What Type Of Cremation Urn Do I Need To Store The Ashes of a Loved One?
Alternative Urn Suggestions
The type of urn you choose for a loved one is based on Personal Choice rather than ‘Need’. When choosing an urn, many people will choose something that would appeal to their loved one with many choices based on their favourite colour, sporting team, hobby or trade.
Urns come in all colours, shapes, sizes and material so your choices are far from limited.
The majority of manufactured urns are made from either brass, marble and timber but can also come in pewter, ceramic, bio-degradable cardboard and a variety of other materials.
Really any airtight container can be used as an alternative to the more common manufactured urns but if it’s 100% security you’re looking for then you can’t go past the steadfastness of the brass urns.
Most brass urns have an extra long threaded lid in either the top of the base of the urn to safely secure the ashes without the worry of spillage, dampness or other foreign matter from getting in. In addition to this, you can be sure that your urn will survive should it succumb to a nasty fall off its resting place thanks to that curious cat or the kids sword fights. These urns can also be sealed with a water-resistant glue prior to tightening making them almost 100% protected from any outside elements.
Urns made of marble are visually stunning and also very sturdy but there is the risk of breakage in a fall. Marble urns in general, don’t have screw top lids and are more likely to have a lid that fits snugly into it’s opening. This can be glued for added security but I have come across many people who prefer not to use glue to seal the urn. Most people prefer to have that option of being able to open the urn for whatever reason. Some like to add items to the urn while others have been known to add the ashes of an extra family member in the same urn. Some marble urn styles have a threaded opening in the base.
Timber Urns, more commonly known as Ash Boxes, are an old favourite of carpenters, cabinet makers and builders for the obvious reasons. War Veterans and RSL members also lean towards the timber urns. Many timber ash boxes have a purpose-built section for mounting photos, medals and other keepsake items which make them highly suitable for the purpose of displaying War Veterans medals. Timber Ash Boxes usually have a base opening which is fixed in place with screws. They are very sturdy and strong but it’s advisable to keep the ashes within a plastic bag to prevent any possible leakage of dust particles and to stop dampness from getting inside. The drawback to a Timber Ash Box is the unlikely event of it being subjected to fire.
Keepsake Urns are smaller versions of all the types of urns I’ve mentioned above. They are commonly used as ‘sharing urns’ meaning that the ashes are divided and distributed into several keepsake urns, usually one for each member of the family. Keepsake Urns are also suitably sized to hold the ashes of a very young infant or small pet.
Cremation Jewellery is a new concept whereby a small amount of ashes (usually less than a teaspoon) is placed inside a specially made pendant and worn on a chain as a beautiful piece of jewellery and the perfect way to keep a loved one forever near to you. Cremation Jewellery pendants come in all sorts of shapes and designs, some of the most popular are hearts, crosses, angels, wings, tear drops and miniature urns.
As I stated earlier, many types of containers are suitable for holding the ashes of a loved one, you may find you want to separate yourself from tradition and use your creative imagination.
Here are some suggestions for alternative cremation urns:
The wife of a gentleman that made his own home-brew used an antique beer keg to house his ashes
A clock-makers wife kept his ashes inside the casing of a an old mantle clock that he was very fond of.
The widower of a wife who loved going to the beach, bought a plain timber box then adorned it with shells from her favourite beach.
The children of a fireman used a vintage fire extinguisher to house the ashes.
While these ideas may not suit everyone, they are a broad guide-line to some of the many options that are available when considering what and where to house the ashes of a loved one.
The final decision must always be one that makes you happy.
Final Note: It’s always a good idea to keep the ashes in a plastic bag before placing them in the urn or container. This gives the ashes added protection and can prevent spillage from some types of urns that don’t seal completely airtight.
For detailed instructions on how to fill an urn, please see my article How To Fill and Seal A Cremation Urn
For more information on cremation urns or ash boxes online I highly recommend The Classic Urn website.