Memorials with Love

Unveiling the Secrets of Cremains: Exploring the Mysterious Substance

The Mysteries of Cremains: Unveiling the Secrets of Cremated RemainsWhen a loved one passes away, the process of mourning and grieving begins. In some cases, families choose to honor their departed by opting for cremation.

As a result, they are left with a substance known as cremains, also known as cremated remains. But what exactly are cremains, and how are they created?

In this article, we will explore the definition, origin, composition, and processing of cremains, unraveling the secrets behind this enigmatic substance.

1) Definition and Origin of Cremains

– Explanation of cremains

Cremains, short for cremated remains, refer to the material left behind after a body has been subjected to the process of cremation. Cremation is a funeral rite that involves reducing the body to bone fragments and ashes through intense heat and open flames.

Once the process is complete, the remaining material, including bone matter, is carefully collected and processed to create what is commonly known as cremains. – Origin and portmanteau of the term

The term “cremains” is a portmanteau, a blending of the words “cremated” and “remains.” It originated as a way to encompass the essence of what the substance represents the remaining remnants of a person after cremation.

This word not only provides a concise description but also carries an evocative symbolism.

2) Composition and Processing of Cremains

– Composition and distinction from ashes

Cremains have a unique composition that sets them apart from ordinary ashes. While ashes are primarily composed of carbonaceous materials, such as charred wood or burnt paper, cremains consist of bone matter and calcium phosphates.

During the cremation process, the intense heat efficiently reduces the body to calcified bone fragments, leaving behind a substance rich in both minerals and bone matter. – Removal of non-organic materials and grinding process

Before the final cremains are obtained, the remains are subject to a meticulous process to ensure the removal of any non-organic materials.

These may include plates, screws, pins, or even surgical implants. In cases where such items were present in the deceased’s body, they are carefully extracted and discarded, leaving only the organic bone matter behind.

Once all non-organic materials have been removed, the remaining bone fragments undergo a grinding process. This process reduces the fragments to a fine, powdery consistency, resulting in the familiar texture and appearance of cremains.


In this article, we have delved into the mysteries of cremains, providing insight into their definition, origin, composition, and processing. Through an understanding of the term’s portmanteau origin and its descriptive power, we unveiled the deep symbolism associated with this substance.

Additionally, we explored the unique composition of cremains, highlighting their distinction from ordinary ashes. By uncovering the removal of non-organic materials and the subsequent grinding process, we gained a clearer picture of how cremains are obtained.

In essence, cremains allow families to keep a physical remnant of their loved ones, a tangible connection that preserves memories and emotions for generations to come.

3) Use and Acceptance of the Term Cremains

– Limited usage and alternative preference

While the term “cremains” is widely recognized and used, there are instances where it has fallen out of favor. Some people prefer alternatives such as “cremated remains,” “ashes,” or even “cremation remains.” This preference often stems from a desire for greater clarity or sensitivity in discussing the substance left after cremation.

It is important to respect and acknowledge individual choices in using terminology related to the deceased. – Presence in online dictionaries and differing opinions on the use of “ashes”

Despite varying preferences, the term “cremains” is widely accepted and can be found in numerous online dictionaries.

It is recognized as a legitimate term used to describe the material left after cremation. In contrast, the term “ashes” can also generate opposing views.

While some perceive it as a suitable and widely understood term, others argue that it can be misleading or evoke imagery that does not accurately represent the true nature of cremains. Ultimately, the choice between “cremains” and “ashes” is subjective, and it is essential to be respectful of individual perspectives.

4) Amount of Cremains and Measurement

– Variation in amount of cremains

The amount of cremains obtained from a cremation can vary depending on several factors. It is important to note that the human body is composed of different sizes and densities, resulting in inconsistencies in the final amount of cremains produced.

However, as a general rule of thumb, it is estimated that cremains will be around 3 to 7 pounds in weight. This range accounts for the variation in bone density and the presence of any medical implants or prosthetics that may affect the final amount.

– Determining measurements and urn capacity

Cremains are typically measured in cubic inches, reflecting the volume they occupy. To determine the appropriate size of an urn or container for the cremains, it is useful to convert the weight of the cremains to cubic inches.

A common conversion ratio is 1 pound of weight to approximately 1 cubic inch of volume. For instance, if one has around 5 pounds of cremains, it is reasonable to estimate that the volume will be approximately 5 cubic inches.

However, it is important to consult with the funeral home or crematorium to obtain accurate measurements and guidance on urn capacity. Funeral professionals have the expertise to factor in any variations in cremains’ density and provide individuals with suitable options for preserving the cremains.


In this article expansion, we explored the use and acceptance of the term “cremains” while acknowledging the alternative preferences that exist among individuals. We also discussed the presence of the term in online dictionaries and the differing opinions surrounding the use of “ashes.” Additionally, we examined the variation in the amount of cremains obtained from the cremation process, offering a general rule of thumb for estimating weight.

Finally, we delved into the importance of determining accurate measurements and considering urn capacity when choosing a memorial container. By understanding these aspects, individuals can make informed decisions regarding the handling and preservation of their loved ones’ cremains.

5) Disposition Options for Cremains

– Interment of cremains through burial or placement in a columbarium niche

When it comes to the final resting place for cremains, interment options include burial or placement in a columbarium niche. Burial involves the traditional method of interring the cremains in the ground, much like a traditional burial.

This option allows family and friends to visit a designated gravesite and pay their respects. The containers used for burial can vary, ranging from biodegradable urns made from eco-friendly materials to more durable urns made of metal or stone.

Alternatively, families may choose to place the cremains in a columbarium niche. A columbarium is a structure specifically designed to hold cremation urns.

It can be located within a cemetery or a dedicated columbarium building. Niche options may include single or companion niches, providing space for one or two urns respectively.

Some columbaria offer personalized plaques or engravings to commemorate the individual or individuals whose cremains are housed within the niche. – Burying cremains at home or scattering them

Burying cremains at home is an option chosen by some families.

This allows for a more intimate and personal connection with the deceased. Before proceeding with this option, it is essential to check local regulations or consult with a funeral professional to ensure compliance with any applicable laws or permits.

Some communities have specific guidelines regarding home burials, while others may prohibit them entirely. It is crucial to consider factors such as property ownership, environmental impact, and the potential impact on future property transactions before making a decision.

Another common option is scattering cremains. This can be done in various locations, depending on personal preference and applicable laws.

Some families choose to scatter the cremains in a location that held special meaning to the deceased, such as a favorite park or a cherished natural landscape. Others opt for scattering in designated scattering gardens located within cemeteries, where family members can visit and remember their loved ones.

To facilitate scattering, there are scattering urns available that provide controlled release, ensuring an even distribution of the cremains in the chosen location. – Memorializing cremains through glass or jewelry

In addition to traditional interment or scattering options, families may choose to memorialize their loved ones’ cremains in alternative and creative ways.

One popular option is to incorporate the cremains into glass art or objects. Skilled glass artists can create beautiful hand-blown pieces, such as pendants, sculptures, or vases, in which a small amount of cremains are encased or fused.

This memorializes the departed and provides a unique and visually stunning tribute. Another option for memorializing cremains is by incorporating them into jewelry.

This can be done by embedding a small amount of cremains into a specially designed locket, necklace, ring, or bracelet. This allows individuals to carry their loved ones close to them at all times.

Jewelry containing cremains can be personalized with engravings or gemstones, adding an extra layer of significance and meaning.


In this expansion, we explored the various disposition options for cremains. Whether through traditional interment in burial or columbarium niches, burying at home, scattering, or memorializing through glass or jewelry, families have a range of choices to honor their loved ones’ cremains.

It is important for individuals to consider personal preferences, local regulations, and emotional significance when deciding on the most suitable option for their family. By exploring these options, individuals can find solace and create a lasting tribute that truly reflects the unique life and memory of their departed loved one.

In conclusion, the article has explored the definition, origin, composition, and processing of cremains, shedding light on the enigmatic substance left after cremation. We have also examined the use and acceptance of the term “cremains,” along with alternative preferences and the presence of the term in online dictionaries.

The article further delved into the variation in the amount of cremains obtained and the importance of accurate measurements and urn capacity. Additionally, we explored the different disposition options for cremains, including interment through burial or placement in a columbarium niche, burying at home, scattering, and memorializing through glass or jewelry.

The topic of cremains and the choices surrounding them hold significance for individuals seeking to honor and preserve the memory of their loved ones after cremation. It is essential to remain sensitive to personal preferences, regulations, and the emotional significance associated with each option.

By understanding the possibilities available, individuals can find solace and create personalized tributes that reflect the unique lives and legacies of those they cherish.

Popular Posts