As cremation becomes the choice of more Americans, we’re asked about ideas for cremated remains—besides a traditional urn. There are many options. We’ve seen cremated remains placed into holiday ornaments, glass paperweights and golf balls, among others.
Here are 14 unique cremated remains ideas:
Traditional cemetery burial with Cremation
Many cemeteries allow the burial of cremated remains. They are generally entombed in a columbarium, or buried in a traditional plot. Most of the time there’s no casket, but it is common for a gathering at the graveside with family members and loved ones prior to the remains going into the ground or the columbarium.
It is not against the law to bury cremated remains on private land, though it’s advised to get permission from the land owner before doing so. If you’re interested in a non-traditional cemetery, Life Forest is a unique option in Hillsborough, NH, where cremated remains are buried with a precise geographical locator. Those who choose Life Forest work with an arborist to pick a tree for their burial location. Families – including pets – can have their cremated remains buried at the same location. Life Forest is adjacent to conservation land, and is open for loved ones to gather and visit the grave sites, picnic and hike.
Phaneuf now offers a solid alternative to cremated remains called solidified remains, where remains are turned into stones families can hold. Many of our families are choosing this option because solidified remains are easy to hold and share with family. Parting Stone, a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based start-up, pioneered technology that offers a clean alternative to cremated remains following cremation. The solidification process returns the full amount of cremation remains in a solid and clean form resembling a collection of polished stones. The average remains result in about 40-60 stones ranging in size from thumbnail up to palm size. The color of each person’s solidified remains is 100% natural and many result in white stones, but some are a hue of blue, green, or another variation.
For centuries, diamonds have been a symbol of eternal love. Thanks to evolving technology, you can extract carbon from cremated remains to grow your own diamond. Eterneva, a grief wellness company based in Austin, Texas, takes the process of creating a diamond one step further, transforming the growth of a memorial diamond into a cathartic journey for grieving loved ones. When you choose to have a diamond made, your loved ones will receive monthly updates on the process, so they can witness the transformation of cremated remains into diamonds.
There are no governing bodies in the U.S. or within states that regulate the scattering of cremated remains. If you are going to conduct a cremated remains scattering ceremony on city, town or state land, you should follow the appropriate bylaws. Some choose to scatter remains from a boat at sea, attended by friends and family. In inland waters, this is regulated by the Clean Water Act and a permit is required from the governing state agency. The remains must be taken three miles offshore into international waters before they can be released.
Biotree urns turn cremated remains into trees. The company provides a biodegradable urn for your loved one’s remains. The center houses a tree sapling to grow a tree in memory of a loved one. Care is taken in selecting tree species that will thrive in your growing environment, complementing the unique ecosystem that surrounds them and creating a living tribute for those who now rest at their roots. A certificate is provided with each Biotree urn, which families can redeem to receive their memorial tree sapling.
Jewelry, keepsakes and pendants
Some loved ones prefer to keep a small portion of cremated remains physically close to them. There are many options of jewelry, keepsakes and pendants that hold cremated remains. Thumbies are another option, which include the thumb print of the loved one onto a piece of jewelry or a keepsake.
Fine-textured cremated remains mix with paint and are used to create a loved one’s portrait. Looking at the painting, you’ll know that part of them is actually in the artwork. Actor Dee Wallace’s husband, Chris, died in 1995, and until a couple years ago, his remains were in a closet in Dee’s home. Artist Tay Ghazi incorporated some of Chris’ remains into two paintings, one for Dee and one for her daughter, Gabrielle. Tay calls these pieces Spirit Art. “It’s hanging up and every day I look at it and say, ‘Hi, Chris.’ It’s a happier, lighter association for me, looking at a piece of art,” Dee said. “I love the idea of being able to carry a piece of someone with you or celebrate them.”
Cami Bear creates memory bears which store the cremated remains and/or keepsakes of your loved one within a handcrafted Teddy bear urn. It’s an opportunity to hold the remains close and feel comforted while journeying through grief.
Take your loved one’s remains to the skies with a skydiving scattering trip via Wentzel Flying. If you’re not up for that type of adventure but would still like to see your loved one’s remains released from a lofty level, a drone release of cremated remains may be an option, though we’re not aware of anyone offering it locally.
Approximately 240 pencils can be manufactured from a cremated body’s carbon. The Carbon Copies project by designer Nadine Jarvis turns cremains into a set of pencils that comes in a box. Each is stamped with the name, and birth and death years, of the person who died. You can remove one pencil at a time and use the box’s built-in sharpener. The box of pencil shavings becomes the urn that stores the remains.
Hourglass urns for cremated remains aren’t designed for timing, as the consistency of remains does not lend itself to a traditional hourglass. The hourglass, though, is a symbol of time’s passing, which may offer appeal to some people.
You might prefer a final destination in the ocean. Eternal Reefs offers a combination urn, scattering and burial at sea. The difference is that the eternal reefs are made of an environmentally safe cement mixture that includes cremated remains and creates artificial reef formations with a pH content that’s close to neutral. This eventually creates new habitats for fish and other sea life. Eternal reefs are available for one to four sets of cremated remains.
Yes, cremated remains can mix with ink used for skin tattooing. Engrave Ink uses “full-cycle sanitation” to create tattoo ink with your loved one’s cremated remains. Engrave Ink’s website claims they use a filtering process to reduce the remains and super heat them in a medically sterile environment. “Mechanical agitation is then used to combine the extracted carbon pigment with our premium ink. The four-week process is given a unique number and tracked all the way through, each phase accompanied with thorough safety and control activities,” according to the website.
There are many more options for your or your loved one’s cremated remains. Use your imagination , and let our arrangers help devise the best plan for you.