Urns: Why the material matters

The wide variety of cremation urns available makes it possible for us to find the perfect resting place for our loved one. The long list of designs, materials and uses however, can make searching for the right urn a little challenging. The first thing you’ll need to decide is what you want to do with your loved one’s ashes, whether that be burying, scattering or keeping them on display at home. Once you have made this decision, you can begin researching which urn will best fit your needs. When you come to make your choice, be sure to educate yourself on the properties of the urn’s material, as it could have an effect on your plans or even hinder them completely. If you plan on travelling abroad with your urn for example, you will need to choose a material which can be x-rayed by airport security. Here is some key information on some of the most popular materials used for cremation urns.


Glass, Crystal, Ceramic and Fibreglass Urns

Glass and crystal urns for ashes are lightweight, very delicate and fragile so it is important to keep them somewhere where they’re unlikely to get knocked over. Ceramic and fibreglass urns are very popular, they have a smooth, glossy, clean surface and can feature unique designs and lovely colour variations which will never go out of style. Artists can paint these urns to create beautiful works of art and are best suited to be used as display urns in a home or in a columbarium.

Wooden Urns

Urns can be made from practically any kind of wood. Some of the most common types of wood used for cremation urns include maple, pine, oak and walnut. More exotic woods like mahogany, zebrawood and yellow heart are also popular for those wanting a natural looking, wooden urn.

Biodegradable Urns

Biodegradable urns are made from environmentally friendly materials such as recycled paper, Himalayan salt, leaves, bamboo, sea grass or other plant based materials. These materials are non-toxic and will break down over time, meaning they cause no harm to the environment when buried or placed in water.

Although these urns are meant to eventually break down they are still sturdy enough that they can be handled and transported.

Thanks to society becoming more environmentally conscious, biodegradable urns and other green burial options such as natural coffins are more popular than ever and are the perfect choice for a loved one who loved the earth.

Marble Urns

Marble urns are among the most traditional and beautiful kind of urns available. These urns offer timeless durability and due to the variations in marble, each marble urn will be different and unique.  Many families who choose a marble urn for ashes decide to have it engraved to give it a personal touch.

Metal Urns

Metals such as aluminium, brass and copper make for lovely urns as they are lightweight, non-magnetic and resistant against corrosion. Copper however may react with the oxygen in the air which can turn the metal green over time. This process can take 20 years however and with proper maintenance and care the urn can be returned to its original colour.

Bronze is one of the most popular metals for cremation urns, most people choose to keep bronze urns on display in an outdoor environment. Urns can also be made from gold, silver and stainless steel. These metals are normally used in many pendants, necklaces and other cremation jewellery for ashes. Each of these metals are beautiful but their properties can vary. Gold for example is a durable metal which doesn’t oxidise or corrode, meaning it should last forever. Stainless steel is scratch resistant but hypoallergenic and prone to rusting, meaning that this metal – along with Sterling Silver – needs to be polished and cleaned every now and then.