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Burial Urns | Cremation Urns

Cremation rates are on the rise in both the US and worldwide. The current rate for cremation in the US is nearly 34%, while some countries, such as Japan, claim nearly 100% of all deaths resulting in cremation.

There are several options to be considered when cremation is selected. Will the ashes be contained? If so, what type of container will hold them? Will some or all of the ashes be scattered? What happens when several family members or friends would like to hold some of the ashes? What is the cost involved?  This article offers helpful information for this decision-making process.

Containment of Ashes
The most common type of container for cremation ashes is an urn. Funeral homes and crematories almost always display a selection of urns. Most of these urns are manufactured and mass-produced, so many of the same styles and materials appear over and over again in funeral home showrooms.

The internet features hundreds of companies that sell cremation urns in a variety of styles and materials. Prices range from just under $100 to $1,000 and above. Some of the factors that may play into the price range are size, material, and quality.

Urn Size
The standard calculation for determination of urn size is as follows:
1 cubic inch per pound
Translated into more practical terms, this means that a person weighing 200 lbs. at the time of death would need a 200 cubic inch cremation urn. Most manufactured urns on the market today share this size.

It is important to understand, however, that many people weigh less than that at the time of death, so smaller urns can be considered if they are more aesthetically pleasing to the buyer.

Keepsake Urns
Many families or friends of the deceased choose to keep a portion of the ashes. Alternatively, some people scatter some of the ashes and keep the remainder in a cremation urn. The keepsake urn is an appropriate choice for these scenarios.  Keepsake urns can vary in size. A very small keepsake urn can hold several tablespoons of cremation ashes, while others are large enough to hold several cups. Again, the aesthetic value of the urn can be considered. Is it an attractive piece? Are the look, style, and color more important than the actual size? If so, then this is an acceptable choice.

Style and Material

Both style and material are very important in selecting a cremation urn. It is the opinion of this author that the look of the urn can reflect the spirit, personality, and personal preferences of the deceased. For example,  ceramic urns with blues in the glaze might be perfect for someone who loved the ocean. A metal urn might remind one of someone whose career was in an industrial setting, or who might want to be laid to rest outdoors. A wooden urn is appropriate for someone who enjoyed nature.

It’s advisable to take time to consider these factors so that the container reflects these aspects of the person being honored.

While costs can vary a great deal, it’s prudent to explore options. If budget is a concern, which is often the case, be advised that there are other options available through the internet. There is never an obligation to purchase the urn from the crematory. Prices range from just under $100 to well into the thousands. Most mass-produced urns are reasonable in price. They are mass-produced, which makes this an affordable choice. However, there are many urns available today at higher quality for the same price.

A handmade urn is always a lovely choice. It can be much more personalized through color and style, yet not necessarily more expensive than some of the mass-produced pieces. There are also online resources that offer customizable or commissionable cremation urns that are also artist-made. A google search for artistic urns, unique urns, or decorative cremation urns can lead you to a variety of excellent websites that offer lovely cremation urns.

The options are plentiful, especially with access to the internet. As with any important purchase, it is advisable to explore options until the appropriate cremation urn is found. First, take time to reflect about the life of the person being honored. This simple step will inform you about many of the decisions discussed in this article.



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