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Choosing a Decorative Urn

After deciding on using an urn to store the ashes of a loved one, the question still remains: what kind of urn should you get? Several considerations inform the decision you will make, and the most important one is the size of the urn. A general rule of thumb is that every pound of the deceased’s body weight will produce a cubic inch of ash after cremation. Single cremation urns have a capacity of 200 to 300 cubic inches, and are ideally suited for holding the remains of a single adult individual. Companion urns can hold anywhere from 400 to 500 cubic inches of ash, and will therefore be suitable for containing two adult individuals’ worth of ashes, which leads to their being used to hold the ashes of a couple. Keepsake urns have a small capacity, topping out at 50 cubic inches, and they are usually used to store a portion of the ashes, where storing the entire body’s worth of ashes would be impractical.

After determining the size of the desired urn, the next consideration is that of where the urn will be located. If the urn will be interred in a columbarium, for instance, then there is little use in decorating it too much, given that it will be housed behind a plaque in a niche and nobody will actually look upon it. But if the urn is meant to be displayed, then obviously one would want it to look its best, and serve as a miniature headstone of sorts.

A decorative urn need not ever look like an urn; for example, it is becoming increasingly common to design funerary urns as icons of some sort. Examples of these designs include angels, eagles, holy symbols, and so forth. Other urns include the ability to have inscriptions engraved upon them, usually communicating the identity of the deceased interred within, but sometimes with inspirational quotes and verses intended to benefit the living who view it. Some have space for photographs to be placed on them, to better remember the departed after time passes and they begin to fade from memory. Other, smaller urns, such as the keepsake urns, can be used as ornaments on an office desk, and the smallest class of keepsake urns, more commonly known as keepsake jewelry, can even be worn!

The exact decorations of the urn will vary according to personal taste and those of the deceased. At the very least, however, an urn should list the identity of the person contained therein, so it will be able to fulfill its function of helping people remember who its occupant was.

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