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The death of a horse or dog can be very painful. But now you can stay close to your much-loved pet forever, thanks to a new process that turns their ashes into jewellery or a photo frame.

Engineer Nick Cranham developed the idea with his wife Alla, a chemist. The ashes are suspended in a polymer that can then be fashioned into brooches, pendants, cufflinks and photo frames.

So far the company, Sentimental Connections, has had 200 clients.

“The nice thing is that it allows owners to have something tangible as well as being able to scatter the ashes in a favourite place,” said Nick.

“It doesn’t surprise me the idea has taken off as there are already products out there, like turning ashes into diamonds. But this is more affordable.”

Prices start at £110 for a photo frame and around £150 for a pendant, whereas an unset 0.20 carat diamond costs in the region of £2,500.

Rosemary Hurn, from Margate, wears a pendant made from her horse Ginny’s ashes.

“I was very distressed when Ginny died, and this pendant has brought a lot of comfort,” said Rosemary. “Many people ask ‘What stone is that?’ Some think it is lovely and others are not sure, but I think it’s beautiful.”

Although the concept started off with pets, it has proved so popular that customers are now asking for human keepsakes.

“About 10 per cent of people I meet think it’s a bit macabre, but they would not be the type to want to keep ashes in any form,” said Nick.

• Visit www.sentimentalconnections.com

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (25 December, ’08)