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7 Thoughts to Consider When Choosing an Urn

How to select a cremation urn for ashes?

The death of someone you cherish puts one’s entire world into a different realm. One of the great unfairnesses of it all is the scope of decision-making that one has to endure not only in the early days but as time goes on. It is, therefore, advisable not to hurry when it comes to choosing an urn.

Choosing an urn can be an extremely sensitive and emotional decision, given that it will be holding the physical earthly elements of your person who has died. For many, an urn is a sacred vessel and when it comes to picking the right one, you may want to involve one or more family members or even a close friend to make the decision.

Choosing an Urn

When you are ready to select an urn there are several factors that will influence your decision such as:

  1. Budget: The cost of death services can add up quickly, it is important to consider how much to set aside for an urn very early in your search.
  2. Appearance: Are you hoping for decorative or discreet? Something that suits the style of your person, or suited to the home where it will be kept?
  3. Size: Urns come in tiny jewellery, to palm-sized keepsakes, all the way to full-sized 2L urns. It may end up being a combination of these options.
  4. Inspirational or Spiritual Qualities: Symbols are very commonly incorporated into the design of an urn, including quotes or scripted notes.
  5. Material: Natural fiber or metals, ceramic or glass, plastic or plaster of Paris! The options are nearly endless.
  6. Who Crafted It and Where: Locally made, imported from over-seas, ethical sources…
  7. Function: Will it be used for a scattering ceremony or to be held long-term? Is the urn going to be interred at a cemetery, or something much smaller such as jewellery?

Urns can be something you make, find or purchase. They can even be something that was not originally intended for holding ashes, such as a tea pot, a favourite collectable or even the container that a nice bottle of whiskey comes in.

It is also possible to commission a craftsperson or artist to create a piece that is made in part with the ashes as well as another medium. Glass blowers and potters can incorporate ashes into unique and creative works so that you have a beautiful, personalized craft or art piece that is not a typical vessel.

Ultimately the urn you choose should be something that you feel good about as well as containing the ashes.

How much should my Urn cost?

The cost of urns will vary significantly depending on the material they are made of. For example, bronze is an expensive metal that retains it’s integrity for a very long time and will be higher in price than a brass urn.

Another factor in price will be who is crafting the urn, for example a local artist crafting each one by hand or a large-scale production company. Urns are commonly found for sale through funeral businesses and cemeteries but you may also find a vessel at a flea market, in a gallery or studio or in your family home.

Never be afraid to shop around for the urn or to make sure to stay within a set budget. The most important part of this decision is ensuring that your family is comfortable both with the choice and the cost of the product you are choosing.

What are the different sizes and types of cremation urns for ashes?

Now that we know that cremation urns can be any kind of vessel that suits your needs, it will be important to keep in mind that size does matter. One of the most common volume sizes for vessels that are deliberately created to hold ashes is the individually sized cremation urn of approximately 200 cubic inches (about 3 litres) as established by the Cremation Association of North America (CANA).

This standardized volume size is designed to hold the ashes of one adult person. However, not every urn needs to be large enough to hold the entire amount of ashes for one adult person. There are many who also choose urns that are smaller to hold just a portion of ashes and in these cases, the vessels can be any size you would like. 

The ultimate function of the urn will largely influence the type / material that the urn is made of. If the ashes are to be scattered in the water you may want to consider a biodegradable urn the will float briefly before sinking and dissolving, releasing the ashes into the water.

If you are scattering on land then you could consider an urn designed to facilitate easy scattering or using the temporary container that the ashes will be placed into at the crematorium. These containers most often are cardboard boxes or rigid plastic containers.

Which are the smallest sized urns?

The smallest urn is the Cremation Jewelry Urn. They are a specially designed kind of jewellery that holds a small portion of cremation ashes. Not only are they a good alternative to expensive and large urns, but are also extremely special when you want to retain the memory of a loved one.

They have become quite popular recently as one can keep a memory of their loved ones close by in the form of a chain pendant or a ring for example.

KORU is one of Vancouver’s best quality funeral homes known for their cremation and burial services. They have a range of funeral services and products to fulfill all your funeral requirements.


  • Peter Maxwell
    Posted May 16, 2022 at 1:45 am

    Thank you for sharing this; I wish I had known about it when I was looking for a souvenir. Maybe I’ll be able to obtain another memento? My only piece of jewelry is a necklace made with my father’s cremated ashes from, which has been wonderful. It serves as both a reminder and a beautiful complement to my regular wardrobe, which I enjoy.

  • Olivia Smart
    Posted December 1, 2022 at 4:05 am

    Thank you for explaining about the cost of an urn. I’ve been wondering more about this and wanted to get an idea before talking with the funeral director. I’ll have to keep this in mind when we start going over prices.

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