Qualities of a Good Memorial Urn
A good cremation urn is like beauty itself. Its value is in the eye of the beholder. A quick look at the sheer variety of cremation urns available these days is a testimony to that idea. Cremation urns are available in just about every shape, size, color and material that one can imagine. And the collective creativity that goes into the making of cremation urns is about as inspirational as human endeavor can get. Cremation urns today available in the form of football helmets, soccer balls, fishing polls, and motorcycle gas tank. Others take on the shape of pets and even people. And still others are beautifully crafted sculptures made from bronze, glass, ceramic clay or even wood, and, of course, the traditional “Grecian urn” made famous by the timeless 19th century poem by John Keats, still remains a popular choice today – more popular than ever, in fact, some experts have said.
But, despite all the variety and choice, many people remain perplexed about an important question related to cremation urns: what, exactly, makes for a good one. It’s all a matter of personal taste, any good cremation urn sales person will likely say. But that might not be helpful to some, considering the unique nature of the ultimate purpose of an urn. Choosing a final resting place for a person’s earthly remains is simply a daunting, perhaps even overwhelming, task for many people. So, while we recognize the important role of “personal taste” in the matter of choosing a good cremation urn, we also recognize that there are a lot of factors to consider before taste can even begin to play its part. Hence we provide the following list of qualities that anyone who is considering the perfect cremation urn for himself, a family member or maybe a friend would be wise to keep in mind during the search.
Purposes of Cremation Urns
A cremation urn can mean many different things to different people. In fact, if one was to gather in a room 100 people in the market for a cremation and pose the question, “what is your main purpose in finding a cremation urn,” the answers would likely be as varied as the personalities being questioned. The fact is, there is no unified purpose for a cremation urn, despite there being very little question of what, generally speaking, a cremation urns overall purpose is: a home for the ashes of a cremated person.
Cremation urns are, obviously, much more than a home for ashes. From the very moment they are selected and purchased (or designed and made) they become the personality of the deceased; they become a legacy. For many people, answering the question of what the main purpose of a cremation urn is will mean that a person has to summarize a life. “I want to show the love I have for my country,” one might say. Or, “Grandma loved her family and her farm more than anything.” Or, “God delivered us all from death through our Savior Jesus Christ, so dying is a transition time rather than a beginning (or even an end). My urn will have to reflect that somehow.” Or, “Dad spent all his fortunes giving us kids a life of luxury; his urn will have to be as luxurious as that.” It is clear that the purpose of an urn is much more than simply storing a person’s cremated remains. In fact, some might even argue that the cremation remains are the least important part of an urn. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available on today’s memorial products market for making sure that an urn selected to memorialize anyone can be an astoundingly perfect fit.
Choosing a Cremation Urn
The first thing to know about choosing a vessel for ashes is that there is plenty of selection, and that means there is no need to settle for anything other than an urn that fits your needs precisely – And we mean precisely. While the search may eventually get to the point, as one cremation urn shopper put it in a blog about the experience, “in which you realize that sometimes you just have to shoot the engineer and build the darn bridge,” there is little reason to stop searching even then. Take your time, experts warn. If there is anything even a little lacking in the cremation urn you have chosen, just remember to keep looking. While cremation urn retailers who are eager for your business may not tell you this, it is a well established fact that many people search for the perfect urn for years after a death in order to find the precise cremation urn that will reflect the precious loved one’s spirit in exactly the right way.
Websites offering cremation urns usually have thousands to choose from, and many of their customers report that they return to the sites’ images many times, over the course of years even, before finally selecting the urn that will be used for their ashes or those of the loved ones for whom they have been entrusted to care for the remains. Many of these people report that, in searching for an urn for a family member, they stumbled upon the cremation urn that would be perfect for themselves and have ended up buying both at once.
Whatever the case, those who are searching for the perfect cremation urn should be careful to consider that there is absolutely no rush in deciding. The term “temporary urn” often stamped on the containers in which a person’s cremains are return to a family has been widely disparaged by critiques as simply a sales tactic done by funeral home sales staff. (The critiques have been so thorough in recent years that many companies have discontinued the practice, though it is still common across the United States.) By clever use of the word “temporary,” the funeral home insinuates that the generic container it gives to families is not suitable or worthy of the long-term storage of a person’s remains. This leads customers, in many cases, to prematurely select a cremation urn from the funeral home’s own offerings. Funeral homes are quick to use this tactic because they typically realize that, once a family leave the funeral home’s premises and begins searching for cremation urns on the internet, they will quickly realize that there are thousands of great urns to choose from aside from the funeral home’s selection. And that will mean the customer is likely lost. Funeral homes realize, from a strategic point of view, that they have their best chance at making a cremation urn sale only if they can finalize the deal before the family discovers the many other urns that are available (often at much lower prices) elsewhere. This is why experts in funeral consumer activism and information uniformly discourage families whose loved one has been cremated to avoid buying their cremation urn directly from the funeral home with which they have been working – unless they are clearly certain that the funeral home’s selection has the very urn that they consider perfect. The experts say it is usually worth taking a look at the funeral home’s offerings, but they discourage anyone from making a decision to buy an urn they see until they have had time to search for similar products on the internet.
Cremation Urn Designs
As a family searches the memorial products world for cremation urns, they will quickly notice that varied designs are plentiful. As anyone who seriously searches for a cremation urn will learn, selecting the right urn is mostly a matter of taste – so long as the taste is in keeping with the life and legacy of the deceased, of course. And there are many delicacies to choose from – thousands, in fact, on most websites that sell cremation urns and other memorial products.
Cremation urns are available made from wood that depict scenes from nature in very creative ways; these are sometimes called nature urns and many men and women who consider themselves nature lovers have been known to request (or even select for themselves) these urns for their own cremation remains. But even having that help in deciding what makes for a good cremation urn can still lead to a daunting struggle for a family or loved one of someone who as died. This is because, within the very category of nature wood urns there are hundreds of choices that have been designed and manufactured by artists. There are nature wood urns depicting desert scenes, evening scenes, river scenes, campfire scenes and even scenes in which the central focus is a large, majestic cross. The choices may seem, for many, almost endless.
And wood urns are just the start. Ceramic clay urns can be crafted that resemble famous sculptures and statues, or they can be original designs crafted by an artist himself. Likewise ash vessels made of ceramic can be simple vessels that feature a beautiful glazes. Sculptures and statue urns can also be made from many other artistic media. The good news about what makes for a good cremation urn is that, well, just about anything can make for a good cremation urn. (Yes, it’s true, even a coffee can has been used, in all seriousness, as a cremation urn. In fact, such props have been used multiple times for such purposes – usually these choices are made in order to entice a political point of some sort. A man or woman who rejected the values of a commercial society might very well be justified in selecting – or having selected – such an urn. )
The bad news is that selecting the right urn can be a significant challenge. But, again with some good news to end this article, the challenge – when done with the correct spirit, one of happily celebrating a legacy of a life well lived – is well worth the effort.