Glass or Resin Cremation Ash Jewellery?

If you’re looking for memorial jewellery, you might be wondering about the pros and cons of glass or resin cremation ash jewellery. There are benefits and drawbacks to both and because we offer both, we can give you an unbiased guide.

A Bit of History – Cremation Ash Jewellery

Memorial jewellery has been around for thousands of years. It is believed that from the very dawn of humanity, our species have kept keepsakes from loved ones when they passed away. Early Anglo Saxon teenagers kept pretty trinkets. Mourning jewellery and lock of hair mementos were very popular with the Victorians who would keep their loved ones’ locks behind glass in large lockets and brooches. Hair would be woven into fabulous designs or placed amongst dried flowers.

Mourning brooches containing the hair of a deceased relative. Victorian lock of hair jewellery
Mourning brooches containing the hair of a deceased relative

In the past few decades artists have started to work with human and pet cremation ashes as well as hair or fur, and more recently, breastmilk, umbilical cord and placenta.

The Basics of Glass or Resin Cremation Ash Jewellery

The lockets from the Victorian age were beautiful but modern jewellery collections include charm beads, dainty rings and little dangling necklaces. We create these shapes and set them with sterling silver and gold. Our biggest seller have always been the charm beads for Chamilia or Pandora bracelets.

family order cremation ash cufflinks in Aegean blue resin, ring in mermaid teal resin, glass cremation necklace and charms Tree of Opals
family order cremation ash cufflinks in Aegean blue resin, ring in mermaid teal resin, glass cremation necklace and charms

About Resin Jewellery

Resin jewellery is made with epoxy or UV resin, which is a kind of plastic. Epoxy resin cures slowly over several hours or days, whereas UV resin only cures when exposed to sunlight or a UV lamp. Resin can be poured directly into settings (bezel cups) such as rings and necklaces, which is known as a drip pour. For more flexibility, artists often choose to use silicone moulds into which the resin is poured and set. We create these cabochons (resin “stones”), pearls and charms (blanks) so that we can let clients see the colours before setting it in the metal “findings”.

mermaid teal cremation ash ring on brushed 3mm wire band
mermaid teal cremation ash ring on brushed 3mm wire band

Resin Pros
Resin is quite durable, water resistant and versatile. Because it’s cured at room temperature we can add all sorts of things such as birthstones, opalescent flakes etc. We can add hair, dried petals and fabric and they stay visible. Resin is less expensive to produce because of the speed at which it can be made, especially with UV curing resin and the cost of the materials. We can make several variations with different combinations of colour to give our clients more choice (not possible with the drip method). We can remake resin jewellery by other designers, capturing the ashes and re-setting them with fresh resin in our moulds.

Resin Cons
Sadly, resin isn’t completely water proof and it can be subject to going dull easily from misuse such as chemicals or heat, as with any plastic. It’s not as strong as most gemstones or glass. To keep resin jewellery at its best we advise clients to follow our care procedure. We can repair some issues like scratches but the results would never be as good as the original.

About Glass Jewellery

Glass can be melted onto a “mandrel”, a specially coated metal stick, or it can be fused in a kiln either by itself or in a plaster mould. Glass jewellery is made using a technique called glass fusing or lampworking, both of which require very high heat and special tools. Just like with resin blanks, these can be set in metal afterwards.

teal glass cremation charm ashes, solid sterling silver core for Pandora bracelets, memorial jewellery by Tree of Opals
teal glass cremation charm by Tree of Opals

Glass Pros
Glass is much stronger than resin and is waterproof. The jewellery can be worn for swimming (although the chemicals might react with the silver or gold). It’s plastic-free and some people think it’s more natural. The pieces retain their shine more easily and are very hard.

Glass Cons
Glass is much more expensive to produce than resin which can drive the cost up a little. Each piece takes days to make and some of the pieces break during the cooling process. Although we can add hair, it would burn away in the flames and isn’t visible. We’re unable to add birthstones and the colours aren’t as deep or complex sometimes as the resin pieces. We only make one of each piece for the client so we can’t check that clients like them.

Glass or Resin Cremation Ash Jewellery?

In our opinion, glass is a durable and hard-wearing option. It’s great if you need a piece to last a lifetime of wear and tear and is worth the extra. Resin is great for versatility and if you want certain colours and shapes, to see a lock of hair or birthstone and you’re able to look after the jewellery. The pros and cons of glass or resin cremation ash jewellery means that they are both a good choice and we’re happy to help you decide if you’re stuck.

Glass Ash Charm Sets pink glass cremation charm and fairy pink cremation ash charm resin. Resin or glass jewellery?
pink glass cremation charm and fairy pink cremation ash charm resin. Resin or glass jewellery?

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