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How to Choose the Right Urn

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How to Choose the Right Urn

While the popularity of cremation continues to grow, consumers are still unsure about the many options that are available to them.  In the past, urn options were somewhat limited, but that is no longer the case.  There are many different types of urns in which to place the cremated remains of a loved one.  Options include elegant urns suitable for display, special containers designed to fit into mausoleum and columbarium niches, urns that are suitable for traditional ground burial, as well as carefully crafted urns that aid in the scattering process and eco-friendly biodegradable products. When you consider the vast array of colors, designs, and materials available, the options are virtually endless.


Urns for Cemetery Interment
Nowadays, cemeteries in large and small communities offer a variety of permanent memorialization options to their cremation families.  From traditional ground burial, to inurnment in a columbarium or mausoleum niche, the type of urn you select will depend on what you plan to do with the cremated remains.

Burial urns can be made up of any material, including marble, bronze, and porcelain.  When ground burial is chosen, most often the urn is placed into an urn vault to help protect it from the elements.

Cremation niches can have a solid front on them where the urn cannot be seen, or in many areas the niche can have a glass front where the urn and personal mementos placed inside the niche are visible. The type of urn suitable for niche interment varies by cemetery.  Based on the size of the niche will determine whether it will accommodate one or more urns as well as the size of urn or urns that will be able to fit inside.  For those cemeteries that offer glass front niches, the opportunity to express the deceased’s personality through the selection of a unique urn is very desirable to some families.


Scattering Urns
If a loved one wanted to have their cremated remains scattered, many urn choices are available for this event.  There are wooden boxes that are made especially for scattering ashes.  The top of the box slides open to allow the ashes to be scattered more easily.  Ceramic, cloisonné, and crystal urns are also popular for scatterings because they can also be a keepsake that can be used as a vase for flowers after the ashes are scattered.

Several designs are available that are biodegradable over time, providing a eco-friendly option to those concerned about the environment.  Urns made from hand-made paper or biodegradable cloth vessels can be buried as well as placed in a body of water.

To scatter ashes in the ocean or another body of water, there are several hand-made pressed paper designs.  These vessels will float on top of the water for a few minutes, providing time for a final farewell.  They will then sink to the bottom and eventually biodegrade.

Another type of vessel that can be placed in the ocean is a hollow cement ball with holes.  It is weighted on the bottom to keep it in place on the ocean floor.  Called reef balls, they actually look more like a dome, having a flat bottom.  The cremated remains are mixed with cement before the ball is formed.  This ball is then dropped into the ocean where it will rest with the cremated remains of others to form a man-made reef system.  After placement in the ocean, sea life will take up residence on the artificial reef, essentially turning it into a living memorial.


Elaborate or Simple Keepsake Vessels
Many families opt to keep some or all of the cremated remains of their loved ones as a personal tribute to a life that was lived.  A portion of the cremated remains can be divided among family members and placed in beautiful figurines that can be displayed in the home.  Angels, dolphins, and miniature urns of bronze or marble provide lovely reminders of a special life.

Jewelry is another choice for keeping a loved one near.  Specially designed pins, rings, bracelets, and pendants available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes are available.   These jewelry items are designed with a tiny hollowed out area in which a small amount of cremated remains can be added.  Once the area is permanently sealed closed, the unique piece of jewelry can be a cherished family heirloom to be honored by generations to come.

Whether you desire to have a permanent resting place in a cemetery, be environmentally friendly even in death, or wish to be scattered, there are many urn options available to meet your needs and budget.  All of these provide a beautiful remembrance of a life well lived and each provides a way to memorialize a special life in a way that reflects how they lived.