There are many ways of handling a loved one’s remains. The most preferred and increasingly popular option, however, is cremation.
Aside from being an economical option compared to burials, they also offer a limitless variety of options when it comes to memorializing a loved one. It offers you the option of having a token of remembrance of your loved one.
The idea of saying goodbye to a loved one is difficult, especially knowing that you would never see them again. That is why having a piece of a loved one’s memory is important. It’s a source of comfort for the grieving family and friends, as well as, a source of healing.
That is why cremation is important. Among the many things, you can do with the ashes to commemorate a loved one. The most common idea is crematory jewelry.
A wearable remembrance like cremation jewelry is reassuring for you. It allows you to carry a piece of your loved one with you everywhere you go.
There are many forms of cremation jewelry to choose from. Because of the overwhelming choices, the decision may be difficult, this post offers detailed information about cremation jewelry. We cover the different types, as well as, the materials used to make them.
With cremation, you have the option of scattering the ashes at a location that was special to the deceased. While it’s a personal way of honoring a loved one, it is also the last chance to say your final goodbye.
You may, however, wish to keep the remains in remembrance of the loved one. In such cases, keeping the ashes in an urn in the house is a great option. The only downside is that you can’t walk around with an urn if you always want a piece of your loved one with you.
That is where cremation jewelry comes in handy. They allow you to carry a little of your loved one’s ash with you to comfort you and help you through the healing process. Other terms used to refer to such jewelry are memorial or ash jewelry.
They are not only a way of keeping the memory of a loved one close, they are also a personal expression of style. You can get cremation jewelry in different forms, such as necklaces, earrings, rings, or bracelets, depending on your preference.
The jewelry can either be designed to hold a small amount of your loved one’s cremains or you could have the jewelry made out of the cremains, by infusing it with other materials. The jewelry can also contain a personal design that reflects who your loved one was.
They are a great way of paying tribute and honoring the one you lost. Additionally, with cremation jewelry, it’s possible to share the cremains amongst family, so everyone has a piece of the loved one, to carry with them. The jewelry can also end up being a family heirloom passed on to many generations to come.
What is the History of Cremation Jewelry?
The exact date in time when cremation jewelry came to be cannot be specified. There is, however, proof that cremation jewelry, then called grief or mourning jewelry, existed throughout history.
Dating as far back as the 1500s, what was then called mourning jewelry was a custom practiced in the event of death. The family would be given mourning jewelry to symbolize their loss. The mourning jewelry was referred to as “memento mori” which translates to, “remember you must die”.
It was to serve as a reminder to the family of their mortality and encourage them to reflect on their lives as they prayed for their loved ones’ souls.
In the 1600s, cremation jewelry or memorial jewelry began to evolve. At that time, it was believed that rings should be worn in honor of the memory of a loved one. The rings were engraved with details like the name, birth date, age, or death date.
They were worn daily as a reminder of a loved one and their influence on your life. It signified the importance of the loved one’s memories and why they deserved to be remembered even after death.
By the 18th century, cremation jewelry gained traction. There was a shift after Queen Victoria chooses to give her entire household dark mourning jewelry made from onyx and black wood, in honor of the dead Prince Albert of England.
More and more people began accepting cremation jewelry and it slowly became a common practice. Around this time as well, people started using locks of hair in their cremation jewelry. Instead of keeping it in a hidden compartment, the air was instead braided or weaved into the locket.
In the 19th century during the Civil war, the practice of using locks of hair with cremation jewelry became even more popular.
This was because the men in the army begun leaving behind locks of their hair so their families would have a piece of them, in case their remains, could not make it back home.
At the time, the most common types of memorial jewelry were lockets and rings. Today, however, there are limitless options for families to choose from.
Below is a detailed description of the two main types of cremation jewelry you can make today.
Cremation Jewelry Options That Can Hold Ashes.
This type of cremation jewelry is specially designed with a small compartment that holds small amounts of the deceased’s ashes.
The compartments come in different shapes and sizes depending on what you choose. The most common shapes are hearts, crosses, keys, or tags. The compartments could be earring posts, ring crowns, or pendants, or charms on a necklace or bracelet.
The jewelry normally comes premade with the containers that hold the ashes. Depending on where you purchase it from, the package often comes with other items like a funnel and a small screw. The funnel helps fill the compartment with ash without spilling.
The small screwdriver helps open and tightly close the compartment so none of the ash falls out. There is also normally a set of instructions included to help guide you.
To make such jewelry, a hollow space is handcrafted, to run down the center of the piece. This hollow space is what makes the interior cavity that holds the ashes.
The cavity is normally hidden away, with only one access point often either at the top or bottom of the piece. The access points are normally sealed either using one of the different types of bail or stopper.
The Different Kinds of Seals.
As mentioned, there are normally three types of seals used when it comes to cremation jewelry, however, two of them are most commonly used.
These different types are designed to be discreet, while still providing easier and secure access to the interior cavity in the jewelry. The two are:
Also spelled as “bale”, bails in jewelry are parts commonly found in necklaces, where they are used to attach the pendants, charms, or stones to the chain. Cremation jewelry, they are also used to seal the access point of the interior cavity where the ashes are stored.
A classically designed bail will have a connecting ring that allows a chain to be threaded through it. This type of design is great for attaching pendants to necklaces. Normally, with a necklace, you’ll find the bail at the center. The hidden type of bail design is whereby its placed discreetly behind the pendant where it can not be seen.
In cremation jewelry, the bail used has a threaded design that resembles the bottom of a screw. This allows you to easily seal and remove the bail. Simply use your fingertips to turn it clockwise or anti-clockwise, respectively.
This type of screw is specially designed to be discreet. Once it’s been screwed in, you can hardly tell the difference of where the screw has been placed. The reason is that the screw is flush against the charm or pendant.
Unlike the threaded bail, the threaded screw can be at the bottom, back, or side of the pendant or charm. In the case of necklaces, the pendants will come with a ring at the center, separate from the threaded screw. This allows a chain to be threaded through it.
Additionally, you need the help of a screwdriver to open and close the access point of the inner cavity securely. When closing, ensure you use the screwdriver to tighten the screw until it’s sitting flush against the compartment piece.
How to Fill Cremation Jewelry.
Cremation jewelry is usually designed with small compartments to hold a little of your loved one’s ashes. It can therefore be a difficult task to fill the compartment up with the ash, especially without the proper equipment.
That is why tools like funnels and screwdrivers, along with a clear set of instructions are included in the package when buying such jewelry. The following are some general simple steps you can follow to easily fill your cremation jewelry:
Step 1: Find where the seal is and remove it.
This step is easy if you know where to look. Normally, for a threaded bail on a necklace, you’ll find it at the center of the piece, while a threaded screw would normally be on the side or back of the piece. With a bail, it should be easier to use your fingertips to remove it. A threaded screw, on the other hand, will need a screwdriver.
Step 2: Use the funnel to place the ashes.
Most kits that come with the jewelry have a small funnel to help you place the ashes into the compartment without spilling. Place the funnel in the compartment and use a small spoon to pour small amounts of the ash in the compartment until it’s full.
Step 3: Reseal the access point of the compartment.
Once the compartment is filled, put back the threaded bail or screw. Keep in mind if the compartment is too full, the seal will not close properly. Therefore, ensure that you remove any excess ash, so the compartment is securely sealed.
Step 4: Apply adhesive and securely seal the compartment.
The adhesive is applied to the thread of the bail or screw before you quickly twist it shut. You can use a toothpick to do this. The adhesive ensures that the seal is extremely secure.
Step 5: Wipe away any excess.
Once the compartment is filled and securely sealed, all that is left is to clean off any excess adhesive or spills. If it was a necklace, ensure you re-thread the chain through the pendant. After that, the cremation jewelry is ready to be worn.
What Else Can Be Put in Cremation Jewelry Other than Ashes?
While cremation jewelry is normally meant to store a small number of your loved one’s ashes, there are other tokens you can use instead.
This is especially suitable for individuals who want a piece of their loved one with them but can’t cremate them for various reasons. The following are some of the common tokens you can substitute the ashes with:
Lock of Hair.
This is a common practice after using ashes. The compartments of the cremation jewelry are large enough to hold a few strands of hair, making it an ideal substitute. As an immediate family, you can get some of your loved one’s locks before cremation or burial. If you aren’t part of the immediate family, ensure you seek permission from the family members before acquiring the deceased’s hair to use as a keepsake.
Soil from the Burial Site.
This is another ideal substitute, especially for the people who can’t perform cremation, for example, due to religious reasons. The compartment should be able to hold as much soil as it would ashes. Ensure the soil you use does not contain any rocks and is as fine as possible.
If the burial site is inaccessible to you, you can use soil from a favorite location you shared with the deceased. The point is for the soil to hold as much sentimental value as their ashes would.
Another alternative to the cremains of a deceased is their favorite flowers. Aside from having something sentimental to remind you o your loved one, using their favorite flowers is also a great way to pay homage to them.
Ensure the flower petals are dried because it will be easier to crush them into smaller pieces. That way the flowers will easily fit into the compartment of the cremation jewelry.
A piece of clothing.
Alternatively, clothes are also an option when considering substitutes for cremation ashes that you can use in the jewelry.
It can be any clothing that was a favorite of the deceased. For example, a scarf, a pair of jeans or a t-shirt. Simply cut out a small piece of the clothing and place it in the compartment of the cremation jewelry.
Cremation Ash Jewelry.
This type of jewelry is also referred to as ash jewelry. Unlike the typical cremation jewelry that is designed to store a small number of ashes, the ash jewelry is made using the ashes.
While the concept of commemoration is similar, the method of creation completely differs from that of typical cremation jewelry.
The process of making such jewelry entails infusing your loved one’s ashes with other materials like porcelain and glass. This can be further processed to produce beads or diamonds.
You can use the resulting materials to make any type of jewelry you want, from earrings to a necklace or a ring.
Ash or cremation ash jewelry, however, is quite costly. That is because a lot more goes into creating this particular type of jewelry as compared to other cremation jewelry.
The whole process could even take several days if not weeks, to complete.
Types of Ash Jewelry.
Differentiated by the creation process, there are two main groups of cremation ash jewelry. Those two are as follows:
Custom Ash Jewelry.
This refers to the jewelry made by mixing the ashes with glass. The process involves first melting the glass over high temperatures of 2,000F.
The ashes are then added to the molten glass. The carbon in the ash will be burnt off by the high temperature of the molten glass, changing its color to a pure white.
Note that if you choose to use recycled glass, the resulting product can only be pale green. On the other hand, by using new glass you can tint the resulting product to any color you wish.
Cremation Crystals and Diamonds.
Unlike custom ash jewelry, cremation diamonds are pure made from the deceased’s ashes. The process involves heating the ashes at temperatures of 5,000F, where everything is oxidized but the carbon in the ashes.
Instead, the carbon turns to graphite. The graphite is then re-heated in a press at 2,500F after being placed in a diamond seed crystal.
The heated graphite is set aside afterward for a few weeks to give it time to change into a crystal that is cut and polished based on your preference.
The creation of cremation crystals also follows the same process as diamonds. The color and cut are also based on preference and you can decide which setting you want the diamond or crystal to be kept in.
Cremation jewelry was and is meant to symbolize the grief and loss of a loved one. Aside from honoring their memory, it also reminds us of our mortality and the preciousness of life.
Over the years, cremation jewelry has evolved in type and meaning. Today, it is a popular option among grieving families.