What is a Cremation Stone?
Cremation stones, or cremation rocks, are solid, like normal stones, and come in a variety of colors and shapes. The cremation stone process turns ashes into ceramic-like stones - up to 100% of the ash remains can be used. The number of stones created by each person is unique and the solidification process is similar to how people make ceramics. The ash is purified and turned into a material very similar to clay. Then, this material is placed into a kiln (a very hot oven) and the material turns into hard “stones”. They will range from the size of your thumbnail to your palm. Varying in color and texture from smooth white to porous sea green to a deep, dark reddish-brown, manufacturers are unsure about why the stones are colored the way they are. The stones are lightly polished, but that’s all the processing they go through after they’ve been solidified. Cremation stones are very beautiful, and a meaningful way to memorialize your departed loved one.
The Meaning of Cremation Stones
Cremation stones symbolize that we come from the earth and that we return to the earth after we pass. While we are alive, our bodies are active and vibrant. Once we’ve passed, we become inert and like dirt from the earth. Cremation stones can also represent our bones, which are made of many of the same minerals as stones. Cremation stones represent how we go on, even after we die. Like the Law of Conservation of Mass states, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change forms.” Also, like people, each set of cremation stones is unique. This reflects how each person is a one-of-a-kind beautiful being. Cremation stones can also have individual meanings for those that choose them. Perhaps a person loved rocks and stones or loved gardening or spending time outside. Once that person passes, their loved ones could choose to turn their remains into cremations stones as a way of honoring their passion in life and placed in the garden or other special place. Many people find a tangible piece of their loved ones to be comforting. Also reported is that the stones have a sense of warmth to them.
What to do with Cremation Stones
There is an endless list of ways to use your cremation stones. This is one reason people choose cremation stones, because of how many options you have with them. Here are some ways to use your beautiful, one-of-a-kind cremation stones to honor your passed loved one.
Create an outdoor memorial
Cremation stones are sometimes called cremation rocks and for good reason. They perform exactly like regular rocks you would find outside. And, they are impervious to the elements like wind, rain, or snow, so they won’t be damaged by being left outside. You can use these stones to set up an outdoor memorial for your deceased loved one. You could use a memorial plaque and surround it with stones. Or you could build a cairn, a pile of rocks, which is an ancient tradition to mark gravesites. You could scatter the rocks in various places outside, so you’ll be able to have multiple places of remembrance.
Scatter them in nature
Similar to the practice of scattering ashes, you can scatter your cremation stones anywhere in nature. Choose a place of significance to you and your loved one, or maybe their favorite spot. Cremation stones can be scattered on land, or on the water, where they’ll sink to the bottom in quiet dignity. It’s also easier to scatter stones rather than ash. There’s no risk of ash blowing in your face and they're easier to transport.
Display them in your home
There are many options for displaying your cremation stones in your home. They can be placed in any sort of container, although many people choose clear, so the stones are visible. Whether it’s your deceased beloved’s favorite coffee mug or a decorative plate, there’s no wrong way to display your cremation stones in your home. Many people place them around a picture of their departed beloved and add candles and memorabilia. These stones are warm and comforting in times of grief. A similar custom to cremation stones in South Korea is called death beads. Human remains are turned into beautiful glass beads that are of different colors, just like with cremation stones. There, these beads are traditionally displayed in a dish or vase.
Use them in your garden
A garden is a wonderful place for your cremation stones. They could all be gathered in one spot as part of the garden landscape, or scattered through the garden however you wish. You could also put them in a dish or container and leave them outside in the garden, perhaps close to your favorite chair. They are just like ordinary rocks and can withstand the weather. Placing them in a planter is another attractive way to display your cremation stones in your garden.
Keep one as a paperweight
You might want to use one of your stones as a paperweight. Seeing and handling your stone in daily life could be comforting and help you feel as though your loved one is close by. Cremation stones are made to be handled and can withstand the rigors of day-to-day life. Since you’d only be using one stone, the rest can be displayed elsewhere in your home or used another way.
Incorporate them into a picture frame
A custom-designed picture frame could incorporate some of your cremation stones. Then, you’d have a lovely frame for a beautiful photo of your loved one. This might be a fun craft if you’re the creative sort or a good project to leave to a professional.
Cremation Stone FAQ’s
What if my ashes are old?
Ash of any age can be used for stone cremation. Cremation stones can bring peace no matter how long a person has been gone.
How much of the ash is needed to make stones?
While the process is designed for the full amount of human remains after a cremation, manufacturers don’t need all of the ash. The minimum amount they need is ¼ cup. This means that you could reserve some ash for an urn, or burial.
How much of the ash is lost during the solidification process?
Only a very small amount. Manufacturers may use a small portion of the ash to test before they make the stones. Also, a minuscule amount of remains might be lost during the manufacturing process, such as through airborne dust when the remains are being transferred, and during the final polishing step. However, the vast majority of the remains are turned into stones.
Do the stone manufacturers cremate the body?
No. If you are working with a company to turn your departed beloved’s remains into stones, their process starts after you’ve had the body cremated. All you send the manufacturer is the ashes that remain after cremation.
Who makes cremation stones?
There are multiple manufacturers throughout the world who make cremation stones for families. One of the leading producers in the U.S. is Parting Stone - they solidify your loved one's remains into stones with a proprietary process and ship them directly to your home or funeral home.
How many stones does one body make?
It depends on the size of the body. Generally, this process makes as many stones as there is ash. So, four pounds of ash would give you about four pounds of stones.
How long do these stones last?
Cremation stones, just like a normal stone, do not wear down. So they are very long-lasting.
How hard are these stones?
While called stones, these solidified remains aren’t stone. They are much similar to ceramic in their hardness and density. If you drop a cremation stone, it won’t break. But if you throw it against a hard wall, it will.
Will these stones dissolve in water?
Cremation stones are essentially cremation rocks and will stay completely intact in water, just like a regular stone. These stones could be placed into a pond or water feature outside. Inside, they could be used in a fishbowl or aquarium, which would be a lovely tribute if your deceased beloved was the fish fanatic in the family. Additionally, there are beautiful aquatic planters available, and they would make a great resting place for your beloved’s stones.
Can I scatter the solidified remains?
Yes, you can scatter these solidified remains. They behave just like real stones and will remain where you place them for a long time.
Glass Cremation Stones
There are also options for cremation stones made from glass, commonly referred to as cremation touchstones or memory stones. These have your loved one's ashes infused inside and come in an array of beautiful colors!
Memorial Garden Stones
There are many options for memorial garden stones - these can be cremation stones that incorporate a loved one's ashes or can be a rock or piece of granite or other stone. Many memorial garden stones can be engraved or sandblasted to display a loved one's name, date of birth and passing, a favorite sentiment, and even a symbol or image. Some memorial garden stones can also be painted or drawn on with a marker - where you can write special messages to your loved one. Place a memorial garden stone in a special place in the yard and cherish your loved on for years to come!
Keepsake Urns to Consider
In addition to creating a cremation stone with your loved one's ashes, many families choose to also get one or more keepsake urns - these are smaller urns that hold a small portion of the ashes. Below we highlight some of the more popular ones!