As I edge my way into my 40’s, I’ve found myself more interested in what will happen if I should happen to pass away. Where would I want my cremated ashes to be placed? Is there a way that my ashes could somehow become a reflection of who I am? What if I want to do something different?
What do you put cremated ashes in? Of course, the obvious answer is a formal urn or box. You can pick these up at any number of online markets; even Amazon carries hundreds. But what else? My research has taken me all over the web, and there are thousands of unique products designed to either store, scatter, or use cremated ashes.
People are always looking for unique ways to remember their loved ones after they’ve passed. For centuries we buried or cremated the bodies of our loved ones ourselves and so had a much closer bond with the process of death and dying.
Now, as we have moved so far away from that, I, along with many others, don’t want to be buried in the ground or scattered off a mountain top. I don’t want my ashes in a fancy jar on someone’s mantelpiece. Luckily there are thousands of unique places to put cremated ashes.
I scoured the web, researching all the unique, beautiful, slightly disturbing, and just plain weird ideas for cremation. I hope you’ll enjoy my somewhat strange look at different ways to store your ashes.
13 Unique Ideas
Always wanted to go out with a bang? Well, you’re in luck. Several companies offer to do just that, with your cremated remains.
Heavenly Stars Fireworks out of the UK, is just one of these companies. You can choose to buy a set of self-firing fireworks or an entire fireworks display extravaganza! These shows are professionally launched and personalized to your wants. Imagine your friends and family, remembering your spirit and lust for life by launching your remains into the beautiful night sky.
Colorful, booming explosions off in the distance, a great memory to leave behind.
And they said you were “extra”...
“Buried” In Space
Some people are just entirely “out of this world.” For those unique and special folks, this service has been created to launch you or your loved one's ashes into outer space.
Celestia Is a company that focuses not only on orbits around the earth or launches into deep space. This unique company, a pioneer in space burial, will actually place your ashes on the surface of the moon. A lunar memorial: no matter where you are in the world, you will always be near someone who loved you.
Become A Tree
Instead of becoming "dust in the wind," why not have your ashes build a better world?
A company called Bios is doing just that with their unique biodegradable urns. When deciding how you want your ashes dispersed, this is a novel solution. Urns are made to be put underneath any kind of tree.
My imagination runs wild with ideas here. I suspect these urns could be planted underneath other types of plants as well (roses are a lovely idea.)
Nourish A Redwood Forest
Becoming just one tree not enough? Why not nurture an ancient redwood forest on the beautiful North Coast of California?
Seeing as how this is where I grew up, I just had to add this to the list.
Better Place Forests has been inspired to create a unique way of dispersing ashes, putting them into the soil of redwood forests in both Santa Cruz and Mendicino counties.
This eco-conscious company renaturalizes the soil after the spreading of ashes, making sure the right nutrients are available to the trees. The trees are then nourished by your ashes, and you become part of the ancient, mystic redwood forests.
What a beautiful place to be scattered and what a lovely place to come and remember someone.
These other ideas are cute, but what if you really want your loved one close to your heart? How about a tattoo made from the deceased's ashes? I don’t think there’s any way to be physically closer to a loved one that’s passed on, then to have them as part of your skin.
In this genuinely unusual, but beautiful idea, a portion of ashes would be combined with tattoo ink, creating a forever memorial that would be with you, always.
Although this may not be a new idea, it’s one that is still somewhat controversial. If you’re interested in getting a tattoo with your loved one's ashes, contact your favorite local tattoo artist and ask if they would be open to this idea.
It must be mentioned. However, there may be a dangerous element to this procedure. Some have complained of longer healing times on their tattoos as well as some allergic reactions. We’d proceed with caution on this one.
I have to admit, I kind of love this idea.
When I started wondering, what do you put cremated ashes in, I never thought I’d find this.
Heart in Diamonds is a unique diamond jeweler that specializes in turning ashes into fabulous sparkling jewelry. Their 5-step process is a simple one. The buyer picks the style diamond they want, sends in their loved one’s ashes, Heart in Diamonds then uses an extraordinary method to extract carbon from the remains. After this extraction process, the carbon is then used to make a beautiful new diamond.
Imagine this unique family heirloom being passed on for generations.
Stuffed Animal Urn
Of course, you can get many unique urns almost everywhere these days. Honestly, check out google for some truly kooky designs.
But, this stuffed teddy bear urn is truly something unique and beautiful. It has a special compartment in the back where you would place the remains, which are inside a cloth bag.
Stuffed animals are a soft and cuddly way to remember someone who has passed.
This is truly beautiful. As a lover of all things briny, I admit I think this is where I’d want to be placed.
Imagine a beautiful undersea memorial stone, placed off of the magnificent coast of Miami, Florida. Your stone becomes not only an uncommon remembering place but also becomes part of a real, functioning reef. These reefs are accessible to the public and have been known to get mourning visitors that snorkel through its beautiful archways.
An ocean lover’s last dive into the dark.
Looking at the gorgeous swirls of colors and bubbled glass, one gets a feeling of the infinite.
This specializes in making ashes into incredible works of glass art. It's a relatively straightforward process, you order from their website, and they send you a collection kit. Once you’ve gathered a small number of your loved one's ashes, you send them in to become one of a kind works of art!
Of course, after passing, you’ll want to leave behind the perfect image of yourself to be remembered. But, what if there was a way to make that portrait even more special?
Cremation Portraits offers its clients a way to memorialize loved ones using only ashes as a painting technique. Painting, in this way, is an amazingly loving and pure way to memorialize a loved one. Imagine having not only the artist’s thoughtful rendering of the departed but also having the ashes on display.
This remembrance is one people will undoubtedly be talking about for years to come.
If tattooing or otherwise using cremation remains seems a bit too much, this necklace is a lovely way to remember the departed.
Simply open, fill the jewelry with ashes and wear forever as a keepsake, near and dear to your heart.
The Company Minicremation also offers several unique jewelry designs. I’m especially drawn to the customizable rings and bracelets.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, my favorite options are Columbariums. They’re typically a building inside of cemetery with small niches for urns to be stored.
The beautiful thing about a columbarium is that you can put other mementos in the niche, including photos, special toys, all kinds of tokens from your loved one’s life. These buildings are typically quite remarkable, with stained glass windows and quiet places to sit and remember.
The San Francisco Columbarium is a personal favorite for its ornate, delicate beauty.
Have you ever thought about having your ashes put into a bullet? No? Well, why not?
Holy Smoke LLC is an unusual company that takes your loved one's ashes and makes them into real, live ammunition. They even have colored smoke bullets that can be shot off in all kinds of combinations.
No matter where we choose to put our ashes, or what it says about who we are, in the end, it’s how we lived our lives that will matter most.
So, while becoming part of a living coral reef does sound appealing, once I’m gone, will I really even care? So next time you ask yourself, “what do you put cremated ashes in?” just remember, you can put them in almost anything!
Until next time, dear reader.