What is Cremation Jewelry?

When a loved one passes away, the resulting loss that we experience is devastating, intense and beyond emotional. For some, it’s a confusing time and for others, it can bring on thoughts of despair and anger. Many of us have a hard time coming to terms with the loss, and desire to be physically close with our loved ones again. While it takes time to move through the grieving process, cremation jewelry offers close family and friends with a physical reminder to those who need it the most.

What Is Cremation Jewelry?

Cremation jewelry, also known as mourning jewelry, is best described as an urn that is wearable either around the neck, on the arm, on the finger, or even as earrings or keychains. All cremation urn jewelry contains an interior compartment that allows you to store the cremation ashes of your loved one or other sentimental items like strands of hair or pet whiskers. This type of cremation jewelry is different than jewelry that is infused with the ashes of your loved one.

The History Of Cremation Jewelry

While the origin of cremation jewelry cannot be pinpointed to an exact date, it can be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries, where mourning jewelry like rings and brooches were used as a symbol of loss.  During the 16th century, mourning jewelry was referred to as “memento mori,” which is Latin for the phrase, “remember [that] you will die” and was often in the form of skeletons or skulls. It was used to help encourage individuals to pray for the dead and reflect on mortality.

The 17th century brought with it the memory of specific individuals in the form of rings, which were to be worn as a daily reminder that our loved ones that influence over our lives. These rings would often be engraved with the name, age, and the birth and death date of the beloved individual.

It wasn’t until the 18th century with the passing of Prince Albert of England, that mourning jewelry became extremely prevalent. During this time period, Queen Victoria and her court wore mourning clothes and dark jewelry that was typically crafted from black wood or onyx.

As time went on, mourning jewelry became more elaborate and locks of hair were incorporated into the jewelry by either braiding or weaving it into a locket.

How Does Cremation Jewelry Work?

While there are plenty of types of cremation ash jewelry, such as cremation urn jewelry, cremation pendants, and cremation rings, they generally all work in the same manner. The piece will often be decorated on the outside and contain an interior cavity which is hollowed out. The jewelry's interior cavity is accessed through either a threaded bail or through a threaded stopper.

The bail or stopper works like a screw in that it can be screwed and unscrewed to provide access to the interior of the piece. A small funnel is used to place the cremated remains into the interior cavity and then the bail or stopper is screwed in place to seal the cavity closed.

How Do You Use Cremation Jewelry & What Is Its Purpose?

To use your cremation jewelry, simply wear it or place it somewhere special. For instance, if you purchase a necklace, you can wear it whenever you feel the need to be close to your loved one or if you want to take them to events.

If you purchase a keychain pendant, you can place it on your car keys, on a special lanyard, or in the window of your car. If you choose a ring, earrings, or a bracelet, wear them during special occasions like on the anniversary of your loved one’s death.

The purpose of cremation jewelry is to honor the memory of a loved one and to keep them close to that you can always remember them.

How Is Cremation Jewelry Made?

Cremation jewelry is made in one of two ways, either through a threaded bail style or a threaded screw style. Both styles are discreet and provide easy access to the interior cavity of the jewelry piece.

Threaded Bail Style

With the threaded bail style, the interior of the inner compartment is exposed when the bail is unscrewed.  A bail, also spelt bale, is mostly used with necklaces and is placed at the center of the necklace where the pendant hangs down.

A classic bail design will allow a chain to pass through it via a connecting ring. A hidden bail, on the other hand, can be connected to the back of the pendant so that it cannot be seen. With cremation ash jewelry, a bail is threaded into the pendant like the bottom of a screw and can be removed by turning the bail to the left with your fingertips.

Once your selected remembrance item is placed into the interior cavity, an adhesive is added to the threads of the bail and the bail is tightened. Once in place, a chain and necklace can be threaded through the bail, allowing the pendant to be worn.

Screw Threaded Style

With the threaded screw style, a threaded screw is placed discreetly on the pendant and when screwed in, is hardly noticeable as it sits flush with the face of the pendant. Depending on the style of the ash jewelry, it can be placed at the bottom or along the back side of the pendant and will require you to use a flat edge screwdriver to remove it.

When the threaded screw is removed, it reveals an opening to the interior cavity, allowing for you to place in your cremated remains or other sentimental items. Once you have filled the compartment, an adhesive is applied to the threads of the screw and it is tightened until it sits flush with the face of the pendant.

If you go with the threaded screw style, the pendant will come with an attached ring, which is where you can thread through a chain.

What Are The Different Types Of Cremation Jewelry?

Cremation ash jewelry comes in a wide variety of types, including rings, keychains, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces with pendants. They are completely customizable in their materials, in their design, and in their decoration.

Cremation Pendants

While cremation pendants are typically worn on necklaces, they can come in just about any type of design, shape, or material. You could choose to get a cremation pendant in the form of a feather, a cross, a heart, a star, or even a paw print.

They can be created using stainless steel, plated with white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, and silver and many come with gemstones and intricate engravings.

Cremation pendants are great for men, women and young adults. Because they are available in so many different themes and design, there is a little bit of something for everyone!


Cremation Rings

Cremation rings are perfect for individuals who prefer to see and feel their loved one every time they look down at their hands.

Like cremation necklaces, cremation rings come in a wide variety of styles and colors and can have their urn customized to suit a specific style. For instance, some cremation rings might feature a charm, while others might have a bead done up in a traditional ring style. Others may use crystal resin to add a colorful pop to the ring.

Cremation rings are a great idea to wear as a replacement wedding band in memory of a spouse. The rings can also be worn as a promise ring or as an accent ring on your other hand.

Cremation Bracelets

Cremation bracelets are a lovely option for anyone who prefers their loved one close at hand. They can be customized with various materials and come in a wide variety of colors and designs.

You can get cuff-style cremation bracelets that are adjustable or get a cremation bracelet with a gorgeous gemstone cabochon that has been infused with your loved one’s cremation ashes.  They also come in a more traditional style, in which you place glass beads on the bracelet that are sprinkled with the remains.

If you frequently remove your jewelry, we suggest choosing a cuff style cremation bracelet. This allows for quick and easy removal. If you are looking for a style to wear all day, every day, link style cremation bracelets for ashes are a great option.

Cremation Keychains

Cremation keychains are a great way to keep the memory of your loved one or beloved pet with you, wherever you go. Cremation keychains can be placed on your keys, on a lanyard, or even on your favorite purse or backpack.

They can be fashioned into hearts, urns, bullet cartridges, pawprints and be plated in gold or rose gold or even made from stainless steel with copper accents.

Gifting cremation keychains is a wonderful way to show a close friend or family member that you care. The wide assortment of styles means that you are certain to find one that would be appealing. There are also photo engraved keychains that make for a heartfelt grieving gift.

Cremation Necklaces

Cremation necklaces are an ideal way to keep the memory of a departed loved one close to one’s heart. Cremation necklaces can be personalized by adding on cremation jewelry pendants to them or even cremation beads that hang down off the necklace like a jewel.

They can be personalized in a wide variety of ways including different shapes, different sizes, and include options for customizing the material.   For instance, cremation necklaces can be made from glass, resin, wood, and even silver.

Photo engraved cremation necklaces combine the beauty of beads with a favorite photo. The necklaces do not hold cremated remains but do have an engraved photo of a loved one on the front. The necklaces are available in many different color beads and are a highly personal way to have a visual reminder of someone you loved.

Cremation Earrings

Cremation earrings are a beautiful way to pay tribute to the life of a loved one and they are functional in that you can wear them when you want a loved one to accompany you to an important event.

They come in numerous styles, such as drop earrings or studded earrings and can be made from your preferred material.

Cremation earrings have a very small amount of cremation ashes placed in them and they can be made from crystal resin, glass, and various metals. The earrings are a great gift idea for that person in your life that is grieving a loss and wears jewelry on a daily basis.

Other Styles

There are other styles of cremation jewelry that do not hold ashes but can be worn as a reminder of those that have passed. Thumbprint jewelry and photo jewelry provide a beautiful remembrance by engraving a fingerprint or a photo image in high-definition onto a pendant or keychain. These options are ideal for those that are looking for a personal way to remember a loved one but do not want to do so using cremated remains.

What Do You Put Into Cremation Jewelry?

When it comes to ash jewelry, there are plenty of small tokens that you can place into your pendant, ring, urn, or necklace. The only limitation is the size of the token that you would like to place into your cremation glass jewelry, as these pieces can only hold items up to a certain size.

While many individuals choose to place cremated ashes into the piece, more and more people are starting to place other types of sentimental items in. The main thing to remember is that you want to choose an item that is close to your heart and that you are comfortable with placing into your memorial jewelry.

Here are a few examples of some fantastic ideas for your ash jewelry:

Cremated Ashes

One of the most common items that are placed into the interior of memorial jewelry is cremated ashes. While this is quite a traditional take, it is an ideal option for those who want to place a physical reminder of their loved one into their keepsake.

If you are using cremation urn jewelry, the maximum amount of ashes that will be placed into the cremation urn is one eight of a teaspoon. The exterior does not reveal that any of the ashes are inside.

It is very important that if you are choosing to have cremation ash jewelry created for your loved one, that everyone within the immediate family is on board with the decision.  Some individuals may not want to lose a portion of their deceased loved one, no matter how small that piece is, as some take solace in keeping their loved one all together in one place.

Lock of Hair

An option for some individuals is to place a few strands of hair inside the small interior of your ash jewelry. This is an ideal alternative option to those who do not want to place cremated ashes into the jewelry piece, as it is still a physical and personal reminder of a loved one.

A few strands of hair are easily slipped into the small opening on your pendant or urn and can be sealed into the piece with adhesive threads or a threaded top.  Generally, the immediate family can get a few strands of hair from their loved one’s doctors or from the funeral directors.

If you are not an immediate family member, you would need to speak with an immediate family member. Keep in mind that this is a very sensitive topic and the utmost respect should be afforded to the family.

Dried and Crushed Flower Petals

Another fantastic way to personally commemorate a loved one is by placing their favorite dried and crushed flowers or herbs and spices into your urn jewelry. These are ideal because they can be obtained in a variety of ways and anyone who knew the deceased individual can pay homage to them.

Those closest to the deceased individual may have dried and pressed flowers during a wedding anniversary or knew that they loved a certain kind of flower in the springtime. Whereas, those who are not in the immediate family may have known that their favorite herb was rosemary or lemon grass.

To add a dried and crushed flower, herb, or spice to your urn jewelry, simply place them in a plastic bag and gently massage them until they are crushed into smaller pieces. Once they are dried, use a small funnel to slide the pieces into the interior of your memorial jewelry and seal the opening with an adhesive.

Ground From Site of Burial

While the ground of the burial site may not be a physical part of the deceased, it can provide a very personal way to remember the passing of a loved one. This is an ideal option for those who may not be able to visit the burial site on a regular basis or for those who have been incredibly touched by the funeral service.

If you choose to take ground from the burial site, you will want very loose or sandy soil that does not contain any type of rocks, regardless of how small they are. Keep the soil in a small container or secured bag until it can be used in your ash jewelry.

If you do not have access to the burial site or do not want to take soil from the area, you can always use soil from any place that was special to them. This could be their favorite campground, hiking trail, beach, or even from their own backyard. The important part of this, is to choose the soil from a place that holds great sentimental value.

Other Remembrances For Cremation Jewelry

There are other remembrances that families and individuals may choose to place in cremation jewelry as a way to remember their loved one. There is no right or wrong answer as to what to place as a remembrance inside cremation jewelry. What's most important when choosing the remembrance is that whatever is placed inside the keepsake brings some comfort to the wearer.

Some alternative ideas might be:

  • Another piece of jewelry.  A piece of jewelry from the deceased individual can be shaved and the metal shavings collected. A small amount of the metal shavings can be carefully placed inside the urn jewelry as another physical way that you can remember the individual.
  • A small photograph.  A photograph of the deceased can be burned down to ashes and the ashes inserted into the cremation jewelry. For some keepsakes like certain cylinder pendants, a portion of the photo may be rolled up into a scroll and placed inside the keepsake.
  • A poem or scroll.  If your loved one absolutely loved books, quotes, or poetry, you can take their favorite passage and place it on a tiny handwritten scroll. Depending on the size of your cremation jewelry pendants, you will need to experiment with how small the scroll will be. 
  • A small piece of their favorite clothing.  A neat way to bring your loved one closer to you is by placing a small piece of their favorite clothing into the memorial jewelry. Simply take a very small piece of the clothing item and have it inserted into your ash jewelry as a physical reminder.
  • A piece of paper with their favorite perfume/cologne.  One of the hardest parts of having a loved one pass away is the inability to remember things - how they smelled, their laugh, personal traits. You can spray a small piece of paper with their favorite perfume or cologne and roll it up and place it into your ash jewelry.

What Options Do You Have With Cremation Jewelry?

Here at Jewelry Keepsakes, we offer a wide variety of options with our cremation jewelry, including the following:

Personal Engraving

A lot of individuals like to get the first, middle, and last name of their loved one engraved onto the back of the piece. Others, like the birth and death date or the relationship that the deceased had with them.

Some will place engraved symbols onto the back of the piece such as a heart or an infinity symbol, while others will use remembrance phrases like “love always,” or “forever in our hearts” or “peace be with you”.

You can also do any of their favorite quotations, sayings, or lyrics from their favorite books, movies, and songs. Engraving provides a great opportunity to add to the personal nature of the cremation jewelry and make it unique to your loved one.

Various Metal Types

When it comes to choosing a metal type, we offer stainless steel, sterling silver, copper, as well as, solid 14K gold, solid 14K white gold, and solid 14K rose gold. We also offer different types of plating including both gold and rose gold.

14K Gold

For those looking for a timeless, and classic look, the 14K gold options are ideal as they do not tarnish, corrode, or rust and are extremely bright and reflective. They also offer a heavier feel to them.

Sterling Silver

Our sterling silver jewelry, on the other hand, is hypoallergenic, comes with a high and natural polish, and can be easily molded into rings, pendants, and necklaces with multiple types of finishes.

Stainless Steel

Our stainless-steel options are hypoallergenic and perfect for those who want pieces that are highly durable. Stainless-steel will never become discolored, and can be plated with beautiful finishes.

Multiple Chain Lengths

We offer a high quality 20” snake chain free with every purchase. We also have premium snake chain upgrade options for 18", 20", 22", 24", and 30” chain lengths.

The snake chains are available in four different finishes and allow you to create different contrast and allow for great versatility for the way in which the cremation jewelry is displayed on the body. Some ideas might be:

  • Choose a black plated chain to contrast with a silver pendant!
  • Upgrade to a 24" premium chain to create a layering effect to wear with other necklaces.
  • Rose gold chains are a beautiful way to add a bit of elegance to any keepsake.

How Do You Fill Your Cremation Jewelry?

To use your cremation jewelry piece, that is to add ashes of your loved one to it or any other sentimental item, we recommend setting up a work area. The area should be free of clutter and we also suggest laying down a towel or cloth to work over. You will need the following:

  • A small amount of cremated ashes or other selected remembrance
  • A plastic spoon to retrieve the ashes
  • The filling and sealing kit that came with your jewelry or
  • A small screwdriver, toothpick, small funnel and liquid adhesive


Locate and remove the threaded screw. This can be done by removing the threaded bail at the top of the keepsake or by removing the set screw on the back, side or bottom of the pendant.


Insert the tip of the funnel into the opening of the pendant and, using a plastic spoon or other utensil, place a very small amount of ashes into the funnel. Use the filling sticks to gently push any ashes into the opening of the keepsake. Fill the jewelry about 80% full.


Reinsert the threaded bail or set screw and make sure that it sits flush with the surface of the jewelry. If it does not, than remove the screw and gently tap out some of the cremains.


Unscrew the threaded bail or set screw about half-way. Use a toothpick to apply a thin layer of adhesive on the threads of the screw and then quickly twist the screw in securely.


Wipe away any excess adhesive from the surface of the jewelry and allow the adhesive to set and cure for about an hour. You can then begin wearing your cremation jewelry!

Still have questions? Let us help! Learn more about How To Fill Cremation Jewelry and watch our cremation jewelry filling video!

What Is Included With A Cremation Jewelry Purchase?

We don't believe that extras should cost extra and we also want you to know exactly what to expect when you receive your cremation jewelry. Your cremation jewelry purchase includes:

Top Quality Chain

Your cremation jewelry purchase includes a top quality 20" snake chain where applicable.

Filling and Sealing Kit

Included is a filling and sealing kit to assist with adding the remembrance and creating a secure resting place.

Beautiful Presentation

Your cremation jewelry is packaged in a velvet jeweler's gift box and white presentation box.

How Do You Give Cremation Jewelry As A Gift?

If you have a close loved one, family member, or friend that is grieving the loss of another, you might be wondering if it would be okay to select a piece of cremation ash jewelry and give it to them as a gift to help with their mourning process. While this is a possibility that is worth considering, it is very important that you choose the right piece of jewelry that matches them and that they are okay with receiving this type of gift.

Here are a few tips on how to give cremation ash jewelry as a gift to a grieving loved one:

  • Be tactful with the design and ask to see what kind of jewelry they currently wear. If you can match it to the type of design that they wear, they are more likely to love the piece you get them.
  • Perhaps talk with them about the idea of cremation jewelry. See if it is something that they have put any thought into at all. Find out if wearing this type of jewelry is something they view as acceptable, as not everyone is comfortable with wearing the ashes of a beloved.
  • Listen to them and make notes about who they are missing. Is it a pet that they have lost, an extended family member, or someone extremely close to them like a spouse or parent? You can match the design of the piece to that of the information you are given. Maybe their loved one was a musician or a pet lover; try to match the design with sentimentality while also keeping the individual’s style and design preferences in mind.
  • If you are planning on placing a custom message onto the jewelry, try to pick something that will help the individual remember them more. It could be a favorite phrase, a quotation, or a symbol that commemorates their life.

When you give the cremation ash jewelry to the individual, make sure you are respectful, kind, and gentle with them.

Wrapping It Up - Creating A Touchstone Memory

By purchasing a piece of cremation ash jewelry, you can keep the memory of your loved one alive and close, through a physical object that you can interact with. Not only does this provide a sense of closeness to our loved one but it also provides us with a sense of security, that we can bring them with us, when needed.  Plus, you can craft, shape, and design it in a way that completely suits your preferred styles while maintaining the essence of your loved one.

For further reading:

Tips on Selecting Cremation Jewelry - From budget to metal selection to gifting cremation jewelry, find the answers here!

How An Ash Pendant Can Help Your Child Grieve - Cremation jewelry can be a great tool to help children that are grieving find some comfort.

Photo Jewelry Buying Guide - Learn all you need to know about buying photo jewelry.