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Meet the Artist Turning Human Ashes into Beads

Merry Coor preserves people's loved ones in beautiful glass orbs.

Images by Chris Wisner, via

California-based artist Merry Coor has been making glass beads since 2000, but after a couple asked her to incorporate their departed friend's ashes into her pieces, she realized that her medium could serve a different purpose. “I felt it was one of the most important beads I had ever made in my life, and I’ve made thousands of beads over the years,” she writes on her site. Now, Coor specializes in memorial ash beads, wearable pendants made using cremains. 

“I put only my best energy into each bead,” Coor describes. She only creates when she is in a good mood, centered, and focused. “I take making beads with ashes very seriously and begin each bead with the utmost respect.” She melts rods of glass until they form spheres, then distributes their ashes on its surface in spirals. Afterwards, she encases her pieces in final, transparent layers of glass.

“It gives me great purpose and pleasure to make these beads for you,” she tells her customers. “I hope that the beads give you comfort, and help with your grief.” Below, see her works and check out her site for more information.

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