with the administration of the premises about requirements such as size of the niche, acceptable materials, etc. For example, a 12” tall cremation urn would not fit into an 8”x8” niche.
A very popular option for cremation memorial today is memorial glass. This is glass that incorporated a very small amount of ash into the making of the glass. The end result is a small sculptural piece, much like a paperweight. Color can be incorporated into the design, which lends a great opportunity for personalization, if a favorite color is used. Each company has its own procedures, which should be clearly stated at the time of purchase.
Ashes are often integrated into pendants for what is commonly known as cremation jewelry. There are plenty of styles available, including traditional pendants, metal chamber pendants, colorful dichroic glass pendants, and more. Bracelets and brooches are also commonly made for this purpose. Your internet search can specify that which you are seeking. The beauty of cremation jewelry is that you can carry the memento or your loved one with you at all times. Also, many producers of cremation jewelry will give you the option of having visible or non-visible ashes as part of the design. It’s important to decide which option you would like, and to make that choice known before you purchase the piece.
Browse our Collection of Cremation Jewelry
While we feel that it is most important to memorialize your loved one with an appropriate tribute, it’s always good to know the wishes of the deceased. As is true with estate planning, advance directives, or any other important end-of-life decision, we strongly recommend that these wishes are made known, in writing, to family and friends. In order to truly honor a loved one, you’ll want to do it according to the wishes of the person.