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What Are Cremation Ashes Comprised Of? February 5, 2020

Headless Buddah statue surrounded by ashes

At the Cremation Society of Northern Kentucky, we often get questions regarding the consistency and make-up of cremains. Cremains are what is left after a body is cremated. Many refer to these as “ashes” but that is not exactly the case. To understand what these “ashes” are composed of, it helps to have a general idea of the cremation process.

A Brief Overview of the Process

Human remains are cremated in special chambers called cremators. These are gas or propane fueled chambers that are highly insulated to help bring and keep interior temperatures from 1500 to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit. Bodies are generally placed in cardboard containers that are fully eliminated through the two to three hour incineration process. After about a 30-minute cooling period, remaining bone fragments are carefully swept from the chamber, and exposed to magnets to remove any metal materials. Remaining fragments are then pulverized either by hand or a special device, leaving behind a coarse, sand-like material. The material is usually a gray to dark gray substance.

It should be noted that the extremely high temperatures and length of cremation process destroys any traces of organic material and bodily fluids. What is left is sanitized and completely safe.

So What are “Ashes” from a Cremations

What many refer to as ashes from a cremation are actually pulverized bones fragments left after the thorough cremation process. This is elemental material that is reflective of the deceased’s diet and lifestyle choices. It is frequently comforting for families to understand that cremains are unique, like the individuals themselves.

In recent years, families have taken advantage of the uniqueness of these cremains by using a small amount in creating beautiful and meaningful keepsakes. Attractive necklaces, charms and other fine jewelry help keep the memories of a loved one alive. Cremains can also be kept in a single larger, attractive urn, customized container or smaller individual urns for close family members. There are more options than ever. Of course, if ashes will be scattered or buried organically, other specialized containers are available. Options will be based upon the final disposal plans for the cremains.

At the Cremation Society of Northern Kentucky, we take care in making sure the body of a loved one never leaves our care. This assures positive identification throughout the entire cremation process. You can take comfort in knowing the cremains you receive after cremation are those of your loved one.

If you have questions about the cremation process or would like assistance in pre-planning your own final services, please contact us. We are the Cremation Society of Northern Kentucky, and we would be honored to assist you.

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