How to Make Cremation Ash Jewellery
You can make cremation ash jewellery from lots of different materials from glass, to different types of resin, clay, lockets, wearable urns, precious metal clay or any other medium in which you can suspend the particles. They’re very good at withstanding heat, having already been fired at high temperatures, and they come in lots of stunningly natural colours which you’ll see below. The possibilities are endless and we’d like to support other artists to create memorials for bereaved clients. Cremation ash jewellery can be as affordable and easy to make as you like, depending on materials and settings. I’ll cover settings in more detail later. You can learn a bit more about my life as a memorial jeweller in my blog A Day In The Life of a Bereavement Jewellery Artist. If you’re looking for more tutorials you can see part one of How to Make Lock of Hair Jewellery here and part two of this blog is here.
Cremation Ash Substitutes
If you want to learn how to make resin cremation ash jewellery then the first thing you’ll need is some ash. When I wanted to learn how to use it I was told you could practice with wood ash but I thought it would be too light. I already had a business page so I asked if anyone would like a free piece that didn’t mind me practicing. *tw* We had so many requests then but the family I first made pieces for were mourning a child and from that moment on I vowed never to charge those families. We now do between 10-15% of our orders pro bono. You could ask around friends and family especially any horse owners. A horse will give a very large box of ash.
Ownership of Cremation Ash
The Good Funeral Guide has a factsheet here called Your legal rights and responsibilities which explains that there is no definition of cremation ash. The Cremation Act 1902 covers the burning of a body but not the use of ash afterwards. The law in the UK says that remains cannot legally be divided so a small amount removed would not be classed as a body. We advise clients to use common sense with sending us elements that they are allowed to send it. I don’t think there would be a legal issue making cremation ash keepsakes but I hope that we would never be in the situation of being involved in a family dispute. Be sensible with what you work with and try to make it clear in the terms and conditions that you are unable to work with anything a client should not have position of. I also recommend that you make it clear you can’t take responsibility for any loss or damage to the ash in case of natural disaster, loss etc.
Sending Cremation Ash
Clients ask how much ash to send and if they can send it in the post. We post them a kit nowadays and advise they half fill it. They’re 5ml pots so appx 1/2 tsp. I know that for glass pieces they’re advised to send 2tsp per piece or more and funeral directors often recommend this but with my methods below it’s not necessary with resin or clay. Too much ash can make your return shipping more expensive, can be more likely to get spilt and could be devastating if lost. We misplaced one client’s ash (it was in the wrong drawer and I had panicked – but honesty is always the best policy and accidents happen). I advise clients to only send the minimum of their elements, known as inclusions by other keepsake artists, “just in case”. Things can get lost in the post, spilt or blown away. My studio could flood or catch on fire and no matter how careful someone is.
If someone is sending ash from a small pet or person they won’t have a lot. We tell people never to send more than half of what they’ve got. That way, we can ask them to send more if needed. This isn’t so much of a problem with ash, more so with hair, but it’s a good policy to have to cover all eventualities.
Resin Cremation Ash Jewellery
For the best flexibility on settings, cost effectiveness and variety of colours you can use we recommend using resin and preferably with silicone moulds. You can get so many different moulding and casting supplies online but the easiest way to go is starting with a small pack of resin and a cheap pendant mould. We’ll cover this and other media in part two of this blog here and please subscribe at the bottom of the page for more blog!