There are so many interesting ways in which to honor a loved one or pet who has passed. One of the most popular and practical ways to memorialize our loved ones today is through memorial jewelry, or even cremation jewelry. While the terms can be interchangeable, they can also be used carefully to distinguish between jewelry that contains ashes and jewelry that have nothing to do with cremation, but rather commemorates a special someone.

Memorial jewelry can be a brooch, pin, necklace, ring, earrings or bracelet that has special significance. It can be a heart locket that one wears in memory of a loved one. It can be a bracelet whose links are formed in the shape of dog prints or dog bones, that serves as a constant reminder of a pet who has passed.

Memorial jewelry dates back centuries when people braided the hair of a loved one, which was incorporated into the design of the piece and actually served as a fastener, much like today’s chains or cords (as in the case of a necklace or bracelet). Subjects of Victorian portraits are often wearing memorial jewelry, as it was a common practice at that time. While hair is not usually used in the same way for today’s memorial jewelry designs, small locks of hair or fur are commonly incorporated into lockets or glass beads for today’s jewelry trends.

Cremation jewelry, on the other hand, does contain ashes. A myriad of styles is available to today’s consumer. Most funeral homes and many websites offer cremation jewelry. It often takes the form of a locket, or glass bead. Sophisticated jewelry design also incorporates the ashes in the design, whether under a glass front of a ring, bracelet, or necklace. For those who are not comfortable displaying the ashes, there are designs that incorporate the ashes clandestinely.

Companies that feature cremation jewelry usually send a small vial to the customer in which a small amount of ashes are added. The vial is then sent to the company for incorporation into the jewelry-making process. A customer who is uncomfortable with the handling of the ashes can request that this step is done by the funeral director or crematorium.

Today’s society is more transient than ever. Before cremation, it was customary for families and friends to visit a grave site. However, more and more people are being cremated, and many family members move away from their original hometowns due to job opportunities or lifestyle choices. Cremation and memorial jewelry enables one to carry the memory of a loved one close at all times. This trend will most definitely continue to grow as more options become available. It’s a very personal, reverent way to memorialize our beloved friends, families, or pets.