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Cremation Jewelry: A discreet cremation urn, or conversation piece?

by Wendy Jacobson

The age-old practice of memorializing a loved one by wearing a piece of jewelry continually evolves. Tribal people of the Andaman Islands (between India and Myanmar) wore necklaces made of a fiber that tied together human bone rib or finger bones. Often the necklace was decorated with human teeth. Friends and relatives wore these “chau-ga-ta” necklaces to memorialize the deceased.

In western culture, Queen Victoria is well known for popularizing mourning jewelry. She was devastated by the loss of Albert, her husband. As a way to cope, she went into an extended period of mourning and resigned herself to wearing black mourning clothes and black jewelry, and mandated that only black mourning jewelry be worn in court.

Over many years, various ways of memorializing a loved one have taken shape. With the increase in cremation, cremation jewelry has become a fashionable way to keep a deceased loved one close in a discreet manner, or in a not-so-discreet way. Today you can find jewelry in an assortment of styles to be used in a variety of ways.

Each cremation necklace, or cremation bracelet, holds a small portion of ashes that is securely sealed. While displaying a traditional cremation urn in a home remains popular, wearing a piece of cremation jewelry in honor of a loved one is becoming vogue.

Selecting the right piece of cremation jewelry

Some people choose cremation jewelry as a way to share a small amount of ashes of a loved one with family members or friends. Either way, it’s a poignant way to remember the deceased. When thinking about cremation jewelry, consider:

  • material
  • style
  • theme

Cremation jewelry is available in gold, sterling silver, stainless steel, white bronze, brass or titanium. Styles include cremation necklaces, bracelets, lockets for ashes, and key chains. Themes are even more varied and include religious, nature, hobby, and animal designs.

This variety provides a way to comfortably wear cremation jewelry without attracting attention to it and subsequently to what the piece holds. Each piece can easily blend in with other jewelry. For instance, the Diamond Cross Cremation Necklace  is elegant, yet understated, and a discreet way to hold ashes.

On the other hand, a beautiful cremation necklace can draw attention and act as a conversation starter about your loss. The Silver Hummingbird Cremation Pendant is one such piece. Its uniqueness surely could attract attention and invite conversation regarding your loved one. Your friend or acquaintance might actually be surprised to learn that it is in fact a piece of cremation jewelry that you are wearing.

The handsome Stainless Steel Urn Jewelry Pendant exemplifies a tasteful piece that is designed to be unisex. It can be a perfect choice for a man who wants to wear a simple yet elegant piece. A cremation pendant key chain - such as the Stainless Steel Urn Cremation Pendant - is an option for those who wear no jewelry at all. In fact, you can purchase many cremation pendants and put them on key chains.

Pet cremation jewelry

While dogs and other animals might not wear cremation jewelry, pet owners often store some of the pet’s ashes in a cremation pendant or necklace. It is a meaningful way to keep the memories of a faithful pet companion close to your heart. The Running Horse and the Crystal Bone cremation necklaces are a few examples. The cremation ash is added through an opening secured with a twist top. 

OneWorld Memorials provides instructions on how to fill a piece of cremation jewelry with ashes. Many pieces are designed with threaded screws to access an ash chamber. When required, a small tool and funnel are provided. Engraving is offered on select items, and is indicated in the product description.

Below are some of the most popular cremation jewelry pendants on the OneWorld Memorials' site.

Wendy Jacobson is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis with her husband, two kids and dog. She helped market her mother’s book, “Hands Off My Hope: Life Lessons on my Journey with Breast Cancer” at the request of her mom, who died two weeks after publishing it in 2008. She also is the editor of Minneapolis Happening, a digital lifestyle magazine about what’s happening in Minneapolis and the surrounding area.