Keepsake Jewelry – what is it and how does it work

Keepsake Jewellery from Ireland for ashes.

When it comes to choosing a keepsake and you want something with an Irish connection and not be limited to mass-produced impersonal pieces, Irish Urns offers a stunning range of Irish Crafted Jewelry, designed, and individually handmade in Ireland. Our pieces represent high-quality craftsmanship, expressed through precious metals with a Celtic influence.

 We don’t offer Stainless steel and gold plated options, just precious metals, each individually hallmarked in Dublin Castle.

Our sense of loss, coupled with our desire to be close to them, can leave us feeling open to closure, make it difficult to complete daily tasks, and even cause us to feel despair and anger.

Having lost a loved one, we want you to know that we understand and we’re sorry you’re experiencing this difficult time. We hope that our cremation jewelry can be a comfort to you during this difficult time.

In the following article, we will explain what cremation jewelry for ashes is, how it may help you in this difficult journey, and provide you with commonly asked questions surrounding the topic.

So what is cremation jewelry or keepsake for ashes?

One of the hardest things to do as a grieving family or friend of a loved one is to let them go for many the end of a funeral service or Cremation Services, as this is their last chance to say one final goodbye.

In some cases, people may choose to place the cremains (cremated remains) into an Urn and take them home to continue to be with the family, perhaps beside a photo or a candle.

 When the lost person is thought of and loved by several people, families may choose to place the cremains in One urn, and or smaller-sized urns, and often in keepsake jewelry like a necklace.

Cremation jewelry is also known as ash jewelry or memorial jewelry or jewelry for ashes or keepsake jewelry, a keepsake for ashes, this option allows you to keep a small amount of your loved ones remains with you at all times, so it serves as a way to hold their memory, their life story, and their spirit close to you.

As well as holding cremains, cremation jewelry can contain a loved one’s hair, dried flowers from their service, perfume, a piece of soil from where they were buried, a small amount of ashes, or a piece of clothing.

All types of memorial ash jewelry contain an interior compartment where cremation cremated remains/cremation ashes rest, locked away securely. Please note that the room inside is extremely limited. Cremation jewelry has an interior compartment and is different from jewelry that is infused with the ashes of their loved one.

What is cremation jewelry made from ashes?.

When the jewelry is crafted with the infused ashes, this is called cremation ash jewelry, the concept of remembrance is the same, yet how the jewelry is created is entirely different. 

This is where the ashes are infused into a piece of glass, porcelain or similar materials, and then sometimes even created into diamonds and they have then transformed into crystals or the more expensive diamonds.

What is the history of cremation jewelry?

Throughout history, the purpose of grief jewelry has been to acknowledge the loss of a loved one and the difficult transition the family would have to undergo without that person. It served as a reminder of one’s mortality to reflect on how precious life is.

While the exact origin date of cremation jewelry is unknown, there is evidence throughout history that mourning jewelry did exist. Today it’s quite popular among families and individuals because the loss of someone can be traumatic and getting used to life without them is a very difficult path.

A little bit about the cremation jewelry story. 

Cremation jewelry through the years.

We’ll take a look at how cremation jewelry has changed through the years into what families used today as a personal way to remember loved ones.

16th-century – was first known as ‘Morning jewelry’.

Back in 1500 S [16century], the concept of Mourning jewelry, a keepsake for ashes, much like jewelry for ashes was given to families as a symbol of loss.

This type of jewelry is referred to as ‘Memento Mori’ the Latin phrase for ‘Remember you will die’ as a way to encourage individuals to pray for their loved ones and reflect on their own mortality.

It was often given to the family by close relatives or close friends.

17th-century – Memorial jewelry begins to evolve during the 1600s (17th century) memorial jewelry involved bringing in the idea that a loved one’s memory should be honored through the wearing of rings, this type of grief jewelry was to be worn as a daily reminder that our loved ones influenced our lives and their memory deserved to be remembered. To help with this the rings will be engraved with the name, age, birth and death date.

18th-century dash acceptance of cremation jewelry became extremely common among the bereaved. With the passing of Prince Albert of England, Queen Victoria’s court wore morning clothes and dark keepsake jewelry.

This notes a dramatic shift in both use and acceptance of cremation as jewelry, as from here on all jewelry made for this purpose became more elaborately designed.

It was also during the 18th-century locks a hair started to be incorporated with the jewelry while it was not placed into an interior compartment like it is nowadays, it was beautifully braided into lockets.

19th-century giving families – the way to remember.

Finally in the 19th Century- it was recorded that men during the civil war in America, would leave behind locks of hair before leaving for battle, this gesture was so that families would have a piece of them to incorporate into morning jewelry if they didn’t come home. 

How is cremation jewelry worn and displayed?

How does cremation jewelry hold ashes?

No matter what type of cremation jewelry or purchase it will be a handcrafted design with a small hollow space that runs down the center of this piece the interior.

The interior cavity is discreetly hidden away with the access point being completely flush with the top or bottom and jewelry piece so the ashes of their loved one will be inserted into the interior cavity and closed off so they remain inside. 

The jewelry’s interior cavity is accessed either through a treaded screw that provides access to the interior of the peace.

A smaller funnel is used to place the cremated remains into the interior cavity and the screw is put in place to seal the cavity closed.

What are the different kinds of cremation jewelry?

Due to the rise in popularity of cremation jewelry, ash-infused jewelry, and handmade rings necklaces pendants, there are an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to choosing a type when browsing.

When browsing online they’re going to come across cremation pendants necklaces, rings, brooches, charms, keyrings, crystal stones, fingerprints etc. We offer Precious metal Keepsake pendants that are handmade in Ireland, individually crafted with a Celtic influence on each piece of cremation jewelry.

Cremation pendants.

Also refers to as cremation necklaces these are worn around the neck many people refer to this as keepsake urns or keepsake jewelry.

They can come in just for any type of design shape or material and are ideal for men women and even young adults since these are the most popular, you can ask to have some designed in a way for all shapes and forms including hearts, letters, teardrops, crosses, lockets or even medallions and Dog Tag Cremation necklaces for men.

They are often created using poorer quality metals -stainless steel, plated gold but we only ever offer keepsake cremation jewelry in a precious metal eg- Sterling silver and 10 carat gold that are each hall marked in Dublin Castle Assay office.

Type of materials used to make cremation jewelry?

At IrishUrns.com all our pieces are made with precious metals we do not create pieces in copper-brass, tin, stainless steel, or even gold or silver plated, all our pieces are made from sterling silver or 10 karat gold.

Sterling silver.

This is one of the highest quality of silvers available which makes it a fantastic alternative to gold it is an alloy meaning that’s a mixture of 92.5% pure silver and other metals like copper or nickel it is extremely durable compared to other metals and lasts for years that was properly cared for and it’s great for those who cool or neutral skin tones.

Solid 10 ct gold.

While gold ismore expensive, a solid 10 carat gold piece is perfect for those who want the traditional radiance and timeless look of a gold piece.

Why Gold?

 It will never tarnish, it requires minimal cleaning, and is easily altered or repaired 10 karats solid gold offers a good mix of durability value and purity and while being affordable it’s suitable for both men and women.

What can you put in your cremation jewelry?.

Or purchasing personalized cremation jewelry the only limitation is the size of a token that you would like to place in your cremation jewelry as these pieces can only hold items up to a certain size.

While many individuals choose to place cremated ashes into the piece, more and more people are starting to place other types of sentimental pieces in it, for example, a favorite aftershave or perfume of the person you have lost. 

The main thing to remember is that you want to choose a keepsake item that is close to your heart and that you are comfortable with placing into your memorial jewelry. Here are a few examples of what you can place into your memorial generally.

The exterior does not reveal that any of the ashes are installed aside.

When deciding whether to keep ash, hair, etc., make sure everyone in the immediate family is on board.

Some individuals may want to keep a portion of their deceased loved one, no matter how small the pieces, but other people do take solace keeping their loved one altogether in one piece.

The immediate family can ask for a few strands of hair from their loved ones’ doctor or the funeral directors conducting their ceremony. If you are not an immediate family member but you wish to secure a few strands of hair you would need to get permission from the family.

Joy of flowers.

If you’re looking for a unique way to commemorate your loved one, get a few of their favorite flowers and dry out and crush into a powder.

To add a dried flower to earn jewelry simply place them in a plastic bag and gently massage it until this crushed into smaller pieces. Then use a small funnel to slide the pieces into the interior of your memorial jewelry and seal the bail or screw within the some glue.

Soil from the burial site to the grounds of the burial site can provide a very personal way to remember the passing of a loved one. This is an ideal option for those who may not be able to visit the burial site regularly or for those who have been incredibly touched by the funeral service.

 Make sure to take some sandy soil that does not contain any stones, grit or pebbles as they can get caught in the opening of your cremation jewelry preventing it from being closed properly. 

If you do not have access to the burial sites or do not want to take soil from the area, you can use soils from any of your favorite locations, examples of this could be a walking route they always used a favorite walk they had, a park they visited regularly their favorite beach, soil from their back garden or their childhood home, or even soil from their favorite forest, our holiday place, the important part of this is to choose from a place that holds a great sentimental or happy memories.

A small piece of clothing.

Another alternative option is to place a piece of their favorite clothing in the memorial jewelry keepsake. It could be a small piece of scarf they wore every winter etc.

This is ideal for individuals who want physical reminders but are not keen on keeping items like ashes into jewelry.

How do I fill my cremation jewelry?

We understand that filling cremation jewelry is not an everyday ordinary task. To give you an idea of how cremation jewelry is filled here is some more information on what to expect. You will need a filling kit, the cremation jewelry, and ashes for the interior.

Step 1 – locate and remove the screw locator removed the threaded screw. This can be done by removing the screw bail at the top of the keepsake jewelry or by removing the screw on the backside or bottom of the pendant.

Step 2 – place the ashes into the funnel. You can make a funnel from a piece of folded card.

And start to tip with the funnel into the opening of the pendant and using a plastic spoon or utensil, place a very small amount of ash into the funnel. Use a toothpick or match, to gently push any ashes into the keepsake. Fill the jewelry about 80% full to leave room for the screw.

Step 3 – reinsert the screw bail.

Reinsert the screw and make sure that it sits flush with the surface of the jewelry. If it does not, then remove the screw and gently tap out some of the cremains.

Step 4 – Apply the screw and twist to close.

You can add superglue when half closed with a toothpick and quickly screw closed.

Step 5 – Wipe away any excess from the surface of the keepsake jewelry and allow the adhesive to set and cure for about an hour. You can then begin wearing your cremation jewelry.


Can you wear cremation jewelry in the water?

While cremation jewelry will be water-resistant to varying degrees we do not recommend that you submerge your jewelry piece in water all, especially in water where chemicals or soaps will be present.

Do you have to add ashes to cremation jewelry?

Not at all you can add other tokens of remembrance cremation jewelry if you wish to. Items like strands of hair, sand from their favorite beach location or even ashes from afar, from a burnt photograph, perfume, aftershave, etc. all work! You may also want to keep the interior compartment empty. 

Is cremation jewelry just for women?

Cremation jewelry is available for men, women, and children, and there is such a wide array of memorial jewelry available in so many shapes and sizes that you can pick what appeals to you most.

I don’t wear necklaces, what are my options for cremation jewelry?

If you’re not into wearing necklaces, then other cremation jewelry such as cremation bracelets rings, or key chains might be available or you can opt for photo engraved jewelry or fingerprint jewelry if do not require an interior compartment for ashes. We currently do not offer these but let Bob@irishurns.ie know if you would like something commissioned and we will work with you on a design.

I have sensitive skin, will cremation jewelry cause a rash.

Gold is pure, so you shouldn’t have any allergies. 

Can I engrave my keepsake jewelry?

Yes- most pieces have room to add a few characters but the space is very limited. Let us know what you would like.

Can you custom make cremation jewelry for me?

Yes, we can absolutely. 

Yes, we can custom design almost any pendant or design you’re looking for send us an email at bob@irishurns.ie and we can discuss your requirements.

Is cremation jewelry expensive?

There is something available for every budget online but our range is higher-end quality. 

Irish urns and keepsakes offer gold and silver so they wouldn’t be considered as cheap, but they would be considered as very good value and each one is handcrafted in Ireland and individually made to order.

Can you put the ashes in for me?

Unfortunately, this is not a service we offer, however, we do provide a step by step instructions on how to fill cremation jewelry and we can send you a filling and sealing kit if requested.

If you’re not comfortable filling memorial jewelry, your Funeral Home may offer this as a complimentary service.

Will cremation jewelry tarnish?

Over time, certain types of cheaper metals tarnish, it is due to natural oils in your skin from wearing certain kinds of perfume, even sterling silver may tarnish over time if it comes into contact with water but weekly cleaning and polishing with a clean cloth can prevent tarnish.

Gold, if it’s plated may tarnish, but we only sell 10 carat gold and it can be easily cleaned with warm water and basic dish soap and will not tarnish.

We hope you find you found the above information very useful and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have simply by counting contacting Bob@irishurns.ie       

Blog Archive

The Funeral Director can't arrange everything - and you have enough on your plate!

Whatever your beliefs, saying goodbye your way is important.   If you need advice and a little bit of help, contact Dara O’Shea and Louise O’Brien at RHEA Dara and Louise are compassionate ...

Water scattering

A dignified way to say goodbye. At Irish Urn[2] s, we wanted to create a sustainable business where we can do our part in the environmental emergency - The Sea Scattering urn which is a fully biodegradable ...

Dolmens - Ancient Irish Tomb graves for Cremation and Burial

The Burren - One of my favorite landscapes in Irelands and about .5% of the landmass.It will be no surprise that the Burren takes its name from the Irish word 'bhoireann' meaning, 'a rocky place', which ...

Keepsake and Memorial Jewellery Q&A

Keepsake and Memorial Jewellery Questions and Answers Q - What is keepsake Jewellery? A- Keepsake Jewellery is referred to as many things Cremation Jewellery, Jewellery for ashes, Memorial Jewellery, ...

Traditional Irish blessings for a funeral

Traditional Irish blessings for a funeral ~ Poems to read at an Irish funeral Irish prayer for the departed Death is nothing at all I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I, ...

What is an Ash necklace called?

What is an Ash necklace called? Also commonly known as Memorial or Keepsake jewelry, Keepsake for ashes, ashes pendant, ashes necklace, memorial necklace, memorial locket, cremation necklace, ...

Memorial Jewellery in Gold and Silver

Keepsake Jewellery – Keepsake Jewelry Just a short article on why they work emotionally and how they work practically. It's really difficult to make decisions about what to do with cremation ashes. ...

How to Choose the Perfect Cremation Urn

Finding the right cremation urn for a lost loved one is rarely a simple task. It is invariably a solemn endeavour, the importance of which can be overwhelming. A choice that is usually made while in ...

Urns for Ashes – Irish Celtic Symbol Engravings

Irish culture is replete with symbols which are rich in history and deep in meaning. From symbols which date back to the times of the ancient Celts to more recent symbols which have a firm place in modern ...

Cremation Urns for Pets - How to Cope with the Loss of a Pet

There are some who may respond to the idea of urns for pets with a slightly quizzical look or bemused expression. But the loss of a pet can be quite a devastating thing, and anyone who thinks otherwise ...