Choosing an Urn

Choosing an Urn

By definition, an urn is a container to put cremated remains in. That container can take any size, shape, or material. What to use is only limited by what you plan to do with the remains and your imagination.

If you don’t select an urn, cremated remains will be placed within a bag inside a cardboard box.

When choosing what type of container to put the cremated remains in, consider what the final plan is for the remains.

  •  Will they be transported to a location for scattering?
  • Will they need to go through security or customs for international travel?
  • Will they be interred in the ground or in a cemetery?
  • Will they be interred in a niche in a columbarium?
  • Will they be scattered at a place of significance?
  • Do you want to keep a portion of the remains?
  • Will they be shared among family members?
  • Will you keep the container at home on display?

Deciding what you want to do with the cremated remains will determine what you want and need for an urn. Here are a few examples of what you may want to do with the remains and what your urn needs will be.

If you plan to scatter the cremated remains, such as in the River Ganges, we recommend having the remains placed into a scattering urn, such as a cardboard tube. These are ideal for scattering and transporting remains and are available in various decorative patterns. In addition, customs can scan scattering urns, and your Calgary crematory will be able to provide the necessary documents to accompany them on their journey. They are also environmentally friendly and can be recycled once the remains have been scattered.

While all urns typically hold 200 cubic inches of remains, enough for an adult, they come in many different shapes and sizes. Urns are also available in smaller sizes for children and infants. Urns can be made from bronze, composite, marble, glass, clay, hardwood, zinc and bronze, to name just the most common materials.

If the cremated remains are to be interred – permanently placed in a cremation niche – the dimensions of the urn, and sometimes the material it is made from, will be critical. Interred spaces have specifications for what materials are allowed and what sizes can fit. For example, wood is typically not allowed as it will dry out over time and may crack. Likewise, a size will be provided as the urn needs to fit within the compartment. Additionally, some niches are glass-fronted, which will carry additional rules regarding what can be included in the cubicle and what material the urn must be made from.

If you choose to bury the urn, you can have any size, shape, or material you wish. The only limitation will the space where it is to be buried.

Urns can be personalized with images, etchings, names, dates, and sayings. The size, shape and material will determine what can be added and by what means – such as a photo pocket, needing to be engraved, etched, etc. If you choose an option that can be engraved/etched, you will need to decide whether to include a full name or nickname, full dates or years, and any messages. If you have decided what personalization you want, that can drive the decision for the urn. Alternately, you can choose an urn and find out what customization options are available.

Some families wish to keep a part of the cremated remains; a tiny urn is called a keepsake urn. These can be purchased separately and do not need to match other urns used.

Companion urns are two urns that go together. These are commonly used for couples who wish to keep their cremated remains together after passing. Some urns can also accommodate two sets of remains in one urn.

Sculptures are another option. These can be custom-made or selected from standard options in interesting shapes. The cremated remains can be stored within the sculpture, or they can be scattered, and the sculpture is used a monument to the deceased and can sometimes be engraved.

Cremated remains can also be used to make, or stored inside, jewelry. Jewelry typically takes one of three forms:

  • Diamonds – A small amount of the remains can be compressed to make a diamond. The diamond can then be incorporated into a piece of jewelry.
  • Small Vessels – These are often lockets or pendants, used to store a pinch of the remains. Alternately, some pieces can have the remains fused into the piece during creation. Either way, these pieces allow for a small part of your loved one to be worn and kept with you.
  • Fingerprint Jewelry – These personalized pieces have your loved one’s fingerprint included in the design. From rings to cufflinks, bracelets to earrings, the pieces available are as unique as your departed.

When you need a cremation service in Calgary, our trained, compassionate, and experienced funeral directors are available to assist you in every way possible. Whatever your urn needs or wants are, your funeral director can advise on options, suppliers, availability/timing, and review personalization options. Reach out to us today if we can be of assistance.

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