We get requests all the time for different things to be returned after the cremation. These items are the most commonly requested:
Gold crown/fillings – Most people don’t realize that a gold crown is a gold veneer over a tooth, not a full piece of gold replacing a tooth. While the crown may look like a lot of gold, the reality is that very little metal is used. The dental gold is “destroyed” in the process of cremation, meaning that it is melted and combines with the remains in the process and is unrecoverable. The only way to retain the gold is to extract the teeth prior to cremation. We have yet to have a family hire a dentist to do this, but we will update this page if someone…bites on the opportunity.
Medical implants/metal – The implants that are done surgically are technically the property of the family. We automatically send them off to a medical metal recycling program so that they are not wasted and can see another life, in whatever form that might be. Occasionally, we get a request to have a hip implant or knee returned, and we can certainly accommodate that.
Whole bones – some people want entire bones (skull, femur, tibia etc.) returned. Usually this request is couched in some disclosure of “I’m an artist and want to….” We would love to accommodate this, but unfortunately the process of the cremation renders the bones so brittle that they don’t come back whole. A point of fact though – beyond the medical metal and the ID tag we use in the cremation, bone is the only thing that is returned to you. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that “getting ashes back” sounded a lot better than “getting bones back.”