Keeping the Ashes

Standard urns/custom urns, glass jewellery/diamond jewellery, paintings/pencils,…which one or ones of these will you choose for keeping all or just some of a loved one’s ashes close to you? Check out the options below for some inspiring ideas.


There is a huge variety to choose from, and no need to limit yourself to just those offered by the funeral director. They can be made form just about anything – metal, wood, glass, ceramic, stone or plastic… the list continues. They can be customised from a personal belonging of your choice, or incorporated into specially designed soft toys for young children to hug. They can be ever lasting or biodegradable, big enough to hold all the ashes of one, even two people, or small enough to hold just a bit back individually or for family members (see Keepsakes), if you’ve chosen to inter or scatter the rest. There are hundreds available, follow the links below, and if there’s nothing that really takes your fancy, read on and check out some of the more “alternative” options. – a range of different styles and memorials – all sorts and designs available – Urns of all makes, models and prices

Ashes into Glass / Jewellery

By using special glass blowing techniques, a small amount of cremated ashes can be fused with molten glass and made into a truly bespoke and personal memorial.

Memorial Glass as it is known, can hold thoughts, feelings and more importantly to some, something physical of a loved one, close to them, everyday. A multitude of one off unique, mini memorials can be created – pendants, rings, cuff-links, book-marks, vases, bowls, and paper-weights to name a few.

Check out some of the beautiful design and colour options below.

Diamonds from Ash

Similar in concept to ashes in glass, and again involving heat, but this time under a huge amount of pressure, using a patented process, carbon can be removed from a small amount of ash or even hair, and certified, high quality diamonds can be created. Each one is unique, and can become a memorial to the life of a loved one, or as a symbol of your personal and precious bond.

Costing anything from £2000 to several thousands of pounds, they are certainly one of the most expensive options, but as each one is unique, and according to one companies website “molecularly identical to natural diamonds found at any high-end jeweller”, for anyone who wants a bit of “bling” that will last for ever, they are certainly hard to beat.
(Get a £125 discount voucher if when you mention is a UK based company trading world-wide, specializing in the manufacture of ‘Memorial Diamonds’ created in a laboratory from both ‘Cremains’ and hair. Mike Kelly (ceo) states “We do it almost as nature does it, we compress carbon taken from ashes or hair, to 10,000tons/sq.”, heat it to over 1300c for a long time but instead of ‘millions’ of years, the lab’ makes a raw diamond in weeks, we then cut and polish it exactly the way all diamonds have been for hundreds of years”. Phoenix Memorial Diamonds are REAL diamonds, not fake, CZ or synthetic, they posses all the properties of rare natural coloured diamonds but without the blood, sweat and tears of human toil or the worlds upheaval.

Painted Ash Art

Not so popular just yet, but increasingly so, more and more people are asking to get some of their loved ones ashes incorporated into painted artwork – be that a portrait of the person, a landscape scene that was memorable to them, or a contemporary piece. (UK based – Val Thompson) (US based)

Carbon Copies

Carbon Copies are pencils made from the carbon of human cremains. 240 pencils can be made from an average body of ash – a lifetime supply of pencils for those left behind.

Each pencil is foil stamped with the name of the person. Only one pencil can be removed at a time, it is then sharpened back into the box causing the sharpenings to occupy the space of the used pencils. Over time the pencil box fills with sharpenings – a new ash, transforming it into an urn. The window acts as a time line, showing you the amount of pencils left as time goes by.

Bird Feeders

Bird Feeder – made from either solid castings of bird food, beeswax and ash, or rotationally moulded with the ash encased inside – encourage birds to either eat and naturally purge the ash or peck through the edible exterior and allow the ash to be released over a period of time. Along with the ceramic urns mentioned above, Jarvis tries to redress conventional methods of commemorating the deceased, ultimately removing the responsibility of ash scattering by allowing external factors to decide when to lay someone to rest.

As of yet however, we have not been able to ascertain whether these very intriguing concepts are commercially available or not. If you are interested though, take a look at her website on the following link for more information:


Designer/Artist Nadine Jarvis has been exploring concepts of impermanence, decay and renewal, that are intended to make us examine our own ideas about death, and more importantly, help the grieving along their path. Amongst other challenging creations, she has designed “carbon copies” and “bird feeder”.