They say there’s only one thing certain in life and that is that one day we will all die. People seem to be taking an increasingly more upbeat view of death too with novelty coffins, themed funerals; lively pop tunes over traditional, downbeat hymns and even celebratory post-burial parties now becoming commonplace. Another increasingly popular trend is the move towards cremation rather than burial; but what about the ashes?
If you’d rather not end up in a nice urn on a relative’s mantelpiece, here are some of the original and rather surprising options available.
If you fancy going out with a real ‘bang’, why not have your ashes packed into fireworks? Believe it or not, there are a number of companies in the UK that offer this service, although most fireworks companies will accommodate upon personal request.
All or part of the ‘cremains’ can be incorporated into the firework and the packaging personalized with the name of the deceased and a personal tribute or prayer. Prices vary from around £75 for a single rocket up to £250 for a box of assorted fireworks.
Diamonds are formed when carbon is heated up and placed under immense pressure. This process usually occurs over millions of years deep within the earth’s crust but ingenious scientists have developed a method of creating the gems in a fraction of that time in the laboratory.
The human body contains a lot of carbon. The carbon found in human ashes can be heated and pressurized, resulting in a perfect diamond. The gem can then be cut, polished and mounted into a piece of jewellery. The cost depends on the colour, cut and carat of the finished product and prices vary from £2,700 to £11,000.
If the deceased was a keen seafarer or ecologist, it may be a fitting tribute to have their ashes moulded into a permanent, eco-friendly reef which will provide a home for sea life once it’s submerged in the ocean. This is a US service and is available in Florida and Acapulco through a company called, ‘Eternal Reefs’ and will set you back from $3,000.
A number of artists can be commissioned to paint a portrait of your departed loved one using the ashes and a photograph. The ashes are made into a paste which is then mixed with liquid and applied to a pencil sketch or painting underneath. Commissioned paintings vary in cost but start at around $200.
Human ashes can be made into decorative glass ornaments which might be more appealing than an urn around the house. Options include; paperweights, sculptures, sun-catchers, vases or perfume bottles and there are quite a few companies who offer this service. The ashes are blended with molten glass which is moulded before being slowly cooled.
Prices vary depending on design, colours, shape and size but range from $150 to $1,000.
An increasingly popular and rather bizarre option for the more adventurous is to have the ashes mixed with ink and tattooed onto your skin.
There are plenty of tattooists prepared to offer this service but proceed with caution; there is a risk that your body may try to reject the remains, no matter how finely they’re ground. It’s wise to ask professional advice before choosing this option. The cost varies tremendously so always get a quote first and choose a tattooist with plenty of experience in this technique and a good reputation.
Out of this World
A company called, ‘Celestis’ will take a small portion of the cremains and scatter them in the earth’s orbit, in deep space or even on the moon! Apparently, Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry’s ashes were scattered in space by this company.
If you’d prefer that the ashes be returned to you following their space flight, this can also be accommodated. The cost varies from $1,000 up to $10,000, depending on the service you opt for.
The “Eternal Ascent Society” provides this popular service. The cremains are processed and placed in a 5 foot, biodegradable balloon. The balloon is inflated using helium then released at a site chosen by the deceased’s family where it ascends to a height of around 30,000 feet. The balloon travels heavenwards; as it does so it expands and upon reaching a height of approximately six miles, it freezes and fractures, scattering the ashes to the four winds.
The service costs from $1,000 to $2,500.
Cremation jewelry is designed to allow you to keep a small amount of the ashes with you all the time if you wish. There’s a wide range of designs; lockets being very popular. Prices range from as little as $50 upwards, depending upon what you want.