What Is An Urn?

An URN is a container used to store the remains of a deceased individual. Typically an urn is made of wood, stone or ceramics. Urns can also be any container large enough to hold the remains of the deceased this may be commercial produced or something more personal like a large jewelry box or vase. In recent years a more environmentally friendly urn that decomposes when buried has been developed.

What can be used as an urn?

Although some crematoriums have rules as to what can be used as an urn. It is generally excepted that any item large enough to hold the cremated remains is acceptable. Keep in consideration that the average adult urn is around 200 cubic inches. Many people like to choose object that meant something to the deceased or living relatives. 10 examples of everyday items used as urns are.

  1. Folgers Can (Made popular in several movies)
  2. Old Wine Bottles
  3. Garden Vases
  4. Jewelry Boxes
  5. Personal Made Pottery
  6. Old Tin Boxes/Cases
  7. Mason Jars
  8. Keepsake Jewelry such as necklaces
  9. Glass Vase Bottles mixed with sands or shells
  10. Carved Wood Boxes (include images that relate to the deceased)

What size urn do I need?

The size of urn required varies greatly by the size of the deceased individual. On average 200 cubic inches will fit the cremated remains of a full size adult. For a more in depth size comparison we have included a general requirement chart below.

Deceased Individual Required Urn Size In Cubic Inches
Large adult Over 6FT210-250
Average Adult200
Teenager 125
Keepsake Jewelry 5-25

It is fine to use a larger than needed urn if you so wish. Finally if you choose to have the urn kept in a Columbarium you will want to contact the cemetery to find out about any height and width requirements. We cover columbarium in detail in this post.

What is a keepsake urn?

A Keepsake Urn is a smaller urn used to share the cremated remains of an individual. Not large enough to hold all the remains the purpose of a keepsake urn is to give living members of the family or close friends of the deceased a token to remember them by. Keepsake urns typical hold around 5-25 cubic inches of cremated remains and come in many shapes and styles. Most popular of these are necklaces, small boxes, and micro vases. Keepsake necklaces can be a great gift for younger family members who may have lost a parent or grandparent.

What to engrave on an urn

Although the size and material of the urn will play some part in what you can engrave on an urn. You should talk with family and friends about what best summarizes the deceased life. You may want to focus on the individuals passions or a major life achievement. Some people wish to go with a family joke or moment. If you still struggle on what to engrave on an urn here is 10 ideas.

  1. In memory of
  2. A favorite religious quote
  3. Rest in Peace
  4. In heavens care
  5. May angels carry you
  6. Loved Always
  7. Mother/Father of
  8. Son/Daughter of
  9. A favorite joke
  10. A memory of the deceased

How much do urns cost?

The cost of an urn varies greatly based on the size, material and detail put into it. On average an urn will cost $200-$1900 dollars. See chart below for an average cost per urn based on size, and material.

Size Of UrnWoodMetalCeramicStone
Large adult Over 6FT$650$350$414$700
Average Adult$325$295$295$389
Teenager $210$120$175$189
Keepsake Jewelry $44$33$64$29

This chart gives you an average cost however adding things such as engraved personal quotes or custom one of a kind urns, will greatly increase the cost.

What type of urn is best for burial?

Biodegradable or wood urns are best for burial. Some things to take into account before choosing a burial urn are cemetery rules and whether you intend a inground or above ground burial. Some cemeteries have both size and material requirements for urns. If an urn is to be buried in a plot you may want to go with a biodegradable option; it is more environmentally friendly. Wood will also breakdown over a longer period of time. Wood is slightly less environmental due to the stains and paints often used on them. Stone or metal can be used but won’t breakdown so works best for a more permanent solution. If you intend to use a columbarium your options are typically only limited by the allotted space per plot. If you are interested in a ceramic urn, make sure to check with the columbarium to insure it is allowed due to the urn’s fragile nature. Finally, no urn at all might be an option to consider. Scatter gardens are becoming more popular solutions as people look for burial alternatives. Most states will allow ashes to be spread on private property or gardens designed to accommodate ash scattering. You can find more information about scattering ashes in this post.

As you can see there are many types, sizes and cost of urns. I encourage you to take your time when looking for an urn to make sure the urn you pick fits your image and budget. If you intend to scatter the remains of your loved one, then there is no need to spend a large sum on an urn. You may want to look at a alternative to an urn listed above in this article.

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Readinform is a Wisconsin based writer for funerals explained. They have come to understand the struggles of death and loss. Through life experience they have gathered the knowledge to help others and answer questions related to the funeral industry. When not writing readyinform focuses on learning new things and exploring the differences society offers.

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