I have just learned of a somewhat new process being used to dispose of bodies after death, where a strong lye solution is used to dissolve the tissue. It's called "Aquamation". I'm trying to learn all I can about it, but DO know that this process is NOT compatible with making Memorial Orbs with the resulting "ashes".
There is no burning of anything that takes place during Aquamation, It's touted as a "gentle process that uses water rather than flame" - which seems to be a bit of a stretch, since it's not just plain water that's used. But there do seem to be some potential advantages to the approach, and I understand that there's somewhere in the Seattle area that's been doing this.
I am offering no opinion on Aquamation vs flame cremation vs burial or anything else - that choice is up to the individual and their families. I'm not even sure yet which method I'd prefer for myself. However...
I CAN tell you from personal, extremely unpleasant, experience that Aquamation "ashes" are HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, and RELEASE A HORRIBLE-SMELLING and POTENTIALLY NOXIOUS SMOKE. They are NOT SUITED for our Memorial Orbs, and I will not be making any more Orbs with them.
I've done 4-5 of them now, and I could tell that something was vastly different about these "ashes". The "ash" bursts into flame as soon as contacted with molten glass, and a huge plume of incredibly foul-smelling smoke bellows out of it. In addition, there are burn marks that remain on the aluminum scoop.
My previous career was as a pharmacist, so I have a pretty good chemistry background. The water used for the Aquamation process apparently contains a strong Sodium Hydroxide (lye) solution. Lye is a very strong base which I understand that, once the tissues are dissolved, is neutralized with acid. There might be some strict regulation on how this is done, but I have no idea. I can say, though, that I don't want to be making smoke out of something that could potentially scorch my lungs.
1. If you have "ashes" from the Aquamation process, please don't ask us to make a Memorial Orb with them.
2. If you have sent us "ashes" from the Aquamation process, it will be evident as soon as the molten glass touches it. I will stop the process immediately, and pack your ashes back up for you for return. You will be refunded 90% of the Orb cost, (10 % for handling fee), and none of the shipping charge (since we'll be returning the "ashes"). .
Please understand, we are not making a judgement on the Aquamation process. BUT, PLEASE keep in mind that the resulting "ashes" are not compatible with blown glass.