Does Cremation Jewelry Help with Grief?

Close up of purple flower blooming in dirt to signify choosing an eco conscious funeral.

There’s a reason that funerals have traditionally ended with a committal ceremony, or lowering the body into the grave. Once a loved one’s body has been committed to the earth, you know that the final chapter of their life has drawn to a close. The same is true with cremation. Once the button is pressed to ignite the cremation chamber, there is a sense that one stage of mourning has ended, and the next phase of healing in the grieving process will begin.

This is one advantage to cremation. It solves the immediate concern – taking care of your loved one’s body – so you can take your time deciding what to do next. Once someone has been cremated, there is no rush to decide what to do with the ashes.

For some, this sense of finality is comforting. For others, it can create anxiety or a desire for something to hold onto in order to preserve a tangible link to the loved one who has passed. Cremation jewelry can fill that role. Whether you have the ashes pressed into a diamond or sealed in a cremation pendent, memorial jewelry provides a way to incorporate a loved one’s ashes into a physical item you can keep close.

Memorial keepsakes are older than you think 

Although cremation jewelry might seem like a modern trend, the idea of memorial keepsake jewelry is quite ancient. There is evidence that people in prehistoric times would keep teeth or hair from loved ones and incorporate it into jewelry. By the Victorian period, it was common to see memorial keepsakes made of intricately woven hair. Later, lockets containing hair, grave dirt, cremation ashes, or other keepsakes became popular.

If history tells us anything, it's that the urge to maintain a tangible reminder of a loved one is common and very human. What's important to remember is that not everyone grieves in the same way, and the experience of loss differs not just from person to person, but also between situations.

For example, the desire to keep a physical reminder of a loved one may be stronger after sudden, unexpected, or traumatic losses, or in situations where a final viewing was not possible. In these circumstances, when closure is harder to attain, a keepsake can help ease the passage from the storm of grief into a time of healing. Memorial items can help fill the void of a missing connection. Or, you may simply cherish these keepsakes for personal reasons – and that's fine, too.

Holding on and letting go

An advantage of cremation over burial is that it gives you a chance to do something personal with the ashes and to say goodbye on your own timeline. And because cremation ashes can be divided, there is no need to make an all-or-nothing choice about how your loved one’s remains are laid to rest.

You can take a bit of time to keep their ashes at home before deciding to scatter them or have them interred. Or you can save a small portion for a keepsake and scatter the rest.

If the idea of a tangible keepsake appeals to you but you don’t want to use cremation ashes, there are alternatives. You could keep a bit of grave dirt or dried funeral flowers, for example. Or you could wear a necklace engraved with your loved one’s thumbprint. Or you could simply hold on to a meaningful personal artifact: an item of clothing, piece of jewelry, stuffed toy, or any other belonging that reminds you of them. The specific form of the keepsake matters less than the comfort it brings you.

Whether you’ve experienced a recent loss, or you’ve had a loved one’s ashes for a while and don’t know what to do with them, French Funerals & Cremations can help. We are available by phone at 505-275-7200, or you can stop by any of our Albuquerque, NM, locations to arrange cremation services, plan a memorial, or learn about options for interring ashes.

You don’t have to decide alone

There are no shortcuts through grief, and nothing can make losing a loved one easy. But the flexibility of cremation and divided ashes can help ease a difficult decision into something more bearable. It’s not a solution that works for every family, but it can provide powerful opportunities to create more personal goodbyes.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one and need help arranging their cremation, or if you have a loved one’s ashes and aren’t sure what to do with them, French Funerals & Cremations can help. Visit any of our Albuquerque funeral home locations or call 505-843-6333 with questions or to learn more about ways we can support you through this difficult time.

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