Victorian Era mourning practices fell out of fashion in the early 20th century, coinciding with the death of Queen Victoria, the onset of World War I and increasing freedom for women. Suddenly, the memorial jewelry of the era was relegated to collectible status. At the same time, however, the revival of the ancient practice of cremation set the stage for the cremation jewelry that would follow 100 years later.
In the 1870s, largely in response to public health concerns over poor conditions at cemeteries typical of that period, the first crematories in Europe and the United States were built. Soon, many major U.S. cities had their own crematories, including Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Pittsburgh. By the time the Cremation Association of America was founded in 1913, there were 52 crematories throughout North America, and more than 10,000 cremations took place during that year.
With the Roman Catholic Church’s approval of cremation in the 1960s, the number of people opting for cremation continued to grow. Through the next several decades and into the new millennium, influenced by soaring funeral costs and a desire to find earth- friendly alternatives to traditional burial, more and more people chose to be cremated. How to dispose of cremated remains was a matter of personal choice or religious custom, with most people opting to scatter the ashes, or to bury or display them in a cremation urn. Introduced in the 1990s, cremation jewelry was a unique alternative that quickly gained widespread acceptance.
Personalization and Self-Expression Inspire Cremation Jewelry
To the aging Baby Boom generation, personalization and self-expression are as important in dying as they are in living. Because of them, today’s funeral is not the funeral of yesteryear.
Today, many people pre-arrange the details of their own funerals, from writing their own obituaries and eulogies to orchestrating unconventional memorial services featuring eclectic selections in music and funeral readings. Manufacturers offer custom-made cremation urns and caskets in the shape of motorcycles, musical instruments or automobiles. Mourners can “attend” webcast funeral services from anywhere in the world. And cremation jewelry allows multiple family members, often separated by great distance, to share their loved one’s ashes.
From simple pendants to elaborate designs, cremation jewelry comes in a range of styles to appeal to any personal taste. But above all today’s jewelry is a source of comfort for bereaved friends and family members who will treasure the physical connection to their loved one forever.