Cremation jewelry is a way of memorializing a
loved one that allows mourners to carry a small bit of the deceased’s ashes
with them wherever they go. There are a
number of different ways of making cremation jewelry. No matter which someone
chooses the result is a lovely piece of jewelry that either contains ashes or
was made from the ashes of someone very close to the wearer.
While cremation jewelry is a relatively recent
phenomenon, memorial jewelry dates back hundreds of years and crosses many
cultures. Lockets containing the photos or paintings of deceased family members
were fairly common, as were rings inscribed with the name of a loved one. This
memorial jewelry didn’t contain cremated remains — or cremains, but the
sentiment was the same.
Today, cremation jewelry allows you to keep
the memory of your loved one alive while also literally keeping a small part of
them near your heart at all times.
Types of Cremation Jewelry
There are a few basic types of cremation
jewelry, differentiated by the way the ashes are treated and included in the
jewelry’s design process.
This is the most common, and least costly type
of cremation jewelry. It involves sealing in the ashes of the deceased into a
small cavity inside of a locket, bauble or charm, which is then hung as a
pendant from a necklace or bracelet. In essence, the wearer carries a miniature
urn with them made to resemble a fine piece of jewelry.
Instead of carrying the ashes inside a
pendant, jewelry makers can mold the ashes directly into the jewelry’s
structure. This allows a much wider range of design possibilities.
The most common process for integrating
cremains (cremated remains) into a piece of jewelry involves melting glass at a
high temperature and then creating a mixture of ashes and molten glass. This is
then molded by skilled jewelry makers to create exquisite showpieces that
directly integrate both the memory and the physical presence of the deceased.
These have only been possible within the last
decade or so. The process involved is the same one used to create regular
man-made diamonds. However, the carbon which is converted into a diamond comes
directly from the cremains of the deceased.
Memorial diamonds are the most expensive form
of cremation jewelry, but also the most durable. As they say, diamonds are
Filling Memorial Jewelry
If you choose a miniature urn, or
pendant-style piece of jewelry you may need to add the ashes yourself. This
isn’t a difficult procedure, as the amount of ashes required is minimal, so the
chance of accidents is low.
You’ll want to put down some newspaper on a
flat surface to catch any spillage. Then, using a very small spoon, or a tiny
funnel you’ll gently add the required amount of ashes until the jewelry is
full, leaving enough space to replace the cavity stopper. If glue is required,
you would apply it after the ashes have been added.
If you opt for either molded jewelry or
memorial diamonds you won’t need to add ashes to the jewelry yourself. Instead,
you would forward some portion of the total ashes to the company or individual
creating the custom piece.