Technically speaking, any receptacle used to carry the cremains (remains after cremation) is a cremation urn. The concept of placing the ashes of a person in a revered receptacle as a token of honor and remembrance is an age old one. In the olden days, some people carried small amounts of ash in bracelets or lockets. Many religions permit the use of relics, bones and other artifacts to preserve the memory of a saint or leader. This concept has evolved with the passage of time and has led to the emergence of exquisite urns that symbolize love and respect.
Cremation urns are not limited to humans alone; urns may carry the remains of pets too. They come in just about as many sizes and shapes as the creative genius and artistic imagination of the people making these urns. There are different kinds of urns for adults and children. Some urns are big, others are small; some are plain while others carry elaborate designs. Cremation urns can be made of ceramic, granite, bronze, wood, glass or marble. You can even have urns decorated in gold or silver. If you haven't already guessed, your creativity and the depth of your purse are the important factors that dictate the kind of urn you should purchase.
The type and variety of cremation urn you choose will decide the cost too. Some people even commission artists to create 'pieces of art' that are unique, beautiful and exceptional. So, don't be surprised if the cost of one of these beauties makes you wince! Commissioned artisans may charge you thousands of dollars for exclusive rights to their work. Another factor that influences the cost of the urn is the urgency of requirement. If you intend to hold on to the memory of someone dear by preserving their ashes, it's pretty obvious that you will need an urn. In that case, you should consider buying or choosing the vessel of your desire in advance. Opting for a good urn at the hour of need and in the anguish of death can turn out to be a costly affair.
The primary aim of an urn is not decoration. Not all urns are kept on display. Some urns are not kept for viewing but are kept strictly away from public eyes. Stylish ones are used for purposes of artistic display. Urns can be bought just for one person only or it can keep the cremains of more than one person. If you are preplanning your own final arrangements, you have the option of buying a number of keepsake urns that will go to different family members, each one receiving some of the ashes. Since the decision is a purely personal one, there really are few restrictions and no rules on the choice you make, or the methodology you adopt.
Once the ashes are collected in an urn, you have to decide where to keep it. If you decide to deposit it in a niche, probably in a church, mausoleum or chapel, you will have to comply with the rules and restrictions placed by the facility. In that case, it is better to clarify their specifications and then buy the urn accordingly.