A solid choice
Metal is one of the most durable materials known to man, making it a popular choice for those looking to memorialize a loved one. It's also an extremely versatile material that can be molded and decorated to make a very attractive urn. Metals commonly used in urns are brass, bronze, copper and pewter.
Metal is usually fabricated, spun or cast. The size and shape of metal urns can vary, and they can weigh anywhere between four and forty pounds.
An advantage to using metal to create an urn is that it is easier to engrave than other materials. Metal urns are solid and durable, and are able to stand up to a number of processes that can help make your selection more personalized. You can easily order engraving through sites that sell over the internet.
Pewter, nickel, brass and copper are all becoming increasingly popular choices for cremation urns, likely because they are usually more affordable than bronze.
Bronze urns are usually cast using a method called the lost wax method. This is a labor intensive (and thus costly) method, in which pre-sculptured clay is used to make a wax mold that melts or breaks away. The process facilitates a great amount of detail, which is likely why it is one of the most expensive methods of urn preparation. It uses a lot of time and material, but the end product is incredibly attractive.
A popular embellishment used on bronze urns is called cloisonné. This involves shaping with gentle hammering or other artisan methods, including netting and kilning. With this type of attention, bronze urns become nearly as versatile as glass or other handmade urns. You can choose specific shapes or details to be added to the urn that will make it more customized and personal.
Metals used in the manufacture of urns are less likely to corrode, although they do tarnish. If you are using the urn for display, you can buy metal cleaner to maintain its finish. If you store it outdoors or in a columbarium, the effects of tarnishing will increase.
Metal urns can be buried, but eventually they will corrode. This isn't the most environmentally friendly way to memorialize a loved one. It's recommended that you use a cremation urn burial vault if you choose to bury a metal urn.