After Twyla Jensen’s father died more than 18 months ago, her sister, Jeanine, wanted a special keepsake to hold his ashes.
Jensen, a Coeur d’Alene-based artist who works with resin, experimented with various molds and mixing colors. Sixth months later, she created two sets of pendants and earrings infused with ashes of her father, Larry, for Jeanine and herself.
That led Jensen to launch Spirit Soul Treasures, a jewelry business that offers resin pendants, earrings and keychains infused with ashes of people’s loved ones.
Jensen said she’ll never fully heal from the loss of her father, but helping others with their grief through Spirit Soul Treasures makes every day a little easier.
“If there’s anything that comes out of my father’s passing – I think this is kind of meant to be. I think this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” she said. “If I can send somebody something that’s from their loved one that they can hold on to and cherish, I think it makes it a little easier.”
It takes less than a teaspoon of “cremains” to create one of the pendants, which start at $74. Jensen is also able to infuse copper, glass or iridescent mica flakes into the pendants, which can be molded into hearts, stars, gems, teardrops or a custom shape.
“The resin is super durable. You can drop it on the floor and it’s not going to shatter. I use a really high-quality, nontoxic resin and it’s super lightweight,” Jensen said.
Jensen has sold more than 30 pieces since the Spirit Soul Treasures website went live in July.
“It’s just personal for me. I don’t take it for granted that I have somebody’s ashes or their pet’s ashes,” Jensen said. “It’s very precious to me. It’s somebody’s loved one.”
Coeur d’Alene resident Priscilla Bell discovered Spirit Soul Treasures through a local newspaper article.
Bell’s husband, Jim, died eight months ago from complications with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Bell looked at Jensen’s website and eventually met with her in person to design pendants for herself and her two granddaughters.
“I wanted to have (Jim’s) ashes with me. It keeps him close to me, so I wanted a piece of jewelry made,” she said.
Jensen made Bell a large, square pendant infused with Jim’s ashes, mica flakes and other filaments. She also made two turquoise and pink hearts for Bell’s grandchildren.
“It’s a very sad thing to have to do, but (Jensen) understands loss, and I felt comfortable with her,” Bell said. “She was very responsive, and the pendants were done within a couple of weeks and they are just lovely.”
Bell, who is still feeling the loss of her husband very deeply, said she’s glad Jensen is able to find healing through Spirit Soul Treasures.
“Grief is intense and a passage we have to go through. I’m glad this is helping her and glad that I’m able to keep some of Jim with me all the time,” Bell said. “This is a wonderful thing she’s doing for people that find themselves in my position and hers.”
Coeur d’Alene resident Veronica Klein recalls being close with her grandmother, who taught her gardening and cooking. After her grandmother died, Klein met with Jensen to create a coral pendant with her grandmother’s ashes.
“It wasn’t just making a piece of jewelry, she was connecting with the person and putting their personality in the jewelry,” Klein said. “It was a relaxing and nice experience to share in Twyla’s creative process. I’m now able to take my grandma with me on adventures and it gives me piece of mind.”
Cremation jewelry is becoming more commonplace, with businesses such as Los Angeles-based EverDear & Co. creating diamonds from ashes and several others making glass pieces infused with ashes.
Jensen is considering expanding Spirit Soul Treasures to include other forms of artwork with infused ashes, such as resin-coated paintings with copper trees.
“The sky’s the limit. I’ve just got to put the resin in place to keep it and protect it, that’s all I have to do,” she said. “If somebody has an idea, I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t try my best to do it.”
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