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Is cremation jewelry creepy?

Cremation will soon outpace traditional burial as the end-of-life choice for most Americans. The growth of cremation has come with a variety of options for cremated remains, the granular particles left after the cremation process. Is cremation jewelry creepy? Wearing a tiny piece of your loved one to keep them close? Well, some people find urns on a mantle piece “creepy.” Creepy is a personal feeling, and we can’t tell you how to feel.

What we can share is how others choose to memorialize a loved one’s cremated remains. The concept of cremation jewelry is not new. Beginning in the 14th century and up to the early 1900s, mourning rings were very popular. The rings did not contain cremated remains, but in some cases strands of hair from the deceased person would be incorporated into the ring.

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Nashua, NH artist Vangie Collins designs and creates one-of-a-kind glass beads that incorporate bits of cremated remains. Her customers choose the color, shape and special features of the beads, which are incorporated into rings, bracelets, or necklaces. More information is available via her website.

Art therapy

One person who knows  the ins and outs of creepy is actor and self-proclaimed “Scream Queen,” Dee Wallace, who starred in “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial”, “The Howling, “Cujo”, and many other horror flicks. Dee’s husband, actor Christopher Stone, passed in 1995, and until recently, his remains remained 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.”

For Dee, artwork trumps a traditional cremation receptacle.

“The thought of me, who’s claustrophobic, living in a box the rest of my life—I can’t even go there! I’ve done too many horror films for that,” she said.

Other memorial concepts for cremated remains include:


Scientists utilize the carbon taken from cremated remains to form an actual diamond, available in  a variety of sizes and colors. The larger the diamond, the higher the cost. Smaller diamonds run about $800. A rising trend is couples using cremated remains in engagement rings and diamonds made from cremated remains as wedding rings.


Yes, cremated remains can mix with ink used for skin tattooing. There is some online debate about the safety of this. Some say the high temperatures used to cremate a body destroy any bacteria or toxic particles from the remains. Others counter that. One company claims a solution—use “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.

A loved one’s remains forever on your skin? Some say creepy, others a loving tribute. We can’t decide for you, but as the trend toward cremation continues, we do pledge to share the many options available.

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Is Cremation Jewelry Creepy? - Phaneuf
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