Blog Post

Wonderfully Unique Options for Ashes

Ahsan Ahmed
July 16, 2021

As cremation becomes more popular, people are looking for unique, meaningful options for their own or their loved one’s ashes (AKA cremains). These options range from tried-and-true choices like scattering, to totally new options like using the ashes to create a diamond. 

We’ve looked into the options, and here are some of our favourites:

Shine Bright like a Diamond

Choose earrings, a necklace or simply a loose diamond.

Ashes can be turned into lab grown diamonds of various shapes, colours and sizes. How does it work? 

  1. Carbon is  extracted from cremation ashes (if you are opting for a burial, carbon can also be extracted from hair). The resulting substance is a powdery carbon graphite, which is the starter material for lab grown diamonds.  
  2. The carbon graphite, along with other materials, is placed into a high temperature, high pressure machine. 
  3. Once growth is complete, your diamond is cut, polished, and returned to you.

Diamonds don’t come cheap. They start around $900 and go up to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the size, shape and colour. The stones can be set in wide ranging types of jewelry or kept loose as a momento.

There are several companies out there offering these one of a kind cremation diamonds. Here are a couple of well-reviewed choices: Lonité and Heart In Diamond Canada.

Creative Urns

Prince's urn made by Foreverence.

This option is a twist on the conventional cremation urn. Traditionally, urns have been made of ceramic, glass, wood, or marble, with limited options in terms of shape and size. These days, cremation urns come in almost any style you can think of, including branded urns, urns in the shape of objects, and urns that fit on your keychain or rearview mirror. 

From a classic piece of hand-crafted pottery, to a funky guitar shaped box, there are lots of creative options for unique urns. Whatever your passion, artisans are creating all types of custom receptacles. Prince’s family commissioned a replica of his home from Foreverence to hold his ashes.

You also shouldn’t feel limited to an “urn” in the traditional sense. A cookie jar, favourite lidded vase or even a tool box can serve as a final resting place. Look for something with a tight fitting lid and enough capacity to store cremains. If you ask, a cremation provider will usually put the cremains in whatever container you like (as long as they don’t have concerns about structural integrity).


Your loved one’s ashes can be a part of a spectacular fireworks display in their honour. Celebrate their life by selecting fireworks in the colours of their hometown sports team or sync the fireworks to a favourite song.

Professional pyrotechnic experts add about three tablespoons of cremains into a fireworks shell. They then create a display that lasts about 3-4 minutes, with the cremains firing in the last shell. You’ll be left with a shining memory of your loved one’s life well lived. For more details, visit either Heavenly Stars Fireworks or Celebration of Life Fireworks.

Tree Urn

Thanks to recent innovation, you can plant cremated remains in a biodegradable urn that grows into a tree. The urn is made of two capsules, one underneath where the ashes are placed and the other containing the seed or seedling of your choice, along with an additive. While ashes themselves are acidic and inert, these urns will come with fertilizer, ensuring that the sapling has enough nutrients to grow. 

The first step is considering which kinds of trees are suited to grow in your area and finding a space large enough for a full grown tree. There are a number of companies offering different options: Bios Urn, BioUrnCanada, Roots Tree Urn, and The Living Urn

Under the Sea

Photo courtesy of Reef Ball Foundation

Did you know that cremated remains can become a part of a living reef? 

A mixture of ashes, seashells, low alkaline cement, and sand are formed into an artificial coral reef and placed on the ocean floor. Over time, the reef creates a habitat for marine life that may provide a home for different species of algae and fish. This is perfect for those who are interested in aquatic life or are fascinated by the deep blue depths. 

Learn more at either Living Reef Memorial or Eternal Reefs.

Try to Keep it Legal…

Surprisingly, Walt Disney World is a very popular (yet definitely illegal!) destination for scattering ashes. Perhaps people have a special childhood connection with the park, or a burning love of all things Disney. Whatever leads people to choose this illicit option, it happens so often that Disney custodians have a special code word for cleaning up ashes: “HEPA cleanup.”

There are many notable Walt Disney World scattering hubs: at the entrance gates, on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, in bushes/flower beds, and (with a hint of irony) in the Haunted Mansion. Some families may love the idea of scattering ashes at Disney, but many other park go-ers do not and the practical realities don’t sound very appealing. If someone is caught scattering remains, rides get shut down and evacuated so that the ashes can be vacuumed up and unceremoniously dumped into the trash. Even if people aren’t caught, the parks are cleaned and flower beds are changed so frequently that loved ones often don’t end up spending an eternity in “the happiest place on earth”.

Honorable Mentions

  • Shoot your ashes into space: you can choose to be shot up like a shooting star, immortalized on the moon, or sent into deep space.
  • Transform them into a vinyl record: about 1 teaspoon of ashes are pressed into the vinyl and the audio is engraved into a lacquer. 
  • Use them in blown-glass:  artisans combine cremains with layers of molten glass to create a unique piece of art. Options range from wearable pendants and beads to decorative flowers and votive candle holders.
  • Spread them from a plane: be sure to reach out to local authorities for any restrictions that may apply. In the U.S., ashes may only be spread three nautical miles or further away from shore, and a Burial at Sea Reporting Form must be completed within 30 days of the scattering.
  • Or even mix them into tattoo ink: less than a tablespoon of ashes are mixed into tattoo ink, and from there the process is exactly the same as getting a regular tattoo. 

Trailblazers are constantly coming up with new ideas for cremains. Let your (and your loved one’s) final resting place be a wonderful and unique reflection of a life well lived.