What’s a Promethean Casket? Price, Function, & Burials Explained

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Many people are surprised to learn just how many caskets there are to choose from. With wooden caskets, metal caskets, green caskets, and so on, how do you know the best types of caskets for your needs?

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For those who want to make a real statement with their send off, look no further than the Promethean casket. One of the world's most famous caskets, this is the best way to achieve a golden send-off. Because they’re so impressive (not to mention expensive), they’re commonly used for celebrity funerals.

What exactly is a Promethean casket? How do they compare to more traditional caskets, and what do they cost? In this guide, we’ll break down the different price points, types, and sizes.

What’s a Promethean Casket?

If you’ve watched any celebrity funerals closely, you’ll notice some make quite the statement with their send-off.

Few caskets stand out quite as much as the Promethean casket. This is a special 48 oz. solid bronze casket. Originally created by the Batesville Casket Company, this is a truly artistic masterpiece. 

Created with semi-precious metal so it’s naturally resistant to rust and corrosion, it’s hard to find anything more top-of-the-line than this. It’s complete with 14-karat gold plated hardware, velvet interior, and a secure locking mechanism. It’s available in full and half couch designs, and it’s the definition of luxury. 

What is the Batesville Casket Company?

The Promethean casket is a creation by the Batesville Casket Company as part of their classic collection. This casket builder dates back to 1884. Originally known for its excellent craftsmanship when it comes to building the best wooden caskets, they quickly expanded their products to meet the industry’s growing demands.

Today, the original legacy still stands. As one of the most well-known and trusted casket manufacturers for over a century, there’s a reason so many celebrities use these impressive caskets for their own final farewell. 

How long does it take to make a Promethean casket?

While many caskets are premade by a casket builder, the Promethean is manufactured individually by Batesville Casket Company. It takes around two weeks to create this casket by hand. Built by experienced technicians, this is a casket that is worth every ounce of work.

In other words, the Promethean casket is a special order casket. You’ll need to order it from either a casket retailer or the Batesville Casket Company yourself, allowing enough time for its creation. 

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How Much Do Promethean Caskets Usually Cost?

Promethean caskets aren’t for the faint of heart—or budget. With some of the biggest celebrities using this casket for their own burial, it should come as no surprise that these come at a steep price tag. 

The starting price for the Promethean casket is $24,000. Additional customizations and designs could cost extra depending on the request. If you’re wondering how much a casket typically costs, the average price is anywhere from $900 to $3,000 depending on the material, size, and so on. 

With this price tag in mind, it’s easy to see why many people choose a more traditional material at a lower cost. It’s still possible to create an elegant, timeless look no matter the price of the casket. Still, it’s certainly a fun way to send off someone you love in style. 

Are Promethean Caskets Better Than Traditional Caskets?

There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between “good” and “bad” caskets. In reality, all caskets are “good” caskets as long as they’re functional. Some believe wood is better, while others only like the look of metal caskets. As long as the casket suits the needs of the cemetery and the family, it’s a good casket. 

With this in mind, is a Promethean casket “better” despite the larger price tag? In short, no. It functions much in the same way as a regular casket. While many mistake it for being solid gold, it’s actually a solid bronze. Bronze isn’t an uncommon choice amongst high-end metal caskets, so that alone doesn’t mean it stands out from the rest. 

What really makes Promethean caskets so special is their role as a status symbol. For those with the money to send themselves or loved ones off in style, they want only the best. As more celebrities choose to use Promethean caskets, they only grow in popularity. 

Will a Promethean casket slow down the decomposing process?

One of the biggest misconceptions about caskets, particularly metal caskets, is that they stop the body from decomposing. No casket has the ability to stop the body’s natural process. The body actually begins decomposing pretty immediately after death. While embalming slows this down, it does not stop it.

A metal casket can be more secure within the earth, which can also help slow the process of decomposition. Even though this casket is sealed and solid, nothing stops death from playing its role no matter how much it costs.

Why choose a Promethean casket?

If it doesn’t serve any special purpose, why are these caskets so popular amongst those who can afford them. The first and most obvious reason is that they’re a status symbol. People want to be associated with their prestige. 

Secondly, they’re crafted with incredible care and skill. They’re created through over 100 hours of labor from the most qualified of casket technicians. This itself is worth something, especially for those who want to go out in style. 

There are also some practical reasons to choose a casket with these specifications:

  • Environmental security: If the individual is to be buried somewhere prone to natural disasters like floods or storms, a sealed metal casket is the most secure. 
  • Rust and corrosion: Because of this high-quality metal, it won’t rust or corrode over time like less expensive models. 
  • Open casket: These Promethean caskets don’t just look impressive on the outside. They’re also a sight to see on the inside. They make a great statement at open casket funerals. 
  • Cemetery restrictions: While modern caskets are acceptable at cemeteries, it’s important to review each location’s individual guidelines. The Promethean casket is more likely to meet these needs. 

While it doesn’t necessarily matter to the average person how much a casket weighs or what it looks like, to some, this is an important part of the goodbye.

Knowing that your loved one is secure in the best of the best brings a form of comfort in a time of grief and loss. This is why the Promethean casket remains so highly regarded, practical or not. 

Who’s Been Buried in a Promethean Casket?

Some of the biggest celebrities have been buried in a Promethean casket. These funerals act as a marketing tool in themselves, often showing just how impressive these caskets can be.

As more celebs choose these awe-inspiring caskets, they only become more popular. 

Aretha Franklin

Known for her glamorous life, Aretha Franklin crowned herself the Queen of Soul with a gold casket fit for royalty.

Her Promethean casket was on display for a public visitation at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit after her passing in 2018. There, her casket served as a symbol for her life and legacy. 

James Brown

James Brown, one of the most influential American singers, songwriters, and dancers of the 20th century, was buried in the famous Promethean casket as well. His casket was delivered via horse-drawn carriage which bore through the streets of Harlem in December of 2006. 

His casket traveled from Georgia to New York, so people across the country could mourn at his funeral. If Brown was the most hard-working man in show business, his casket was the hardest working coffin. 

Making a Statement After Death

There’s no doubt that the Promethean casket is one of the most impressive caskets to ever be built. With no expense spared, it’s no wonder it’s the natural choice of some of the biggest stars around. Though it might not be the right fit for some, it truly goes to show the power of legacy.

For the ultimate send-off, it’s hard to beat the Promethean. Built by an industry leader with over a century of experience crafting caskets, this model has yet to be topped. But, as the funeral industry evolves, who knows what the future might bring.

If you're interested in other unique methods of final disposition, you might consider options like the following: 

  • Cremation diamond. If Aretha Franklin chose cremation over burial, she might have been interested to know that her ashes could be transformed into a real diamond. Cremation diamonds, created in labs by companies like Eterneva, may just be the "Promethean Casket" of cremation art. 
  • Cremation stones. A more natural-looking option for solidifying cremains is cremation stones from Parting Stone. These are river rock-style stones that are small enough to hold in your hand, making it possible to connect with a loved one's ashes like never before. 
  • One-of-a-kind urn. Foreverence is a company that offers the urn equivalent of a Promethean Casket. You can design a truly unique urn, which Foreverence will then 3D print and deliver to you or your family. The result is a final resting place that's like no other in the world. 

If you're looking for more information on caskets, read our guides on pet caskets and the difference between casket and coffins.


Sources

  1. Howard, Phoebe Wall. “Dressed like a ‘resplendent’ queen, Aretha Franklin rests in gold casket.” USA Today. 28 August 2018. USToday.com
  2. “Who We Are.” Batesville Casket Company. Batesville.com
  3. Willman, Chris. “James Brown’s 80th Birthday: Remembering a Gold Casket Befitting a King.” Yahoo Entertainment. 2 May 2013. Yahoo.com
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