Answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make a bead using human ashes? What about pet ashes?

Yes. I consider it an honor to be able to help you remember all of your loved ones in this way.

However, I am only able to sell beads made with pet ashes on Etsy, so to respect their policies I offer beads made with human ashes here, and beads made with pet ashes there.

What color are the beads?

The colors come out as blues and greens depending on the ash, the temperature, and the energy of the day. The base bead is black, so some of that shows as well. Each bead has some variation, as they are each handmade, but overall the colors are limited to turquoise blue, with some royal blues / greens / a touch of black. Sometimes there is a touch of chartreuse. The design of the ash is largely dictated by the magic of the process.

The size of the bead doesn’t change the overall color. I get very good detail in all the beads, of course the large bead has more room to show all the detail, but the medium and small still are very powerful

Can you make a different color or shape of bead?

Unfortunately, I don’t do custom designs. That being said, if you have a preference for say, darker blues and greens, I’ll do everything I can to make sure it’s what you want.

I have something I’d like to put a cabochon into, can you make a cabochon without the bezel?

Yes. Please email my assistant, and she’ll help get you set up.

Do you make Pandora beads?

The large hole bead will fit on a standard Pandora bracelet.

How durable are the beads?

They are annealed in a kiln, slowly cooling them over 6 hours to get the strain out. They can be dropped without breaking, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it.

Are the gold beads solid gold? What does “gold fill” mean?

The gold is 14k gold fill – it’s not solid gold, but it is slightly higher quality than gold-plate. The easiest way to describe the difference is that gold-plate has a very thin layer of gold sort of “painted” on to the base metal core, whereas gold-fill has a thicker layer that is fused on to the base metal core. So gold-fill will not flake or chip the way gold plate does.

I can make a round or tab shape bead into a pendant using solid gold findings – I’m not able to offer a solid gold chain however, so you would need to use a chain of your own.

How can I order?

If you want beads made with human ashes, you can select your style(s) from the Shop here on AshBeads.com.

If you want beads made with pet ashes, you can select your style(s) from my Etsy shop.

What payment methods do you accept?

There are multiple ways to pay for your order. The Etsy store accepts PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

The Shop here on AshBeads.com uses PayPal – if you don’t have a PayPal account, you can still check out with a credit card.

You can also pay via check using the order form on the AshBeads.com site, but we’ll need to receive the check before we can process your order.

If you live near Eureka, CA, you can also go directly to my retail bead store (Talisman) to pay and/or drop off the ashes.

I don’t live in the US, can I still order?

Yes. We do work with individuals outside the US. However, since I’m not familiar with the rules for shipping ashes from other countries, I do ask that you handle shipping the ashes to me. I do know that in the US, they have to be clearly labeled as cremains – however, that has to do with the postal carrier. According to the US Customs and CDC websites, there are no special requirements for cremated remains.

I haven’t had any issues with individuals mailing ashes to me – some people mark them as cremated remains on the outside of the package, others don’t. So far, they’ve all come through just fine.

If you want beads made with human ashes, you can select your style(s) from the Shop here on AshBeads.com.

If you want beads made with pet ashes, you can select your style(s) from my Etsy shop.

Once you place an order, my assistant will send you an email with instructions on how and where to ship the ashes. The finished bead will be sent back to you within 3 – 7 weeks after I receive the ashes.

Do you have any sort of guarantee on your work?

Yes. If you don’t love your bead, for whatever reason, let me know. You can return the original bead, along with an explanation of what needed to be different, and I’ll make you a new one.

Please note: the bezel set pendants are not returnable, but I send a photo of the finished cabochon for your approval, before it gets set. (We can’t unset a cabochon.)

Can you explain the sizes of the round beads?

The small bead is about the size of a cooked garbanzo bean, medium is a standard marble, and the large is like a small cherry tomato.

The most common size sold is medium, which is the size of a standard marble.

Can you combine ashes?

Yes. There are two ways I can do it; the ashes can either be mixed together, or they can be kept separate and “swirled” together inside the bead. We’ll need to know which option you prefer, since the second option requires two containers for the ashes.

I don’t have very much ash, can you still make a bead for me?

Yes, I can make a bead with a very small amount of ash (it really only takes a pinch). If you end up not having enough ash for a bead, or if you want more beads made, I can also add a special type of “filler” ash. (Don’t worry, it’s not cremated remains!)

I don’t have any ashes, can you use hair, or some sand or dirt from someplace special?

I have done hair, it burns up and leaves little black specks. I also slip some in the hole of the bead, and it’s tucked away in there, unburned.

I can also use sand or dirt from someplace special to you and your loved one.

The design will be a little different, no white (that’s ash) but still the blues and greens, and a spiral. If you like, I can also use a special type of “filler” ash to give the bead the white speckles seen in the photos. (Don’t worry, it’s not cremated remains!)

I’m worried about sending ashes – how do I know I won’t end up with someone else’s ashes in my bead?

I understand your concern. It’s a very delicate thing, making these beads. I take the utmost care in making sure that the ashes are well cared for; the container we send you is labeled with your name, and I use more labels every step of the way to keep track of the ashes and make sure they don’t get mixed up with anyone else’s.

Because of the way the beads are made, the ashes are safely contained within the finished bead, with no chance of “falling” or “spilling” out. If you look at the images on my shop, you can see the ashes encased within the glass (they show as the white specks of stardust floating above the blues and greens).

I hope that eases your heart and mind. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

It took me longer than expected to gather the ashes, will you still make my bead?

Yes, please do not worry about how long it’s been. I know that this is often a very difficult and emotional process for people to go through, which is why I don’t have any sort of “expiration date” on purchases.

Do you have a question that wasn’t answered here?

Send us your question and we’ll get back to you within 48 business hours.

You can also call me directly at 707-616-8808 (Pacific Time) – text or leave a message if I don’t pick up, as I’m probably in the studio making beads.