The History of Cremation Jewelry: Keepsakes of the Dead

The History of Cremation Jewelry: Keepsakes of the Dead

March 11, 2016

The History of the first known pieces of cremation jewelry can be dated back to the beginning of man. Everything from skin, nails, tears or even droplets of blood behind a plate of glass were used as keepsakes. Over time, these memorial keepsakes have evolved from blood to hair and now the use of cremation ashes in modern art work. All with the purpose to help people with grief and the loss of a loved one.


Carved Acorn with the teeth inside —- Teeth memorial necklace

Back in the Victorian ages it was common to have a family portrait taken when someone in the family died. Families who wanted to remember their loved ones after they had passed did so with a family “Death Photo”.It was around this time that memorial jewelry began to take the place of the death photo. At the time, it was called mourning jewelry and did not hold ashes: it held hair. When people died, hair was often clipped from the head of a deceased person and then woven into a bonnet that would be given to the next of kin. This is very similar to the way cremation jewelry for ashes is used today.

A Family “Death Photo” 1800’s —— Woven Human Hair


The first mourning jewelry to incorporate bodily remains featured intricately woven hair. and were often pins, rings or pendants. Mourning jewelry was hair art; hair art is the ancient practice of creating wreaths, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bonnets and other decorative accessories entirely from human hair. The pieces were intricate crochet work and elaborate weaves. This made mourning and the passing less heartbreaking for those that lost a loved one.

Woven Human Hair Memorial Earrings

People considered it bad luck to possess things of the dead such as teeth, skin and nails so, people started carrying things like burial dirt, a lock of hair, or even the cremated ashes of their loved one so that they could keep them close and not have to worry about bad luck following them.
Today Cremation has almost replaced traditional burials and with this growing popularity cremation jewelry has replaced hair art. Modern cremation jewelry is not the only thing people are doing with the cremation ashes of their loved ones. Today cremation ashes are used in everything from Paintings with the ash in the paint, ashes tattooed into your skin, to Glass formed with cremation ashes inside jewelry and works of art. Cremation art has taken the place of the intricate hair art/mourning jewelry of the past.

People have always held on to something to heal grief or feel more connected to lost loved ones. Creating keepsakes from the remains of people who have passed away, I am sure will always be apart of the human grief process.

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Imagine a beautiful wind chime or sun catcher that the sun light shines through the ashes. Imagine a wonderful glass sculpture on your mantle of an ocean wave with the cremation ashes in the crest. Imagine a wonderful candle you can light that illuminates the ashes of your loved one inside the glass. Cremation memorial art is not just jewelry anymore.
I create one-of-a-kind works of art and jewelry that Infuses your loved one forever into glass. Everything I make is a special design. I work one on one with you to create a memorial that fits your loved one. Placing your loved ones, cremation ashes into glass is a beautiful, respectful, and loving way to show your appreciation and remembrance for the life that brought you so much joy. A glass cremation keepsake is the perfect way to show your love and remembrance and can be handed down from generation to generation