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Keepsake Urns: What are they?


“Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past which can bridge to the future.”      - Mattie Stepanek


The basics of keepsake urns

Also called mini urns and sharing urns, keepsake urns are small containers for human ashes or pet ashes. When sealed, they will permanently and securely hold a portion of ashes. They are available in a variety of designs and materials to suit individual taste.

Why choose a keepsake urn?

Today, more so than in previous generations, families often live far apart from each other, across the country and around the world. The practice of cremation continues to grow. The National Funeral Directors Association predicts that cremation will reach 71% by 2020 as the chosen method of caring for human remains. Likewise there is an increase in the options available for families to remember and honor a loved one in personal, unique ways.

  • A keepsake urn can be used to keep a small amount of ashes, especially when the majority of ashes have been scattered, interred, or simply kept in a larger display urn.
  • Keepsake urns can be used when ashes are divided among family and/or friends. This can be particularly meaningful across geographic distance when it is not practical to gather frequently with family or visit a gravesite.
  • Mini keepsake urns are often considered a very special treasure, a keepsake that honors warm memories. Family and/or friends can each choose an urn design that reflects their own personal relationship with the loved one.

Which keepsake urn fits with what you want?

Because keepsakes are available in a huge range of designs, it's best to familiarize yourself with the various options. You might decide that more than one keepsake urn makes sense - perhaps a piece of cremation jewelry and a mini urn to keep on a window sill or bureau. Keepsakes also make thoughtful gifts for a family member or close friend of the deceased.

  • Small urns for ashes come in a wide variety of styles, from classic vase shapes to contemporary designs. Many have specific motifs, such as flowers, nature, hearts, patriotic, religious, or pet themes. Engraving with names, dates, or meaningful phrases is available for many keepsake urns – check product details.
  • Mini memory lamps that have small compartments for ashes are a pleasing choice, available in Tiffany or mission style stained glass or mercury glass. The lamp can be turned on, signifying quiet times of remembrance, inviting thoughts of a loved one’s presence.
  • Candle holders for tea lights or votive candles can be used as a warm symbol to evoke memories. Styles include stained glass with geometric or floral images, cloisonné, marble and crystal.
  • Photo frames are a style of keepsake cremation urns that accommodate a picture of a loved one as a visual presence in the home. Its function of holding ashes is discreet.
  • Cremation jewelry holds a tiny amount of ashes and comes in a wide variety of styles and motifs, as pendants, bracelets, or other accessories. The piece of jewelry can be a conversation piece or a quiet presence for the wearer alone.
  • Ash-infused glass can incorporate ashes into a blown glass vase or oil lamp, a glass paperweight, or a framed stained-glass piece.
  • A plush teddy bear is an option, with an inner compartment that holds a mini urn for ashes.
  • Statuary is available in sculptures such as a songbird, angel, rose, cat, dolphin and other shapes.
  • Mantle clocks are a handsome urn option, in rich woods.
  • One-of-a-kind handcrafted artisan urns offer pieces that are unique works of art to display in the home.


An affinity for a certain material can be easily matched to an urn of that substance. 

  • Ceramic urns are available in classic shapes and artisanal hand built or thrown pottery styles.
  • Glass offers the qualities of translucence and delicate beauty.
  • Marble and stone showcase natural patterns, variegations and offers the enduring strength of rock.
  • Cloisonné is an art form using copper wire and enamel to create intricate designs, often with floral motifs.
  • Urns of wood are known for their warmth and beauty of grain, available in many shades and types of wood.
  • Cremation jewelry is made of gold, silver, stainless steel or titanium. It comes in simple and affordable designs, as well as in fine jewelry designs.
  • Acrylic and cotton are the materials used in plush urns.

Sizes and costs of keepsake urns

Keepsake urn product descriptions will note the amount of ashes that can be accommodated. As an example, approximately 5 cubic inches will hold the ash equivalent of 5 pounds of body weight.

Examples of sizes:

Price ranges:

  • Prices for keepsake urns range from $24.95 up to $339.95 for an artisan urn, with the majority of keepsake urns between $39.95 and $69.95.
  • Prices for keepsake jewelry range from $39.95 on up for fine gold and gemstone jewelry pieces.