Cremation jewelry is jewelry that is designed to contain a tiny bit of cremated remains of a departed loved one or friend. However, cremation jewelry can also hold dried flowers, soil from a favorite vacation spot, or sand from a favorite beach. It is available in a variety of styles and can be made from many different materials.
Before you attempt to fill cremation jewelry on your own, it's a good idea to become familiar with how cremation jewelry is designed to work.
Identify the Opening
Before you can begin to fill your cremation jewelry, you must first determine how the jewelry opens. Cremation jewelry is usually designed to open in one of three ways: with an internal screw, an internal threaded bale, or an external threaded cap.
Filling the Jewelry
The process of filling cremation jewelry can be made easier by using the following items: a small flathead screwdriver, a toothpick, a small funnel, and an adhesive (we generally recommend clear silicone). While the funnel and silicone may not be absolutely necessary in certain cases, these items may sometimes be included with cremation jewelry.
Open the cremation jewelry pendant, bracelet or ring by either unscrewing the threaded cap or internal screw. In our example, the small internal screw is removed with a small screwdriver. This screwdriver is similar in size to a screwdriver that is used to tighten or remove the screws from a pair of eyeglasses.
Next, place the small funnel into the opening. Gently pour a small amount of finely-grained cremated remains slowly into the funnel. If a funnel hasn't been provided with your jewelry, you can simply use the broad end of a toothpick, like a tiny shovel, to gather and lift some of the cremated remains. Using this method, gently guide the ashes from the broad end of the toothpick into the jewelry. The toothpick may be used to help guide the ashes into the pendant, with or without the use of a funnel. Make sure the jewelry is filled only about 90% full, to ensure there is enough room to replace the screw.
Sealing the Jewelry
Most cremation jewelry manufacturers recommend sealing the cremation jewelry with an industrial sealant. After all, you don't want the ashes to come out. However, you should proceed with extreme caution when working with glue to seal the threaded screws into place because many of these pieces are very small and the sealant dries very quickly.
If you decide to permanently seal the jewelry with fast-acting adhesive, first ensure the threads on both the pendant and the screw are clean and clear of ash. Begin to thread the screw back into place FIRST. After the screw has been replaced about halfway into the piece, apply a small amount of glue to the toothpick. Then transfer the glue from the toothpick to the threads or gasket, if applicable, and QUICKLY finish threading the screw. If the sealant dries before rethreading has been completed, the screw will not thread properly. If this happens, soak the screw in acetone (fingernail polish remover) to remove the sealant and try again.
As an alternative to using the fast-acting adhesive sometimes included with certain pieces of cremation jewelry, you might consider using clear silicone instead. When working with fast-acting sealant, once you apply it to the threads, you only have seconds to finish threading the piece before it begins to dry. It is for this reason that we generally recommend using clear silicone instead. A small tube of clear silicone can be purchased at any local hardware or home improvement store and will usually be much easier to work with, but once it cures, it will also provide an adequate seal.
If you are sealing a cremation jewelry necklace that has an internal threaded bale or an external threaded cap, pay close attention to the position of the bale. Make sure your bale eyelet is not facing forward (as shown in the image below marked with an "x") as this will cause your pendant or charm to twist and hang incorrectly on the chain. The bale eyelet should be positioned sideways.
Cremation Jewelry Lockets
Cremation jewelry lockets also provide a compartment large enough to hold a small portion of cremated remains, but they should be filled differently than regular cremation jewelry. When filling a cremation jewelry locket with cremated remains, the ashes should first be placed inside a small plastic bag instead of placing the loose ashes directly into the locket. These small bags are included with the purchase of cremation jewelry lockets. This bag will prevent the ashes from coming out of the locket.
Once a tiny portion of cremated remains have been added to the plastic bag, the bag should be folded to fit properly inside the locket. The locket can then be closed or sealed permanently with adhesive. Again, you must be very careful when working with the sealant because it dries quickly. Apply a small amount of adhesive to a toothpick, and then transfer the glue to the inner edges of the locket.