Deciding on the right cremation urn will largely depend on what you plan to do with it once it has been filled with your loved one’s ashes. There are a number of options when it comes to cremated ashes containers.
Cremation urns for display
If you decide to display the urn in a prominent position in your home, you may choose a more decorative urn made from metal, wood, stone or resin. Having a cremation urn on display can help retain memories. Many say they find comfort in the physical presence of their loved one’s ashes. Furthermore, it’s a way to illustrate honour and respect towards your loved one.
If you decide on scattering your loved one’s ashes, then a scattering urn is what you need. Scattering urns have a top opening, designed to easily release the ashes. The scattering urn may be filled with flowers or special keepsakes after the scattering to further memorialise a loved one.
Biodegradable urn for ashes
If you’re planning a natural or water burial, then you need a biodegradable urn made from recycled and organic materials. These urns break down naturally when soil or water are introduced. Some biodegradable urns can be displayed in the home, inurned in a columbarium or buried in the earth.
Urns for a columbarium
When selecting an urn for a columbarium, it is essential you take into consideration the dimensions of the niche. These include the height, width and depth. It's worth noting that material selection is also important as many cemeteries and mausoleums have strict guidelines that must be adhered to.
Urns for a burial
If on the other hand, you are planning to bury the urn, you will need a burial container or Urn vault. These are usually made from a polymer, steel or polystyrene. It’s essential you know the measurements of both the urn and the interior of the vault to ensure the container can accommodate your chosen urn.
Another option when deciding on which urn to choose is a sharing or keepsake urn. This is a great option for when a number of people wish to share the cremains. The ashes from the cremation may also be displayed via cremation jewellery. Cremation jewellery enables you to keep your loved ones close at heart by encapsulating the ashes within a locket, or converting the ashes into a GIA certified diamond.
Consider the capacity of the cremation urn
Once you’ve decided on the way you wish to use the urn and which kind of cremation urn will best meet your needs, you will need to consider the required volume of the urn. The volume of a cremation urn is measured in cubic inches and refers to the available space within the urn. The volume of ashes can vary due to a number of factors including temperature variations, bone structure, height, cremation processes, and age. Weight does not affect the overall volume, as fat is fully combustible and naturally disappears. In most cases, a 3.1 litre urn (200 cubic inch) is more than adequate to accommodate the ashes of an adult, but if in doubt, contact your funeral director or crematorium for further advice.
There are many things to consider when choosing a cremation urn, including how you plan to use it long term; display the ashes, scatter the ashes, bury the ashes at sea or in the ground, or share the ashes. Hopefully this article has raised some of the key areas to address when making your decision.