South Korea has a long tradition of honoring the dead, but now that space is limited for burials and many South Koreans find the tradition of storing a loved ones cremated remains in an urn distasteful, a company has come up with an interesting alternative.
The South Korean company Bonhyang is now offering grieving families the opportunity to transform the ashes of the deceased into decorative bluish beads, which can then be put in attractive containers for display.
Over a thousand customers have already paid the equivalent of $900 for the unique service, which grinds the deceased's ashes even finer, then heats them up and shapes them into beads more suitable for public display than a boring old urn containing ashes.
Critics claim that the entire process dishonors the dead, but Bonhyang's CEO insists that the process is not disrespectful to time-honored traditions and that the beads created are a beautiful way to honor the memory of a loved one. "They're very beautiful to look at," he says. "You don't feel that these beads are creepy or scary. In fact, there's a holiness and warmth to them."