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Alternatives for Cremated Remains

With nearly 80 percent of New Hampshire and Vermont residents choosing cremation, our arrangers are often asked for suggestions on what to do with cremation ashes, which we refer to as cremated remains, since the result of cremation is not actually ashes. Regardless of what you call them, there are more options than ever to honor your loved one. Here are some traditional and creative things to do with cremated ashes, which can also be called cremains:


Traditional cemetery burial

Many cemeteries allow the burial of cremated remains, generally entombed in a columbarium, or buried in a traditional plot. Most of the time there’s no casket, but it is common for a gathering at the graveside with family members and loved ones prior to the remains going into the ground or the columbarium.

Non-traditional cemeteries

It is not against the law to bury cremated remains on private land, though it’s advised to get permission from the land owner before doing so. If you’re interested in a non-traditional cemetery, Life Forest is a unique option in Hillsborough, NH, where cremated remains are buried with a precise geographical locator. Those who choose Life Forest work with an arborist to pick a tree for their burial location. Families – including pets – can have their cremated remains buried at the same location. Life Forest is adjacent to conservation land, and is open for loved ones to gather and visit the grave sites, picnic and hike through the forest space.


Parting Stone

We sometimes ask, do cremains solidify? Not naturally, no, but the Cremation Society now offers an alternative to traditional cremated remains called solidified remains. Many of our families are now choosing this option because solidified remains are clean and easy to hold and can be shared with family. Parting Stone , a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based start-up, pioneered technology that offers a clean alternative to cremated remains following cremation. The solidification process returns the full or partial amount of cremation remains in a form that resembles a collection of polished stones. The average person results in about 40-60 stones ranging in size from thumb-nail to palm-size. The color of each person’s solidified remains is 100% natural and many result in white stones, but some are a hue of blue, green, or another variation.

Scattering remains

There are no governing bodies in the U.S. or within states that regulate the scattering of cremated remains. If you are going to conduct a cremated remains scattering ceremony on city, town or state land, you should follow the appropriate bylaws. Some choose to scatter remains from a boat at sea, attended by friends and family. In inland waters, this is regulated by the Clean Water Act and a permit is required from the governing state agency. The remains must be taken three miles offshore into international waters before they can be released.

Couple scattering ashes


For centuries, diamonds have been a symbol of eternal love. Thanks to evolution in technology, you can now extract carbon from cremated remains and grow your own diamond. Eterneva, a grief wellness company based in Austin, Texas, takes the process of creating a diamond one step further, transforming the growth of a memorial diamond into a cathartic journey for grieving loved ones. When you choose to have a diamond made, your loved ones will receive monthly updates on the process, involving them through the process where they can witness the transformation into a special gem.


Biotree urns turn cremated remains into trees. The company provides a biodegradable urn for your loved one’s remains. The center houses a tree sapling to grow a tree in memory of a loved one. Care is taken in selecting tree species that will thrive in your growing environment, complementing the unique ecosystem that surrounds them and creating a living tribute for those who now rest at their roots. A certificate is provided with each Biotree urn, which families can redeem to receive their memorial tree sapling.

Biotree Urn
Cremation Jewelry

Jewelry, keepsakes and pendants

Some loved ones prefer to keep a small portion of cremated remains very close to them physically. There are many options of jewelry, keepsakes and pendants that hold cremated remains. Thumbies are another option, which include the thumb print of the loved one onto a piece of jewelry or a keepsake.

You don’t have to decide what to do with remains before or immediately after a death. If you already have cremated remains at home and would to explore any of these options, please contact us, even if we did not handle your loved one’s cremation.

Learn 5 reasons why cremation is growing in popularity by downloading our free decision guide.

5 Reasons Cremation is on the Rise