Sunday, 1 May 2016

Craftseller Focus: Ash Beads

I have had to sit on this post for some time as I was buying as a present for my Mum. Since my Gran died, we have been unable to let go of her ashes, so I thought it would be nice to put them to some use and get a little keepsake made for Mum's birthday. This also means that if we do decide to spread the remaining ashes anywhere, my mum will still have a little part of her close-by. It may seem a little sombre, but I think it is a really lovely way to hold someone close to you after they have passed.

I had never thought anything like this existed and it wasn't until Ash Beads were recommended by a friend that I even looked into the idea.

What I found was absolutely stunning bespoke jewellery made from ashes- be that human or pet remains, you can actually have a gorgeous pendant or bead made. I also found that the prices were very reasonable when compared to other ash jewellery makers out there, and the quality and workmanship truly spoke for itself. Even if Ash Beads were more expensive, I would still buy from them rather than competitors, who charge 6 times as much for what looks like costume jewellery.

Anyway, I digress.

There are lots of options on the website. You can get beads made for Pandora style bracelets, or cabochon setting pendants, or the simple globe style bead pendants. The round pendant I chose for Mum was a medium size. Surprisingly, the price is the same for a small, medium or large pendant and you can opt to include a matching chain. I didn't buy the chain simply because my mum has a fairly strong neck, so we went for a thicker, more robust chain from elsewhere to prevent her losing it.

The pendant itself looks like a little mini earth, which is quite fitting really- your world around your neck. The colours are gorgeous- aqua blues, greens and the texture is added with the ashes themselves, all sealed in glass to keep them safe.

The owner of Ash Beads, Merry, treats the whole process with the utmost respect, consideration and love. The overall impression of this lovely lady is that she really wants to help people with her talent. She asks that you send a little story about the person or furry friend in question, along with a photo, and even some music so that she can channel all of her energy into making the best beads possible after getting to know the person behind the bead a little better. She is also very careful throughout the whole process to ensure that the remains are treated with care and consideration, and any leftovers are returned.

Overall, the process was quite simple. Merry kept me informed the whole way through, and even despite a delay with me posting the ashes, I received the bead in plenty of time for Mum's birthday. She also included a little extra gift in there, which was so thoughtful! I really didn't expect it, and can only think it was maybe a trial run or a slight misfire?- Merry really is a perfectionist with her art. Either way, I was more than pleased with my little extra! It also gave an interesting view of how differently these beads can turn out- the different thickness of swirls and the different colourings. Both are beautiful, though.

There were some additional charges from customs, so I would bear this in mind if using the service- allow an extra £35-40 for VAT charges on receipt of the item.

All of the organisation and forward planning was definitely worth it as my Mum absolutely loved her present! She actually has not taken it off since she received it.

I would highly recommend Merry's service to anyone looking for a unique memento of their loved one. There are also options of having bulk batches made, so if you wanted a fitting gift for family at a memorial, these would be ideal.  Or if there were a lot of siblings who couldn't agree on a location for the spreading of the ashes etc, they could each have their own little trinket. I think this would especially be great for families spread across the world.

You can order your very own Ash Beads on the website here.

You can also find the business FBpage by searching "Ash Beads" on Facebook.


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