What Materials do Cremation Urns come in?
Wood Cremation Urns
When faced with the task of selecting a cremation urn, many families are often put off with the idea searching for the final resting place of a loved one. They often have a similar fear of picking an urn that, in the end, does not pay proper tribute to their dearly departed. This is understandable, as this is one of the most important decisions in life that one will make. For those who are having trouble finding an urn that seems to be 'the right fit' we would like to suggest a wooden cremation urn. Wooden urns are truly the underdogs of the memorial urn line, as many have the idea that they are not as unique, or wouldn't stand out as well as say, an urn made of bronze or glass. This is simply untrue. Wood Urns are unique memorials in just about every imaginable way, and that’s what makes them perfect for paying tribute to any unique personality. Wood cremation urns are available in a wide variety of styles made from many different types of woods, and they are available for a huge number of memorial purposes, ranging from indoor displays to burial in environmentally-friendly grave sites. And the designs offered by wooden cremation urns are just as extensive. They can range from elegantly turned vessels for ashes, to elaborate, three-dimensional scenes created from different types of woods, such as the urn above. The manufacturing processes used to create wood urns are also the most varied of any type of urn, and that is what makes wood urns, perhaps, the most unique of all cremation urns. Wood cremation urns are often made by hand, but beautiful pieces are also carved by machine and then hand finished. Below we list some of the more important highlights of these amazingly unique features that have made wood cremation urns the perfect tribute to generations of family’s precious memories.
Wood Cremation Urn Designs
Wood urns can and do take on a vast array of differing designs, ranging from the very simple to the very complex. These designs often play a factor in the cost of an urn, with the more simple designs often costing far less than the more complicated ones. But that rule does not necessarily hold true in each and every case. It is often the situation that a very expensive or rare exotic wood may be used to create a wood cremation urn that is very simple, such as the elegant turned vase to the right, and, therefore, that non-complex design would result in an overall price of an urn that is far more expensive than a complicated design on a less expensive piece of wood. Many wood cremation urns are simply elegant pieces of fine, rare wood that are to more complicate than smooth cube. In fact, many of America’s finest military hero’s are remembered with an elegantly designed military urn that is simply a block of gorgeous wood that has been hollowed out to make room for the remains. On the contrary, wood cremation urns can also be great for remembering loved ones with more flamboyant personalities. A wood cremation urn’s ability to be customized with hand-made adornments means that it can be crafted to reflect the life and attitude of just about any special life.
Types of Wood for Wood Cremation Urns
Wood cremation urns are available in just about any type of wood available. Many people have been known, for example to find a special type of exotic wood while on a foreign vacation and to bring a piece back to be carved into a vessel. Just about any wood will translate well, when treated to a marvelous finish by a caring hand, into a wood cremation urn. But that said, a wood urn does not necessarily have to be made of exotic wood in order to be special (and, in fact, many environmentally conscious people who are eager to protect the world’s rarest trees may wish to avoid exotic woods altogether). Some of the most elegant wood cinerary urns available, including those mentioned in the previous section meant to honor many military hero’s, are made from very commonly found, but elegant, woods such as oak, walnut, cherry or mahogany. These standard woods, when properly carved and finished, make for wood urns that will last for generations and become precious heirlooms for any family.
Uses of Wood Cremation Urns
Wood cremation urns can be used for just about any memorial display imaginable, so long as the display is not dependent upon stable whether elements. At first, it may seem appropriate to say that wood cremation urns are not suitable for outdoor use, for example. But that is not entirely true: many families have left wood urns outdoors in settings that have proved quite suitable. Burying a wood urn (whether at land or at sea) is perfectly acceptable, so long as it is done with the understanding that the urn will likely decompose fairly quickly, and will, therefore be unrecoverable in a short time. (For those that are interested in interring a wooden vessel, but wish to prolong the composure of the piece, a cremation urn vault can be very useful.) This apparent setback has not stopped many families over the years from choosing an elegantly designed wood cremation urn for a funeral service and then burying it in a grave afterword. All that said, however, the most common use for a wood cremation urn is in a setting in which it will be a part of an indoor memorial display. Wood urns have the look of a high quality piece of furniture and therefore will typically match the elegant design of most any interior design.
Cloisonne Cremation Urns
Cloisonné art work has long been revered for its meticulous demands and astounding patterns. The rich colors are all partitioned with metal wire that is often left visible on the surface, which gives cloisonne pieces their famous appearance. Cloisonné urns are made in the same careful manner as any other cloisonné work and this unique production process makes them perfect for memorializing almost any person's personality. With special paints and coatings, cloisonné urns can be fashioned into a surprising array of colors and styles, and, of course, the wire partitioning the enamel can be fashioned into a limitless number of designs. The overall effect is that of a porcelain urn that is brilliantly colored with exquisite details. While their special beauty and elegance make cloisonné urns unlikely candidates to be buried, they do offer a perhaps, surprising sturdiness that most would not suspect from its appearance. Cloisonné urns, when properly cared for will, last for generations as gorgeous centerpieces to touching memorial displays. Being made of a number of materials that can survive the elements, cloisonné urns can keep memories alive for decades if not centuries.
The History of Cloisonne
For as long as cremation has been practiced, different vessels have been utilized to hold and protect the earthly remains of the deceased. While that is true, it can be argued that cloisonne urns have been some of the most unique and impressive to serve this purpose. The word cloisonné, language experts say, has its origins in 18th century France, and means a work of art that is made with enamel, cut gemstones or glass which is partitioned by flattened metal wire that has been applied to a metal backing. While the name of this famous form of art is technically French, the the process of making cloisonné urns dates back to a much earlier era and place. Archeologists have found cloisonné urns dating back to at least the time of the ancient Greeks, and it goes without saying that they will surely uncover cloisonné urns for centuries to come. Cloisonné has proven to be a perfect urn construction process over the centuries because it appears to have the potential to last as long as the Earth itself. While it's still unclear exactly when the process began, historians say it probably has its roots, similar to bronze art history, in Ancient China. Regardless of when they were first made, cloisonné urns made their way to the modern world in the 14th century via central Asia. That's when some missionaries re-discovered the process and introduced it throughout China. During the reign of the 15th century Ming Emperor, Chin Thai, cloisonne production was extremely prosperous, and almost everyone with a higher standing in society demanded these works not only for funeral or cremation urn purposes, but also as everyday decor in the home such as bowls, lamps, or frames. Don't be fooled though, while these pieces were indeed everyday items, they were lavish and elaborate works of art, incorporating sometimes up to nine different colors in a single piece. That may not sound very impressive, but keep in mind that each color was a piece of glass or gemstone that was cut to fit into each individual partition made by the metal wire! The primary characteristic of works created during Chin Thai’s rule comes from the fusing of the base color with a special type of blue enamel. As a result, the Chinese word for cloisonne is chng-t'ai-lan ("Ching-t'ai-Blue"). China’s dramatic achievements in the cloisonné technique have been attributed to its advanced knowledge of metallurgical technology, such as bronze casting and glass and glaze production techniques, and enameling was quickly applied to this knowledge.
The Cloisonne Process
The process of making a cloisonné piece combines the sturdiness of metal with the flexibility and individual beauty of porcelain or ceramic pottery. In a nutshell, the building process of cloisonné urns involves molding a sculpture out of a sturdy metal, meticulously shaping while attaching flattened wire (usually by soldering) to the armature to create the design, and then filling in the partitions created by the wire with a ceramic enamel. The cloisonné urns are then fired in a kiln to strengthen and set the enamel. Once the piece comes out of the kiln and cools, the whole urn (in this case) is then sanded down to create an smooth even appearance, which also reveals all the delicate lines created by the metal wire-work. Regardless if the artist is making a small, adult, or even companion urn, the result is a beautiful and timeless piece of cloisonné art. No matter the era or purpose for the piece, the cloisonné process has always required great artisan skill at each and every stage in the process. As said before, this unique process alone is enough to make cloisonné urns the perfect artistic memorials to the most special of loved-ones, because an artisan will pour his or her heart and spirit into the creation at hand. Through this special, historic method, cloisonné urns bring a timeless touch of elegance to any memorial display.
Cloisonné urns are commonly found in a vase shape, like that of a traditional urn. With this shape, cloisonne urns allow families to participate in the centuries of traditions that urns have inspired. The traditional urn's shape, for example, has brought forth a number of great literary works, including John Keats's "Ode to a Grecian Urn," which classically relates the unique décor of almost every funeral urn ever made to mankind's eternal struggles with mortality. (That poem, by the way, is said to not be about one particular urn, so it could very well apply to a cloisonne urn as to any other style of urn.) While the most popular styles of cloisonné urns features a traditional vase shape, that is not to say that artists have not expanded the field to include unique shapes, such as the abstract urn shown above, that are then decorated with this time-tested process. Even available are cloisonne keepsake urns, many of which are featured as small, complimentary pieces, to the full-size vessels. The timeless production process makes sure that cloisonné urns are a fine, popular choice for people who want a beautiful, elegant, memorial that will assure a loved-one's memory will last for generations to come.
Biodegradable Cremation Urns
In our day and age, many people are rightly fighting to preserve our planet, either by participating in environmental movements which help promote sustainability, or by simply living a more environmentally-conscious life. Biodegradable Urns are a new and expanding part of the cremation urn industry that honors not only our Earth, but also anyone and everyone who lived to help protect and sustain it. Environmentally friendly urns may be seen as a new 'trend', but make no mistake that these earth-friendly vessels for ashes do provide a way for us to memorialize our loved one's while respecting the planet. Memorials.com offers its customers a vast, yet one of a kind line of biodegradable cremation urns that feature a remarkable array of colors, patterns, and surface textures. Our biodegradable urns are made for scattering, at sea, or burial on land. Whether for a person that is down to earth and studious, or rambunctious and lively, there is a biodegradable urn to commemorate their life well lived.
Why Should I Get A Biodegradable Urn?
Many people have different reasons for using a biodegradable urn. One of the primary reasons is, of course, protecting our environment. Environmentally conscious individuals who are interested in land burial, but want to leave the most minimal carbon footprint possible, feel positive knowing that a biodegradable urn ultimately returns nutrients and minerals to the earth, while still preserving the land. For those who are interested in scattering ashes at sea, there are different styles of urns, that offer different options for dispersing the remains. For example, some urns are designed to open easily (usually a partial opening) so that the ashes can gently spread above the body of water. These urns can then either be discarded, or small, special mementos can be placed within to further commemorate the deceased. On the other hand, there are urns made from soluble materials, such as the urn to the right, which are intended to be placed directly into the water, after they are loaded with the remains. These urns then gracefully sink, and eventually break down, releasing the ashes as they do. One of our most sought after bio-urns is the sinking shell vessel for ashes, which as the look of a closed seashell and provides a beautiful way to pay tribute to a loved one who was always at home in the sea. Biodegradable urns not only help protect our environment, they come in a variety of styles and are designed to look like respectable, dignified memorials that can be worked into virtually any type of memorial service.
Do They Really Work?
All biodegradable urns are excellent for land or sea scattering and/or burial, and include a biodegradable bag for storing the cremated remains until the final scattering or burial. All our biodegradable urns are constructed to be sturdy enough to be handled (most can even be traveled with), and insure smooth removal and replacement of the lid. Urns for sea dispersions usually begin to descend within ten to fifteen minutes. Within approximately 2-3 days biodegradable urns will fully degrade. Ultimately, the biodegradable bag disintegrates and the urn descends until resting on the sea floor. For land burial, the biodegradable urn will completely disintegrate within a year or less; the actual amount of time depends on the climate and environment in which the burial occurs. Memorials.com recommends checking with your state and local laws before scattering or burying any cremated remains in one of these biodegradable urns, as laws will differ from state to state. In any case, if you are interested in a biodegradable cremation urn, the selection offered by us, Memorials.com, is sure to provide an urn to meet your taste and needs. Really, there are a few different varieties of biodegradable urns (even an urn that acts as a reef, which will not only protect your loved one's essence, but also provide a shelter for any marine life that finds it!), but they all share one common trait, and that is that they are made to provide an Earth-friendly way to honor our loved ones. For those who are interested in a 'green burial' but are not sure if cremation is for them, there are other options for earth-friendly burials, such as utilizing green caskets.
In What Forms are Biodegradable Urns Available?
Up to this point we have discussed two basic categories of marketable portable urns. Basically those include urns that are constructed to biodegradable continuum from a few hours to an upper scale to completely biodegrade within a maximum of three or four days. Indeed a third type of marketable biodegradable urn is expected to disperse cremated remains upon mother earth after centuries of protection from the elements of earth's harsh environment. So, if you wish to keep your loved one's remains at home, say above the fireplace on a mantle, this type of urn is for you! Planning on traveling with the urn? Since September 11, 2000 all commercial airline baggage and carry on luggage will have to pass the scrutiny of a team of airport transportation security administration (TSA) officers prior to boarding the aircraft. An inexpensive, biodegradable urn is sure to solve your boarding woes. Your relative's ashes will accompany you on the luggage rack near your seat in the airplane cabin because the cremated ashes within will have been seen through security x-ray technology, thus passing airport security muster.
Ceramic Cremation Urns
Ceramic cremation urns, for many, bring to mind the famous clay sculpting scene in the classic 1990 movie Ghost. In that scene, the characters played by Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze were not necessarily creating ceramic urns, but, actually, it’s unclear exactly what they were making. It very well could have been a ceramic urn. It goes without saying that the ceramic material itself is largely under-rated. This material is in fact one of the oldest known to man, and not just in the memorial industry. As many of us can recall seeing pots and pieces of everyday things like bowls or cups being unearthed in an excavation site, this material was one of the first used to create things that are still used today, and may have a larger part than one would expect in modern technology. But, for the purpose of this article, we will narrow or field down to the use of ceramic for cremation urns. Many of the first cincerary urns ever found were actually crafted from ceramics, and have survived the ages, which goes to show the true durability of the material.
Going back to the famous scene in Ghost, which has been voted in numerous polls as the most romantic movie moment of all time, beating out famous scenes from classic romantic movies such as Love Story, Titanic, and even When Harry Met Sally, Demi Moore begins by placing a piece of clay on a pottery wheel and slowly molding it into shape, just as everyone who throws ceramic urns does. This technique is actually the same for wheel-thrown ceramic vessels. The artist begins by wedging, or kneading, the clay to remove any air bubbles that would compromise the strength of the finished vessel. The next step is to mold the clay into a ball-shape, which is placed on the wheel. The artist then begins to turn the wheel, and as the clay spins, they shape it into first a rough cone, then shaped back into an even shape that closely resembles a hockey puck. Once the puck is formed, the artist begins the foundation of the piece by creating a whole in the center, then slowly builds the walls up until the clay becomes an elegant vessel for ashes. Once the urn is completely shaped, the artist bakes it into the 'bisque' stage, glazes or paints the pot, and then finally, re-fires it into what is the final, finished product. While not all urns are made in this fashion, wheel-throwing is one of the most common and ancient forms of making ceramics. In fact, another very commonly used method is to take a round ball of ceramic, place your thumb in it, and pinch the ball as you slowly turn it, creating a blown shape. This 'pinch-pot' method is not only one of the oldest forms of creating ceramic pottery of any kind, the vessels and sculptures it yields are nothing less than amazing, and the process itself has not changed very much since it was first discovered by our most ancient of ancestors. Eventually, Moore’s dead lover, played by Swayze, appears mysteriously next to her, and the two mold the pottery together in a very sensual, romantic performance that alludes to the very thing that ceramic urns, in general, represent: eternal unity, even after death. In truth, a ceramic cremation vessel not only holds a set of cremated remains, but holds a life of memories, love, and the true essence of our being.
Ceramic urns are certainly just a small offering of the urn types available today, but they are some of the few that are still are made according to an ancient technique that, in many ways, has changed very little over the centuries. And their method of production is just one way in which ceramic urns represent eternal unity. The other is their overall style. Many modern artists who design and make ceramic urns follow the traditions and styles use by cultures of yesteryear. Artist Otto Heino is just one example. Heino is a veteran maker of ceramic urns and other ceramic pottery, and he has been creating ceramic urns since the days of World War II. Many modern makers of ceramic urns follow his established style, but, even he mimics the style of artists who created ceramic urns centuries before. Like Demi Moore did with Patrick Swayze in the famous scene, Otto Heino builds ceramic urns today with the spirits of the past. And, no doubt, future builders of ceramic urns will do the same with Heino’s spirit. Other well known artists who make ceramic urns include Rudy Autio, Clayton Bailey, Peter Volkus, and Adrian Saxe. These people all create ceramic urns, and other ceramic pottery, while following the traditions established years before their time. They, in effect, are creating ceramic urns with the ghosts of century's worth of other artists giving them a helping hand, just as Patrick Swayze helped Demi Moore with her creation in the famous scene.
While ceramic pottery, in general, has a huge variety of uses, it is ceramic urns, with their practical connection to death by playing host to human ashes that, perhaps, best unites ceramic art to the rest of humanity, both past and present. People whose ashes are stored in ceramic pottery can are participating in an age-old human tradition (ceramic urns have been, for centuries, one of the most common products of ceramic art), but, because ceramic urns are still among the most sturdy urns available, the people who they memorialize will be remembered for centuries. There is truly nothing like an urn that is handmade, as it is not only entirely unique, but every part of the vessel has been carefully and lovingly shaped into a work of art that will celebrate a life well lived.
Marble Cremation Urns
Marble urns can feature modern or traditional shapes, and because no two urns will ever look the same, create tributes that are both timeless and as unique as the person they are memorializing. Below are a few interesting and important things to know about marble urns:
Why Chose Marble Urns?
Marble urns are the perfect touch for those who want to memorialize their loved-ones with a material that's about as old, and as natural, as the Earth itself. Marble is a beautiful stone that is formed when limestone metamorphoses due to heat and/or pressure, below the surface of the Earth. Only the natural processes in the earth can create marble, which can gives this material a sort of mystic appeal, as with everything that is not man-made or produced. Much more than simple storage containers for cremation ashes, marble cremation urns are pure, classic, memorial elegance. For centuries, marble urns have been used to memorialize our loved ones because of the stone's natural beauty. Marble urns can take the traditional vessel, or vase, shape, or can even be sculpted into small sculptural masterpieces that are less abstract in their meaning.
Most importantly, for many people, marble urns offer the durability to assure that the ashes of their loved one are protected for centuries to come. With proper care, marble urns will typically keep their splendor for many generations, and the sturdiness of the stone assures that the urn's structure will even outlast the shine. That means the memories of people who are memorialized with marble urns can last about as long as the Earth itself. It is for this reason that marble urns may be most attractive for those wanting to preserve their loved-one's legacy for as long as possible.
How Are Marble Urns Made?
Whether the urn features a classic or modern appearance, marble urns are all made according to the time honored standards of classic construction, seen throughout history. For traditional vase-shaped urns, the marble is placed on a lathe, which rotates the stone at a high speed so that it can be grinded down to the desired shape. The urn seems to almost magically appear from the block of marble with this traditional method. The other main construction method, especially for pieces that feature flat faces, is to cut the stone into individual sheets which are adhered together to create the urn. The final main method of construction for marble urns is for an artisan to work the marble into a sculptural piece, although this method can be, understandably, much more expensive. These sculptural marble urns can either hold the cremated remains in the base that the form sits on, or in the actual body of the sculpture.
Pros & Cons of Marble Urns
As with any other urn type, there are pros and cons to using marble urns. There are many benefits to using a marble urn to memorialize your lost loved one. Marble, is again, a very durable material, so when properly cared for, the lifespan of the urn can last for many, many generations. Because marble is a smooth, non-porous stone, it is very easy to clean and maintain, as opposed to other urns that are finished with a veneer or sealant. For the most part, a soft, lent-free polishing cloth is all that is needed for a standard 'cleaning'. The stone itself gives the marble urn a nice, hefty weight, which gives the overall piece sturdiness. And because marble is a 'soft' stone, it is very easy to personalize with text or image engraving. In fact, there is a manufacturer of urns that is famous for their elegant selections scenes and images that can be etched onto the marble urn, and can even etch a photo likeness of a person onto the urn. Since marble is a natural material, no two urns will ever be identical. Many see this trait of the stone as one of the beauties this natural material has to offer.
While, again, there are several benefits to using a marble urn to memorialize your loved one, there are a few cons as well. One is that, as mentioned above, marble is a 'soft' stone and will eventually wear away over time if left in the direct elements, such as rain, wind, or water, although it may be years or even generations before the erosion is visible. Think of the famous statue 'Venis de Milo' that has been weathered and even has lost it's arms over time. If planning on storing the urn in a garden or any other area where it would be in the direct elements, a harder stone for the urn, such as granite, is recommended. This is also true for urns that are to be interred. It is highly recommended for a marble urn to be buried inside of a cremation urn vault, otherwise the natural earth processes will affect the urn over time. While some people see the heaviness of a marble urn as a comfort, it may not be suitable for others who plan on handling or traveling with the urn regularly. And finally, marble is a natural material, so there is no way to control how the final appearance of the urn will come out. In other words, while one urn made of any certain marble shows heavy striations, or 'striping', another urn made of the same type of marble may have significantly less striations, or may even have a slightly different overall tint. Marble urns are truly for those who understand and appreciate the spontaneity of nature.
Care Tips For Marble Urns:
Marble is extremely vulnerable to exposure to acids such as citric acid and vinegar. Never use any acid-based liquids to clean your urn and keep the urn away from oils. If you use water to clean your urn, be sure to dry it completely. Stray water left standing will stain the urn.
How Can Marble Urns Be Displayed?
Marble urns are usually elegant enough to be displayed indoors and sturdy enough to be shared with the world outdoors, as long as they are in a sheltered area where the urn is not in direct contact with the elements, such as in a niche. This flexibility makes marble urns, perhaps, the perfect choice for any memorial need. Whatever their ultimate destination, marble urns are particularly appropriate for memorializing a loved-one because they can be personalized. Marble urns come in a variety of shapes and styles and can be enhanced in a wide variety of beautiful, luxurious colors. Marble's natural sturdy beauty keeps them looking bright and shiny for generations to come. Marble urns can be carved and sculpted into any number of scenes or shapes, and they often take the form of beautiful, elegant small statues that can pay lasting tribute to the people they memorialize.
Bronze Cremation Urns
For many centuries, bronze cremation urns has been revered as one of the fundamental mediums in art, and has played an important role in the art community. Not only did the use of the material as a medium change the world of art, but bronze tools also revolutionized other fields of art, such as wood and stone working. This dynamic medium is of great interest for its stunning ability to capture exquisite details when it is cast, a feature unseen in other casting mediums. The versatility of the material also made it possible for artists to quickly reproduce a piece or work of art, which was extremely important in the days when most works were each individually hand sculpted. Aside from its versatile qualities, bronze has proven to stand the test of time as well, fairing much better than other classic mediums such as wood or even marble. One of the most famous bronze statues, Artemesion Bronze, is estimated to be from around the 6th century, but the origin and artist of this amazing masterpiece is still unknown. What makes this bronze statue particularly intriguing is the fact that is was not discovered, but recovered from the sea in northern Euboea, meaning it was found in the water. It is hard to believe that anything could be so resilient, especially against one of the most erosive elements in nature. With such a profound and timeless aspect, it goes without saying that bronze is one of the most appropriate materials for something that is meant to endure the ages, such as a cremation urn. With that said, Memorials.com has an extensive line of bronze urns from all over the world at unbeatable prices with free delivery. Demand for bronze urns has increased in pace, of course, with the dramatic rise in cremation. There are two basic types of bronze urns cast bronze urns and sculpted bronze urns. Bronze urns are some of the most beautiful urns available today, thanks to their incredible shine. Bronze is the hardest material available for urns today. Those urns reveal the expert skill of the craftsman, as each urn is a piece of art. Bronze urns can match the character they are designated for, from color to shape to style.
How Are Bronze Urns Made?
Bronze is an alloy made of copper and either zinc and/or tin, and is commonly used for sculptured urns; being the material of choice for many artists creating memorial urns and cast bronze urns. Most casting methods involve pouring liquid bronze into a sculpted cast of sorts, also known as a crucible. Bronze urns can be manufactured in a variety of ways, but the most common is by using either lost wax sand casting or standard casting techniques. Another popular method of creating bronze urns is to create flat sheets of bronze that are then cut to size, formed, and assembled to create a cremation urn box. The latter method is not as versatle as casting techniques, and is usually less expensive, but don't be thrown off for these beauties still feature many of the sought after qualities of the bronze, such as luster and durability, and are often ideal if you are looking for an urn that features a simple design. Often urns made of sheet metal bronze are displayed as is, with a simple engraving, or even sometimes feature a religious or military emblem.
How To Take Care Of Bronze Urns?
Bronze ash urns, for the most part, have a very basic method of caring to maintain the metal. First, we would like to mention that while bronze is durable enough to be displayed outdoors, the elements will affect the metal much more rapidly than it would if the urn were sheltered. Bronze urns will not rust, but when exposed to the elements they will darken and eventually gain a patina, which is actually one of the most sought after features of bronze for some, for it's rustic appearance. For those who do not wish for their urn to darken or gain the patina, we recommend displaying your urn in an area where it will not be exposed to the elements. In general, metal urns are not to be used outside, except for the bronze urns, and again that only goes for those who are aware of and desire the aesthetic features that bronze gains when it is exposed to the natural elements. There is not too much maintenance necessary if you are displaying your urn outdoors, except to dust it lightly here and there, and remove any larger debris that may collect on it. For those who wish to keep the ash vessel protected and extend the lustrous appearance of the piece, the best way to clean a metal urn is to dust it using a dry, lint free cloth; this will maintain and prolong the metal urns natural polish. We do not recommend cleaning the surface of the urn with any type of chemicals or even water, as this could have adverse affects on the finish.
What is an appropriate size for my Bronze Cremation Urn?
Our basic rule of thumb regarding the sizes of urns is: one pound of cremated human remains typically displaces 1 cubic inch of a space in most urns. Just as for urns of different materials, this rule does apply to bronze urns as well. The average human adult weighs between 130-180 pounds, therefore a standard size bronze urn, being 200 cubic inches, should adequately accommodate the remains of an average adult. In addition to the standard size bronze urn, a companion sized 400 cubic inch holding capacity should easily hold the remains of two average-sized adults that are looking to share the same bronze urn. A keepsake bronze urn is usually approximately 3 inches tall, each one perfect for the distribution of small portions of ashes or remains of one deceased family member to family members and friends of the deceased, or to memorialize a pet or child.
When someone thinks of a memorial, they usually expect for it to last a life time, if not longer. The same expectations should go for the memorial urns that are meant to house the earthly remains of our dearly departed. Memorials.com offeres a broad variety of bronze cremation urns that will not only last for all eternity, but will become a treasured and dignified remembrance for many generations to come.
Glass Cremation Urns
Now in days it can be very hard to see how much art affects the world we live in. From the design created for a major skyscraper, down to the logo displayed on a box of laundry detergent, art has a fundamental role in how our culture, and any culture, evolves. Because of the variety of different ways art is perceived, it can be difficult to find a way to adequately memorialize someone, especially someone that is very important to us, while maintaining the dignity of a true memorial. For this particular reason, glass cremation urns are quickly becoming more and more popular, as they offer us a way of memorializing someone in a completely different and unique fashion, while feeling that we are still honoring their life. Being a product made mostly of transformed sand, glass urns are also 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 compilation of quartz crystals to a metallic-looking solid that, chemically speaking, has many of the same properties as a liquid, because it heats so quickly that the molecules do not have a chance to form into any certain crystalline structure. On an interesting side note, glass is, 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 ash vessels 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 art urns. Blown glass reaches far back in Mediterranean and Western European cultures, and was even popular in the time of the Roman Empire, as it was a practical means of transporting fallen soldiers and protecting the earthly remains of particularly important citizens. In fact, the use of cremation urns crafted from blown glass goes further back than urns made of brass or even stone. It is interesting to note that glass cremation vessels were prevailent not long after the innovation of blown glass, with glass columbariums discovered from as far back as the 1st or 2nd century, A.D.
Glass urns can be used to memorialize just about anyone, but are becoming more and more popular with those who are very earth-conscious, who are looking to create a natural memorial. The reason being is that while the urn can be fashioned into almost any design, from a simple vessel to an elaborate sculpture, the material itself is completely natural. That means that glass urns can offer not only a completely unique yet natural tribute, but also one that is more or less permanent, as antique glass urns have been discovered in ruins of ancient civilizations, and amazingly, these urns were intact! Glass urns, now in days, are offered in a variety of different designs and, needless to say, colors and patterns. From simple, yet elegant vessels that feature vibrant colors, to stunning sculptures with exquisite details. Some glass artists are even able to completely infuse the ashes into the glass, permanently encasing them into a gorgeous sculpture. Some of our most popular designs feature glass that has been cut and assembled into a rectangular chest. These urns are simply gorgeous as they almost look like stained glass, and are even ideal for those with strong religious views. Glass urns can even be, in a way, therapeutic for grieving families as they offer a beauty that is unseen in other traditional mediums, creating memorials that are as unique as the loved ones they pay tribute to.
Aside from their connection to the Earth because of their main ingredient, which is 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 have ever been 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 this movement, of course, cannot be seen with the naked eye. (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. While this is enough to put someone off, there are many that love the idea that the urn is ever changing, in a way evolving. Of all cremation urns for ashes, glass urns are some of the few that offer us a completely unique way of memorializing our loved ones, as well as ensure that they will be carried on throughout time.
Metal Cremation Urns
For many years, people have turned to metal as the material of choice for the coffins or caskets of their loved ones. The reason why any metal material is popular for such a purpose is because of its durability and longevity. Families can rest assured that their loved one has been laid to rest in a place that will keep them protected from the elements, and that will ensure a long and peaceful eternity. Many do not realize that metal cremation urns offer similar advantages for families that have chosen cremation, rather than traditional burials. Metal urns are not only long lasting, they are also some of the most affordable cremation vessels on the market to date. That is not to say that all metal urns must be interred, or that they are of any lesser quality in appearance than other urn types. In fact, many metal urns are so decorative, they are appropriate for display in a niche or even in the home. Another marvelous advantage of having a metal cremation urn is the personalization options available. Metal rivals with wood cremation urns in the vast amount of design and style options that they are available in. From brass, to aluminum, to stainless steel cremation urns, there is a style and design that will suite most any taste, and meet most any need.
Metal urns are typically designed according to the traditional styles of ancient cultures, and it’s these timeless styles, along with the long-lasting sturdiness, that give metal urns a unique connection with eternity. The classic vase shapes are augmented with modern touches, such as a brilliant and colorful enamel, or a elegant brushed finish, for an interesting combination of old and new. This simple play of design is enough to remind us how we are continually connected with our history as human beings. While classic vase shaped urns are among the most popular of designs in metal urns, there are several others, such as the cremation vessel to the right that is made of aluminum, that break away entirely from the 'traditional designs'. These elegant urns are not only interesting visually, but would perfectly embody a person that 'broke the mold' so to say. This particular urn is actually available in not only the copper finish shown, but also different metal and colored options (which you can explore by clicking on the photo to the left). This is a wonderful example of one of the many advantages that are offered by metal cremation vessels, which is that the material itself is so versatile that it can be formed, cast, or manipulated into an endless amount of designs. This is what gives the metal urn line its unique diversity in designs, and this is one of the many ways that a family can find an affordable, yet highly appropriate remembrance of their loved one.
Perhaps more than any other style of urn, metal urns can be confidently expected to remain intact for centuries, maybe even for millennia, and that assures that metal urns can be a secure vehicle for any loved-one’s passage into eternity. It is interesting to note that, while urns have been in use since, almost the beginning of mankind’s time on Earth, metal urns have only come about relatively recently. It has only been in the last 400 years or so that metal urns have come into popular use, and, while 400 years may seem like an exceedingly long time – in terms of eternity -- it’s akin to a fraction of a second. So, relatively speaking, it’s only recently that metal urns have given mankind such a secure, perfectly beautiful passageway into eternity.
Metal urns will undoubtedly last for the ages, and the very metals that comprise metal urns are reminiscent of the shiny, bright, everlasting metallic look of most large objects in the universe. And the smooth surface of most metal urns makes them, indeed, as Vaughn says, 'calm, as at they are bright'. When families who have lost a loved one place their beloved’s ashes in classically designed metal urns, they are invoking all of the beautiful images of eternity that Vaughan brings forth in his poem. Not only do these elegant vessels serve as a link from our world into the next, they carry on the essence of our loved ones through all eternity. A metal ash holder can be, more or less, or last physical link to our dearly departed, and they carry this honor with dignity. While metal urns may look simple – with the sleek, classic designs (which can be modified, by the way, to take on more modern styles while maintaining the overall connection to classic style) they help prove, as many philosophers have hinted over the years, that eternity is not as complex as it may seem at first glance.
As noted before, metal urns come in a wide variety of styles and designs, but they all maintain the traditional, classic look that has made urns, in general, a human tradition forever. Much like cremation itself has preservered in the face of obsticales over time, so will metal vessels do so to protect and preserve our earthly essence. So, in many ways, metal urns, besides being a passageway into eternity are also a connection with all that has passed before. (When Vaughan says, after all, “I saw Eternity the other night,” he is not simply talking about the future. He is talking about all of time – past, present and future combined.) In fact, scientists say that, long before mankind walked earth – and long after, too – metal elements such as iron, steel, and even copper and gold will be, and have been some of the most common materials in the universe. That means metal urns have, yet another, connection to eternity.