Ashes to ashes, dust to ... diamonds? Here are 10 ways to give cremains a life after death.
1. An hourglass
Time for some symbolism! Hourglass iconography on gravestones dates back to the Puritans. Now Lifetime Hourglass Urns can accommodate the ashes of one or two loved ones.
2. A Vinyl Record
Your cremated loved ones can't turn over in their graves, but they can spin right round on a record player. The British service And Vinyly presses ashes into vinyl so the dearly departed can rest in peace at 33 rpm. Families can provide the audio or have the service compose an original song, known as "bespook music."
3. A Diamond Ring
Human life is finite, but diamonds are forever. The memorial jewelry company LifeGem uses carbon from cremains to create diamonds of assorted cuts, colors, clarity, and carats. The gems can be used to make various pieces of jewelry, but we're thinking an engagement ring might be a little creepy.
4. A Teddy Bear
To paraphrase Yogi, this is more morbid than the average bear. The company stores cremains inside the plush and cuddly body of a stuffed animal.
Commemorative tattoos don't just honor deceased loved ones. Some are made with them! Tattoo artists can sterilize cremains and then mix them with tattoo ink, so the dearly departed is always under your skin.
6. Something to Write With
Ink isn't for everyone. The Carbon Copies project by designer Nadine Jarvis turns cremains into a set of 240 pencils. Each is stamped with the departed's name and birth and death years. Pencils are accessed one at a time and sharpened into a wooden box. After each pencil is used, the box of shavings can be kept as an urn.
7. A Portrait
Now a painting of your late grandmother can really be of your grandmother. A number of artists mix cremains and paint to create a special memorial portrait, landscape, or still life.
8. Stained glass
Let there be light. Stained glass pieces bonded with cremains are beautiful alt-urnatives, err, urn alternatives.
9. Human DNA trees
Here's a new twist on the tree of life. An art venture called Biopresence claims to transcode human DNA into trees to create a leafy, living memorial that isn't technically genetically modified. Consult their helpful chart above if you have any questions. We're guessing it's not like Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas.
Go out with a bang! Companies like Heavenly Stars Fireworks transform ash scattering into a pyrotechnic extravaganza. Writer Hunter S. Thompson was memorialized this way in 2005. If ammo better suits the departed, a company called Holy Smoke turns cremains into shotgun shells.