Cremation Jewelry: Carrying A Loved One Close
By Larissa Breedlove
A beloved has passed away – and now a noticeable absence is a constant presence. Can such a void be filled? No. But perhaps an enduring connection can be honored and expressed. For those who have opted for cremation, a very small portion of a loved one’s ashes can be kept in jewelry.
Lockets for ashes, keepsake bracelets, and key chains are examples of several cremation jewelry options. For many, a piece provides comfort and healing, offering a physical reminder of a loved one’s eternal presence. These unique, decorative pieces can serve as a vessel for human or pet ashes.
Countless resources—books, podcasts, and scholarly articles—on the subject of loss, fail to fully prepare someone for the fiercely personal experience of grief. The practice of keeping a loved one’s legacy alive through bodily keepsakes, such as a lock of hair, dates back many generations. Its evolution into mourning jewelry, that is, the integration of a deceased loved one’s hair, for instance, into jewelry including rings and pendants, became especially popular during the Victorian Era. The rise occurred after Queen Victoria chose to commemorate the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, in 1861, by keeping a curl of his hair in a cherished locket.
Express your enduring love
Imagine the significant milestones possible in a lifetime: birth, graduation, retirement, perhaps marriage. A woman discussing her custom-engraved anniversary band or engagement ring won’t describe the value in terms of cost. Instead, she will share details of her love story. Perhaps the moment the ring was bestowed, the symbolism in the engraving, or how the ring evokes images of her wedding day’s most sacred moments. Similarly, jewelry commemorating a lost loved one carries the story of two lives bound by love.
A rose cremation pendant, for example
When we think of our closest relationships, our hearts are warmed with favorite memories. A loved one’s attributes fill our memories with unique images, scents, and even tastes. Perhaps our recently passed grandmother was a lifelong gardener. When we think of her happiest, we envision her among her prized roses, face turned toward the sun. We remember the sweet smell of her roses. And we want to hold her close for the rest of our lives. Perhaps we choose to honor her memory through a pendant shaped like a rose.
4 Steps to select a piece of cremation jewelry
Because of the range of available style choices, selecting cremation jewelry can at times appear daunting. But when we consider a lost loved one’s passion or hobby—such as gardening—as well as our own taste, making a thoughtful decision becomes easier. A few things to think about include:
- do you prefer a certain metal – gold (what color), sterling silver, titanium, or stainless steel?
- do you lean toward a masculine tone or theme, or something elaborate or feminine?
- is there a particular theme that would reflect a loved one’s preference, passion or hobby, such as football, the sea or ocean, flowers or trees, insects or other animals?
- are you keeping pet ashes and do you prefer a specific style of pet cremation jewelry?
A bracelet, or urn necklace for ashes, is a popular choice to memorialize a loved one. If you’ve narrowed down your preferred metal to titanium for instance, the Titanium Cremation Bracelet, features a chain of strong lightweight links symbolizing the interlocking power of love.
Necklaces for ashes are designed in many shapes. If a heart-shaped piece is appealing and budget is a consideration, consider a piece such as the Obsidian Heart Cremation Necklace for Ashes made of affordable stainless steel. It’s versatile enough to honor the legacy of a man or woman. Held in place by two bands suggestive of a tender embrace, this ashes pendant is a beautiful way to keep a loved one close to the heart.
Cremation jewelry can also be less traditional with nature-inspired motifs. One such example is the stainless steel Turtle Cremation Necklace. The turtle is symbolic of the journey inward to find peace, emerging strengthened to move forward. Other popular images feature dragonflies, trees, the ocean, the beach, and that ultimate symbol of rebirth: the butterfly. Military and religious themed pieces, including pendants in the shape of a cross, expand choices to meet important preferences of many individuals.
Necklace urns for ashes extend to never-forgotten pets. The Golden Cremation Pendant—My Dog, My Heart, includes an 18-inch chain. A dog’s playful figure forms the side of a heart. Other choices feature dog bones or other elements of an adored pet’s life.
Ashes can easily be added to the discreet compartment in any piece of cremation jewelry. To learn 10 steps on how to fill cremation jewelry, visit our blog that includes an instructional video.
How much does cremation jewelry cost?
An array of options exists to fit virtually every taste and budget. When determining budget, consider the type of material used. Stainless steel jewelry, for example, begins at $44.95. Cremation jewelry composed of 14K gold is comparable in price to other fine jewelry. For instance, gold vermeil pendants begin at around $150, whereas a 14K gold piece can be $1,500, and a sterling silver pendant costs in the $150 neighborhood.
A final note about keeping your cremation jewelry safe and clean. This doesn’t require professional consultation or complicated procedures. Visit our blog, “How to Care for Your Cremation Jewelry,” to learn how to best protect your piece so that you can cherish it for a lifetime.
Larissa Breedlove is a New York City-based writer and editor. Much of her work centers on loss, healing, and transformation. She lives in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx with her husband and their cat.