Keepsake Jewelry Materials

Precious metals, sparkling gemstones, fine-grained wood – the timeless beauty of cremation jewelry comes not only from its design, but also from the superior materials used in its creation. Whether selected for their rare beauty, practical application or historical significance, resources like these form the foundation on which memorial jewelry is built.

Precious Metals in Todays Jewelry

Precious metals are metallic chemical elements with a high economic value attributed to their rare occurrence in nature. Precious metals feature a high luster; they are less reactive and have higher melting points than other metals. Because precious metals are softer than other metals, jewelers combine them with other elements for added strength.

Sterling silver

The material most often used in cremation jewelry today is sterling silver, the most lustrous metal on earth. The sterling silver used to make cremation jewelry is composed of 92.5% pure sterling silver and 7.5% other metals – usually copper. This jewelry is commonly referred to as 925 sterling silver (meaning 92.5% pure sterling). Pure sterling silver, commonly referred to as fine silver, is generally regarded as being too soft and not suitable for cremation jewelry. The other 7.5% materials in 925 sterling are there to add strength or to aid in the manufacturing process.


Pure gold (24-karat gold) is known for its brilliant yellow color and resistance to corrosion. Cremation jewelry is typically made with 14-karat gold, an alloy created by mixing pure gold with other metals. Yellow gold is typically mixed with copper, while white gold is often plated with rhodium, a hard, silvery-white metal from the platinum family.

Gold vermeil

A combination of sterling silver and 14-karat gold, gold vermeil (pronounced ver-may) is named for a gold plating process developed in France in the mid-1700s. Although the gold vermeil used in cremation jewelry costs a mere fraction of the price of 14-karat gold, the two are virtually indistinguishable to the naked eye.

Gemstones in Cremation Jewelry

Gemstones like the following add an extra measure of elegance and sparkle to cremation jewelry.


Diamonds are the hardest known natural substance, and almost as old as the earth itself. The durability, brilliance and fire that have made diamonds a timeless symbol of enduring love also make them a perfect accent for cremation jewelry.


For centuries, pearls have been valued for their natural beauty and luster. In fact, pearls have become a metaphor for something rare, fine, and of great worth – the perfect complement to any cremation jewelry design.


A beautiful purple quartz associated with royalty, amethyst was considered a protector of warriors in medieval Europe. An amethyst stone set in cremation jewelry of silver or gold is a beautiful creation, indeed.

More popular materials

Pewter Cremation Jewelry

Pewter is an affordable alternative to precious metals. Used alone or in combination with glass, pewter is another popular favorite in cremation jewelry. Memorial jewelry made from blue cobalt glass with pewter accents renders an elegant, antique appearance.

Titanium Cremation Jewelry

Titanium, widely regarded as a space-age metal, has several unique characteristics that make it practical for use in cremation jewelry. Extremely light, strong, and corrosion-resistant, titanium is an excellent choice for people who are sensitive to other metals or who will wear their cremation jewelry in corrosive environments.

Wood Cremation Jewelry

Craftsmanship, affordability and natural beauty and warmth make wood an ideal medium for cremation jewelry. Dozens of varieties of exotic tropical woods are used in creating memorial jewelry in a wide array of designs.

Glass Cremation Jewelry

Hand-crafted glass is used to make cremation jewelry in a rainbow of colors, including cobalt blue, amber, green, ruby and violet, as well as clear. Many pieces feature pewter accents, and the individual manufacturing process ensures that each piece is a unique creation.

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