15 Popular Types of Metal Cremation Urns for Ashes

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Amidst all the options for funeral planning, it can be overwhelming to choose an urn for the cremains of your loved one. There are so many materials, styles, sizes, shapes, and options available. If you want something that will last a long time, metal is as hardy of a material as you can get.

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For those looking for a durable, weather-proof, nearly unbreakable urn, going with a metal urn is your best bet.

But just because you are picking something as tough as metal does not mean you have to sacrifice originality or sentimentality. Curious about metal urns? Here are some options to help you get started. 

What’s a Metal Urn for Ashes?

Metal urns for ashes are often preferred for their durability and beauty. They are just as diverse in design and style as ceramic urns but come with the added benefit of being unbreakable even if they fall.

Metal urns are ideal for displaying in places that are prone to earthquakes, significant weather such as rain or windstorms, or in outside areas where a fall might otherwise damage a ceramic urn.

Metal urns are usually made of specific materials such as steel, bronze, copper, and pewter. Most metal urns are also treated, in order to seal and ensure that added designs, coloration, and patterning will be maintained regardless of where they are displayed.

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Types of Metal Cremation Urns

Metal urns can be incredibly diverse and can be customized in nearly every way you can think, as mentioned above. Whether you want an urn with camouflage print, a hand-painted scene, or a beautiful etching, it’s all possible with a metal base for an urn.

1. Stainless steel urn

Stainless steel urns can complement a variety of garden displays, memorial niches, and homes where the urn will be placed. If your loved one was particularly into modern architecture, modern art, and things with clean, fine lines, a stainless steel urn will encapsulate this part of their personality.

Due to its versatility, it can be placed in nearly any setting and a wide variety of memorial decor can be used to accompany the urn. If you are concerned about how much an urn costs, stainless steel is often affordable and budget-friendly.

2. Bronze urn

Bronze urns are crafted from copper, tin, and other metals to give it a unique, distinguished, and timeless coloration. Many statues and monuments crafted from bronze tend to stand out, and bronze urns are often just as uniquely and intricately designed.

These are perfect for “monument” type urns such as a “helmet and boots” urn for a soldier, a lighthouse for an ocean lover, or a firefighter’s helmet for a fire captain. Bronze urns have the most potential for sculpture-like creations and are often displayed in the home in a prominent location.

3. Copper urn

Copper gives a very “old-world” feel to urns that are created with this metal. They can be crafted in numerous shapes and sizes, according to a family’s needs.

Most copper urns are unadorned but for etching or a relief somewhere on the unit. They have a beautiful hue that attracts light and fits in well during a memorial service, or as a permanent memorial in your home.

4. Pewter urn

Pewter is a classy, elegant, and refined silver-color metal that can be dyed into solid colors such as gold. Pewter urns are especially elegant when etched with designs on the lid, the neck of the urn, and the base of the urn.

This leaves plenty of room to etch a loving tribute in the middle. Inscriptions stand out particularly well on pewter. This metal is ideal for those looking for an urn with a timeless quality that can be engraved with an etching that stands out well against the background metal.

5. Etched urn

All metal urns can be etched and inscribed. Etching is the way to go if you want a particular scene or decoration on a metal urn but also wish to maintain the urn’s original color without any wraps or other coloring.

Etchings can be done in a variety of elegant patterns such as flowers, vines, and geometric designs. The middle section on metal urns is often kept open for special inscriptions such as the person’s name, dates, significant quotes, verses, or important sayings.

6. Hand-painted urn

For an urn that won’t break yet is personalized to reflect the individual personality and character of your loved one, you might want to go with a hand-painted metal urn.

Painting is often completed on stainless steel urns and can be anything from a portrait of your loved one to a special scene from their life or a location that was important to them.

7. Metal heart urn

Metal urns don’t have to be crafted in the “traditional” urn shape. They can take on shapes such as hearts for those who have lost a spouse or child.

Metal heart urns are also used for those who need a keepsake urn to share ashes among family members. Small heart urns often come with an accompanying base for display purposes.

8. Metal bear urn

Teddy bear urns can be especially meaningful for a parent who has lost a child or a child who has lost a parent. These types of urns don’t usually hold all of a person’s cremains and are ideal for sharing cremains among family members.

They can be painted or colorized according to your desired customization, as well as inscribed. Metal bear urns are a fitting substitution to the plush bear urns for those wanting a keepsake that can go outside and be protected from the weather.

9. Metal bird urn

Birds have come to represent the inner spirit, love, and freedom of those that have died. Metal bird urns are often used for those who had a free spirit during life, young children who bravely faced a terminal illness, or for married couples. Similar to other shaped metal urns, these are not usually able to hold all of a person’s ashes but are meant to be used as keepsake urns. 

Metal birds can be customized to look the way you desire, and many husbands and wives choose to have two made so that they are facing each other. They can then be side-by-side forever and placed in the home of a child or loved one.

10. Small metal urn

Small urns often hold anywhere from 26-50 cubic inches of ash. For example, a person who weighed 200 pounds before they died will have around 200 cubic inches of ash.

Smaller urns allow for multiple family members to receive a portion of ashes while still having enough to place in an urn for a columbarium or for a scattering ceremony. Small urns are also less expensive than regular-sized urns, making them more affordable when purchasing several at a time.

11. Metal dog urn

If you need an urn for your beloved pet, you can purchase a metal urn shaped like your breed of dog. These are ideal for placing in a special spot in your home or outside in the garden.

They can be customized to include an engraving of the name of your pet and some include options like including a charm for their collar or nameplate. 

12. Metal cube urn

For those who prefer a more modern feel, metal urns can also be crafted in the shape of cubes, instead of the traditional “urn” style. These can be reminiscent of a grave marker and can be placed anywhere from a columbarium to a special place at home.

They have plenty of room for engraving and can be customized with engraving on all four sides. Some come with a stand that rotates the urn so you can see all sides customized with your loved one’s name, dates, and special sayings, verses, or quotes.

13. Metal necklace urn

Cremation jewelry is a popular option for those who wish to keep their loved ones close to them. Necklace urns come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and metals.

The most popular metals for necklace urns are gold and sterling silver. When a small portion of ashes is placed inside the necklace urn, they are kept safe. Most people won’t even know you’re wearing a necklace urn. If desired, you can also seal the compartment once ashes are placed inside.

14. Metal ring urn

For those who would rather a ring instead of a necklace, there are numerous options for ring urns as well. They are shaped to look like a regular ring with a small compartment where a portion of ashes can be held.

Another option is to create a cremation diamond, using a service like Eterneva, and set the diamond in a metal ring. 

Rings can be customized with the name of your loved one inscribed on the band, a special symbol or gemstone to represent their birthdate, and designs that inspire memories.

15. Metal wind chime urn

If you are looking for something to add to your garden memorial, consider a metal wind chime urn.

These urns hold around three cubic inches of cremains and the compartment is sealed from the elements. The chime is treated to resist rust and other discolorations as a result of the outdoors. 

Remember Your Loved Ones

Urns help us memorialize our loved ones and remember them in a special way.

They create a sense of our loved one’s presence when displayed in our home, or stand as a special tribute when placed in a columbarium. Regardless of what the urn is made of, the most important part of choosing an urn is how it represents the life and personality of your loved one.

If you're looking for more types of urns, read our guides on Raku cremation urns and funny cremation urns.

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