Glass urns, being a product made mostly of transformed sand, are perhaps the best type of cremation urn for those interested in preserving the famous “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” tradition of the bible. The chief ingredient in most any glass urns is sand that, through a mysterious heating process, changes from a grainy, unruly substance to a metallic-looking solid that, chemically speaking, has many of the same properties as a liquid. (In fact, glass, arguably, one of the only substances on earth that could be classified, technically, as either a solid or a liquid.)
The glass that most of today’s glass urns come from has its roots as early as 5,000 B.C. That’s when according to what we know from the writings of the ancient historian Pliny the Elder, a crew of sailors were landed on a barren island and looking to cook their food. Unable to find any rocks with which to hold their pots over a fire, they decided to use blocks of soda powder that were part of their ship’s cargo. This decision turned out to be historic. Once heated by the fire, the blocks of soda melted into the island’s sand, and became what the world now knows as glass. From not long after that day, glass has been a valuable part of a number of man-made products, including, of course, glass urns
Aside from their connection to the Earth because of their main ingredient, sand, glass urns are an excellent choice for nature lovers for another reasons, too. Natural glass, also known as obsidian, has been around for as long as the Earth. That means that, perhaps other than marble urns, glass urns, have the distinction of being made from the oldest material from which urns are fashioned. Natural glass is much rarer and expensive than man-made glass, but it can be found in areas where sand and intense heat mixes naturally – such as in regions where volcanoes either currently exist or existed in the Earth’s early days.
Glass’s unique characteristic of behaving both like a solid and a liquid has one interesting implication for glass urns. Many people have recorded over the centuries that ancient glass windows tend to be thinner at the top than at the bottom. This is probably because glass, being part liquid, tends to “flow” downward very slowly. (Although scientists have not come to absolute agreement on this.) That means that glass urns designed in a particular shape will likely change their shape gradually, over the course of a few centuries. Experts are unable to confirm this to be the case with glass urns, because they have no way of knowing what the centuries-old glass urns that are in existence today looked like when they were new. Because many of today’s new glass urns are photographed extensively just after they are made, perhaps the question of whether the “flow” of glass affects the design over time will be answered with certainty in a few centuries.
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