While shopping for cremation urns for your loved one, pet, or next of kin, can be an incredibly personal and somber experience, it can also bring about a lot of stress, anxiety, and indecision. Not only can burial urns come personalized, there are also many types of cremation urns, all of which come in a wide variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and styles.
From lightly decorated wooden urns to beautifully customized ceramic urns, you will find an excellent selection regardless of your price range or needs. In hopes of making the process easier on you during this emotional time, we’ve brought together this buying guide, which outlines the types of urns available, which urn materials to consider, and how to finally select the right urn for the cremation ashes.
While a cremation urn can be any container that holds the cremated remains, it is typically described as a vessel that is specifically crafted to hold the ashes of one or more human ashes, or a pet companion’s remains. Some individuals may opt for DIY cremation urns, while others will choose burial urns that are made from traditional materials, like wood, marble, granite, glass, resin, crystal, or metal.
The urns can range from a basic style that is meant to serve as a simplistic vessel of honor, to ornate and intricate styles that are meant to be displayed in the home as a work of art.
When shopping for a cremation urn, you may come across urns that are labeled as funeral urns, urns for ashes, and memorial urns. Please do not be confused by these other labels, as these are just other terms used to describe the same type of product and do not denote that there is anything different about the urn you are looking at.
However, there are different types of urns available that you can buy for various purposes, which do have different names, labels, or tags associated with them and we will cover this later on in the guide.
When someone is looking to purchase an urn for ashes, this is typically to either store the full ashes of a loved one, a family member, or a pet companion or to have a vessel where a portion of the ashes are placed after an ash scattering ceremony. The storage of cremated remains will either be because there was a death of a family member, or the urn is being purchased as part of a pre-planning process.
The death of a family member, friend, loved one or pet companion will warrant an urn purchase if they have chosen to become cremated. In the case of a pet companion, it may serve well to purchase a pet urn if you do not have a suitable place to bury the animal or if you intend to move a lot and want to keep them close.
Even if the beloved individual has left instructions to be scattered in a special place or have requested that their ashes be buried somewhere special, a vessel will be required to hold the cremated remains in the interim period. Otherwise, cremation urns can be used to bring the cremated remains to the funeral service and can be placed in the home as a way to stay close to the individual and create a warm memory of them.
There is a lot of comfort in knowing which burial urn you will be resting in after your own passing. If you are involved in the pre-planning process of your own funeral and wish to be cremated, selecting a unique cremation urn for yourself may take some stress away from immediate family members and may give you some peace of mind as well.
There are quite a few benefits of pre-purchasing or pre-planning for an adult cremation urn, including.
Please keep in mind that if you are planning on having a funeral or memorial service and you do not want your cremation urn to be present, your family may have to rent a “show” coffin. Pre-planning how you want to handle the funeral, memorial, or celebration of life service in tandem with your cremation urn is recommended.
With so many different types of cremation urns for ashes, knowing which one to purchase can be difficult as it varies on what your situation is. For instance, an individual urn is good to hold the ashes of one person, whereas, a companion urn can hold more. Pet urns, on the other hand, are built extremely small and are designed for the cremated remains of animals.
In the following section below, we will take a look at these basic types of cremation urns in more depth and then outline what type of urn you should be looking to get based on who the urn will be for and what the urn’s purpose will be.
Families may choose the urn based on the deceased. This offers families a wide range of options and gives them several different urns to select from.
When browsing through cremation urns, the majority that you are going to come across are individual cremation urns. These are designed to hold 200 cubic inches of cremated remains and is a suitable option for most families.
These types of urns come in a wide variety of materials, such as wood, ceramic, metal, and glass and are often personalized with decorative accents or engraved plating. They can also be bought in themes, which is appropriate for memorializing individuals where you want to highlight a specific part of who they are (sea captain, military officer, etc.).
Note: 1 cubic inch of cremated remains is equal to 1 pound of body weight.
A companion urn is similar to individual cremation urns in that they are also available in a wide variety of materials, decorative accents, and themes, but they are larger in design and hold more cremated remains. A companion urn will comfortably hold the remains of two individuals, which is approximately 400 cubic inches of cremated remains. You will have the choice to either purchase a single chamber companion urn or a dual chamber companion urn in order to keep the ashes separate from one another.
Common materials for these types of urns are hardwood, marble, and sculpture and they can be personalized with engraved plating or easel. These are suitable for parents, grandparents, or the lives of two people who have passed together, such as a mother and child.
Our pets are family too and a pet cremation urn is the perfect option if you are looking to cremate them. They are designed to hold 30-85 cubic inches of your pet’s ashes and can be personalized with engraved plating or easel work.
Pet urns often have hand-painted scenes or pet-related themes and can come in a variety of materials like ceramic, hardwood, and metal. Pet cremation urns are a wonderful way to show loyalty and dedication to a pet and are a perfect way to cherish their memory.
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While the primary decision on what type of urn you should purchase will be based on who the urn is for, you should also consider where the final resting place will be. If you are planning on having the burial urn for any of the below ceremonies or reasons, then you will need to spend a little bit more time with your decision process. Why? Some of these situations may call for an urn that is waterproof, that is made out of a certain material, or that can pass certain regulations.
When you are purchasing an urn for a scattering of the ashes ceremony, the environment in which you will be scattering the ashes in has a direct impact on what type of urn you buy. If you are planning on scattering the ashes in a body of water, a water-based biodegradable container is the best option as these will float briefly before sinking.
A biodegradable urn is often preferable during this type of ceremony because it eliminates the need to take the ashes out of the urn and risk having them blown back at you if there is any wind present.
If you are planning on a scattering the ashes of a loved one in the ocean, they must be in a biodegradable container and if you are going to scatter them over a lake, river, or sea body, then it needs to be at least three nautical miles from the coast in most U.S. States. If you are scattering the ashes over land on private property, only legal permission is required.
If you are looking for adult cremation urns that can be buried in the ground during a ceremony, it is likely that you will need a burial urn or burial container that is specifically built for this purpose. This is because many cemeteries will have specific requirements around what type of urns can be buried, especially if the cemetery is a green cemetery.
Urns that are made out of glass or ceramic can be easily damaged, so you will need either a biodegradable urn or an urn that is made out of metal (like bronze), stone, or polystyrene.
If you are planning on having the urn on display in a home, the options are limitless when it comes to materials and design. You can go about purchasing from a wide array of unique cremation urns, as the only thing you will need to ensure during purchase, is that it is large enough to hold the cremated remains.
Other than this, just make sure that you have a safe place to put the urn that is out of reach of pets and children. If you are planning on putting it in a hard to reach place, it is ideal to pick a lighter material, so that it can be removed from its resting place for cleaning without risk to you.
If the individual will be resting in a columbarium; a building or portion of a building that is designed to hold cremation urns, or a mausoleum, you will need to check their guidelines before purchasing an urn. Generally, you will need to pick from small cremation urns if storing in one of these facilities, as the urns are placed into designated small spaces that have height and width limits.
Mausoleums are unlikely to accept wooden urns, so it is best to stick with metal, ceramic, or plastic.
If you are planning on dividing up the cremated remains among your family members, it is best to select from the many small cremation urns that are available. You will not need a full-size cremation urn if you are splitting the ashes across more than a few family members. It is best to look at keepsake cremation urns as these are designed to be smaller in size.
Traveling with the cremated ashes of a loved one is a bit more of a challenge. This is because you will need to adhere to airspace guidelines and the requirements set out by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
It is highly recommended that you purchase an airplane safe urn, as it will need to pass through the x-ray machine before it can be placed on the flight. Wood, plastic, glass, and non-lead lined ceramic urns are the most suitable for travel, but you can also purchase a temporary urn that meets the requirements set out by the TSA and airline. If you purchase a temporary urn, you will need to purchase a permanent one when you get to your destination.
Note: check with the airline to see how the urn must be brought onto the plane. Typically, it can be brought on as a carry-on and sometimes it can be checked as baggage, however not all airlines allow this.
Now that we have looked at the basic types of urns that are available, there are other types or styles that you are going to come across. We are going to outline what the most popular options are, what their features are, and what their benefits are. Some may be a good fit for specific people, whereas, others might be better for specific situations.
When we are able to visually connect with our loved ones, it allows us to hold their memory close in a way that is meaningful to us. We can remember their smile, their laughter, and their spirit just by looking at their photograph. Those with loved ones who were extremely passionate about hobbies, professions, or specific interests, may want to purchase a portrait urn as a way to uniquely honor their life.
The price range of our 3D artisan portrait urns is $179.99 regardless of what background picture or theme you choose.
Some pertinent and personal information as well as a photo will need to be gathered to start the process.
You will need to identify which passion, interest, or hobby you want to honor as the background of your portrait urn. You can choose from a wide variety of professions, nature scenes, hobbies.
You will need a digital photograph of your loved one. We recommend that you choose a photograph that you love or embodies whom they were. If you do not have a digital photograph, scanning one onto your computer will work.
You will need your loved one’s name, death of birth and death, as well as a 200-character max tribute.
Once we receive your order, with full details about your loved one’s name, birth and death date, tribute, and digital photograph, we begin the customization process.
The featured photo that you attach to the order form will be graphically enhanced and expertly blended into the high-quality background of your choice. The digital photo that you send to us will be softened up along the edges and blended semi-transparently into the background, so that it sits seamlessly within the background.
We will then add on the given text that is provided with your order. This includes adding in your loved one’s name, dates, and significant phrases you have included. Two full lines of text are available and can be printed in any font choice.
Finally, we print the entire background image in such a way that it comes out textured, giving it a raised, three-dimensional feel. You will be able to run your fingers across the full-color backplate and across your loved one’s photograph.
Artisan Portrait Urns are available with several different backgrounds and are also completely customizable with a background of personal chooin
This comes with an exquisite sunrise of purple, oranges, and pinks set against the ice blue of the sea and the mute browns of the rocks. It is a colorful way to remember a loved one who had a larger than life personality.
This one comes with neutral tones of brown and whites set against a background featuring a guitar and ukulele. This is fantastic for talented or budding musicians, songwriters, singers, or teachers of music.
This one features wooden alphabet blocks in varying colors of uppercase letters, scattered across a wooden floor. Works extremely well for infants, children, young adults, or teachers.
The women in our lives are our secret holders, best friends, and guides. They provide us with warmth, with positivity, beauty, and love. When they walked into the room, they lit it up with their smiles, laughter, and blankets of love. To honor the incredible women in your life, a memorial urn made just for her from the finest of materials can help ease her passing.
The price range of women’s’ urns is anywhere between $90.00 to $900 and is dependent on the material used and the decorative elements. You can get extremely exquisite urns for women, but these tend to range in the $1,000s.
Memorial urns for women are fashioned in feminine styles and colors that depict passion, personality, love, and the joy for life. You can purchase them in pinks, blues, reds, pearls, and with emblems like praying angels, spring wreaths, daisies, angel wings, doves, and the night sky. These types of urns are a good choice for women because they more easily depict their essence or soul.
The Pearl Beauty Women's Cremation Urn is rich in detail, crafted from brass and has a stunning pearl white enamel. Accented by a nickel finish, an engraved border, and a scalloped look for dimension, the Pearl Beauty is a beautiful piece of art and a fitting resting place for a mother, grandmother, or aunt.
The Daisies Cremation Urn is a beautiful way to honor those special women in your life who loved the garden or fields of flowers. The daisies pop off the urn with their white petals and yellow centers, while the splashes of color in the background bring warmth and delight to the forefront. This urn features either an engraved plate or easel.
The men in our lives hold many roles, whether they are a partner, a brother, a son, a father, the breadwinner or the stay at home dad. They can be our confidant and our best friend and men’s’ cremation urns look to embody these features.
The price range of men’s urns is anywhere between $99.99 to $800 and is dependent on the material used and the decorative elements.
Memorial urns for men are often masculine in their design and are an ideal way to display a hobby, a profession, or the side of a man that was rarely shown. These are good options for those who want to show off the unique side of your man, whether that was his strength, his dreams, or his solidarity. You can purchase these in wood, metal, glass, and ceramics and they come in a wide variety of designs and colors.
This is a beautiful way to commemorate your man’s devotion and love. Handmade out of oak hardwood, it comes with a pedestal base and has a walnut cross inlaid into the oak.
The Baroque is an exquisite urn made out of glass. It comes with a diamond cut pattern and is in a matte black with hand-cut patterns. The top and bottom are accented with a silver tone brass, adding a touch of elegance.
The White Yours Always is a memorial urn that has a glossy white finish to it and a silver band around the middle of the urn with elegant leaf detailing. Simple but beautiful.
An infant or child urn is smaller in size. While not as small as a keepsake urn, the holding capacity for an infant urn is approximately 12 cubic inches to 90 cubic inches. The design of these urns is often themed around children, featuring common elements like teddy bears, bunnies, little booties, angels, rattles, Noah’s Ark, carousels, and rocking chairs.
These are a good choice for parents who have suffered a loss of a child or an infant. They can also be a good option for grandparents or foster guardians who had guardianship over the child or infant. Infant or child urns are good to have because they provide a resting place for the child and loving comfort to those who grieve them.
The price range of child urns is anywhere between $49.99 to $600 and is dependent on the material used and the decorative elements.
Typically, child urns will come either in a plain wooden box, in an intricate color-blocking design, or may feature a theme like rocking horses, carousels, teddy bears or bunnies. Angels are also very common.
The Cream Angels Among Us Infant Urn takes the angel theme and places a small angel on a block of marble. While the urn sits atop a brass platform, the angel can be placed anywhere on the marble. It also comes with a 2-line plate for an engraving. Holds 17 cubic inches of cremains.
This exquisite Small Joy Urn In Paduk is handcrafted from paduk hardwood and the natural grain of the wood makes each one unique and one of a kind - just like our children. A beautiful resting place for the ashes of a
This urn is a beautiful and simplistic resting place for a child or infant that has passed. It is crafted from Alder hardwood and sanded down, lacquered with a smooth finish. It can have a silver, gold, or black engraved plate for 2-lines of engraving and can hold up to 60 cubic inches of cremains.
A veteran cremation urn is a humble and loving way to honor and pay respect to the dedication that a loved one has given to their country. Veteran urns come in several different materials including wood, bronze, stainless steel and can be personalized with engraved text. They are a good choice for families of veterans as they are a beautiful representation of both their life and service but also of their love for their country.
The price range of veteran urns is anywhere between $150.99 to $800 and is dependent on the material used and the decorative elements.
Military or veteran urns come in a variety of styles, designs, and materials including those composed out of wood, marble, metal, and ceramic. They can be vase shaped, statues, or boxes and may be customized with photographs, emblems, engravings, or symbols of the branches they belonged to. It is common to see the American Flag, eagles, and military branch symbols on the urns.
This is a very patriotic urn, ideal for veterans who were extremely loyal and devout to their country. It is crafted out of Rosewood, a hardwood that allows for three-dimensional detailing. The plating can hold three lines of text and the flag and eagle can hold up to 250 cubic inches of cremains.
This type of urn is simpler in design but allows you to place your loved one’s photograph directly onto the urn with the veteran flag as the background. Extremely easy to personalize with text and is printed in full color. The photograph is a very touching way to memorialize your loved one. It can hold up to 190 cubic inches of cremains.
This type of urn design is a fantastic way to artistically honor your veteran. Crafted out of cultured wood resin that is hand cast and painted, it takes on the natural shape of a tree trunk. At the top, symbol infinity ribbon accepts help you remember that they are always there with you and you can add the military medallion decoration of the branch they served with. It is graceful and a dignified resting place.
A Complete Guide To Honoring Military Personnel
Keepsake cremation urns are smaller in their design, crafted to only hold a tiny portion of your loved one’s cremains. Most keepsake cremation urns will hold anywhere between 20 to 100 cubic inches of cremains but are available in even smaller sizes for those who only need 1-35 cubic inches of ashes stored.
Many keepsake cremation urns are just smaller versions of standard sized memorial urns and may even be available to purchase alongside an adult cremation urn. The price range of keepsake cremation urns is anywhere between $29.99 to $423.99 and is dependent on the material used and the decorative elements.
Keepsake cremation urns are appropriately used in a wide variety of situations, but are usually used to
These keepsake cremation urns come in several beautiful, touching, and stunning designs and are a great way to allow several loved ones to share in honoring their memory. Some of the more popular styles include:
This is an expressive keepsake urn, crafted from 24% double cased lead crystal in an amethyst color. It is a vase shape and has beautiful hand cut flowers on the front. Holds 15 cubic inches of cremains.
This praying memorial urn is crafted from resin and has a hand-painted finish to it. The cremains are loaded in on the bottom and it holds 9 cubic inches of ashes.
The Acorn Keepsake Urn is a great way to share the ashes of a loved one with multiple family members. Each acorn will hold almost 2 cubic inches of ashes
A memorial gift package is a custom designed collection of items that grieving families can purchase as a way to share the remembrance of their loved one with close family and friends. It is an appropriate choice for those who want to share personalized and unique items with close family members or loved ones, regardless of how large or small the service is.
Memorial packages often come with items that can be given out to guests at the service. For instance, the Classic Standard Urn Memorial Package comes with an individual cremation urn, a memorial keepsake box, memorial coins, metal photo magnets, and heart-shaped keychains. Other types of memorial packages may come with a photo urn, a keepsake memorial box, and a few trinkets to give out, while larger memorial packages may come with a memorial portrait photo, a cremation urn, metal photo magnets, custom memorial coins, keychains, bookmarks, and a memorial keepsake box.
When faced with what kind of material you want your urn to be, you are going to be given numerous options. Everything from the classic wooden urn to eco-friendly and biodegradable urns, to bronze and pewter urns. Not sure what to choose? Here is some more information about these materials.
While many believe that wooden urns are not as unique as say glass or brass urns, this is a myth because of how versatile wood is. Wooden urns can range from full indoor memorial displays, to three-dimensional sculptures, to extensive and elaborate designs made for larger than life personalities.
Wooden urns are so versatile that they can be used for burials, are biodegradable, can be hand-made with adornments, and can be created out of practically any wood available. Common woods used for wooden urns are cherry, mahogany, walnut, and oak as these types of wood can be carved and still last for generations with the perfect finish.
Wooden urns are good for any memorial display that does not require stable weather elements, unless you are purchasing a wooden urn for a burial at sea or land. Wooden vessels will deteriorate pretty quickly in outdoor elements, so as long as you have this understanding when using them for outdoor burials, then all is well.
However, wooden urns are primarily good for families that will be keeping them indoors as they are elegant enough in design that they can match any indoor decor and will not deteriorate due to the controlled environment.
Eco-friendly or biodegradable urns are becoming a new trend among individuals who want a memorial service that is environmentally conscious. Biodegradable urns come in a wide variety of styles and shapes, as well as materials.
Common materials used for biodegradable urns are leaves, tree bark, bamboo, seashells, willow, sea grass, rock salt, sand, and other natural or recycled materials that are water soluble.
Eco-friendly urns are an excellent choice for land or sea scattering ceremonies or land burials, where the family wants the urn to decompose naturally. They are perfect for individuals who are environmentally conscious and want to leave a minimal carbon footprint during the burial.
They are also extremely good for traveling purposes, as biodegradable urns are easily penetrated by the airport’s x-ray machines.
If you are looking for modern or traditional shapes, marble urns can be made into timeless and unique tributes to your loved ones. Marble cremation urns are classic, elegant, and are beautiful because they reflect the natural processes of the earth.
Marble urns can be sculpted into vases, sculptures, and unique abstract shapes while still offering durability. With proper care of the marble urn, it can keep its splendor for generations and the sturdiness of the marble will last forever.
The pros of getting a marble urn is that it is durable, porous, easy to clean, has weight to it, easy to personalize, and has natural beauty. The cons to a marble urn is that erosion may become visible throughout the years and is susceptible to outdoor elements. Marble urns are a fantastic option for those who want an intricate sculpture or a natural stone.
A pewter urn is a cremation urn that is made out of a tin alloy. Pewter is 90% tin and the other 10% is made up of either silver, copper, antimony, or bismuth.
Pewter is extremely glossy and bright but needs to be polished to retain its shine. Over time, because pewter is a metal, it will oxidize and take on a gray tint. If you are looking for a brass plated urn, it is likely that the base of the urn is pewter.
A stainless-steel urn is created using a steel alloy that contains chromium. The chromium in the steel is what makes stainless steel urns scratch resistant and have that silver luster and shine.
Stainless steel urns are hypoallergenic, but they do require upkeep as they are prone to rusting. They are inexpensive to purchase and can be engraved directly onto.
The demand for bronze urns has increased due to the fact that they are a dynamic medium, being able to capture exquisite and intricate details that are unseen in other materials used for urns. Bronze urns can stand the test of time, fair much better than wood or marble, and are extremely resilient against the erosive elements of nature.
Bronze urns are the hardest material you can purchase for an urn, have an incredible shine to them, and require expert craftsmanship to make.
Bronze urns are made out of either copper and zinc alloys or copper and tin alloys and manufactured through liquid casting. This is where liquid bronze is poured into a sculpted cast. Another way of sculpting bronze is by using sheets of it and cutting, sizing, and assembling them into the form required.
Bronze urns will not rust but will darken when exposed to the outdoor elements. Bronze urns are good for those who want sculptured urns that have extremely intricate and decorative detail.
When it comes to selecting an urn, the process is a lot more involved than just choosing an urn that looks elegant in design. You must consider the final resting place of the urn, how much capacity you need, and what type of materials and shapes you want. We recommend the following process, as it is the most efficient and easiest way to get to your final choice.
Knowing this first and forthright is going to make the final decision of what material you select, a whole lot easier. While there are plenty of options across all price ranges, an intricate marble stone urn may not be the most practical option. Write this budget out and keep it with you throughout the process.
This will help you determine where the final resting place of the cremation urn will be. If you are planning on having a regular funeral service, the cremation urn is likely to be indoors and is likely to stay indoors afterwards. This gives you plenty of options as you don’t have to worry about outdoor elements.
However , if you are planning on placing the urn into a columbarium, into a burial site, or are planning on scattering the ashes at sea, you will need an urn that is biodegradable OR can withstand the elements.
Determine the size, both for the capacity of the urn and the urn dimensions itself. You will need to determine how many cubic inches of space you will need for the ashes. If you are burying an individual loved one, a standard size urn will do, but if you are planning on holding the ashes of an infant or are preparing to share the ashes amongst family, an infant urn or a keepsake urn is more appropriate. Beyond this, if you are planning on the urn to be placed in a cemetery’s columbarium, you will need specific dimensions so that it fits neatly into its niche. Click here for help with determining the correct size urn.
When picking the material for the urn, you want to take the quality into consideration. For instance, brass urns are not good for burial because the water will corrode them, and wooden urns will decompose or warp when placed in the outdoors. Marble can erode over years of outdoor elements, but bronze only darkens. Glass and ceramic urns can be elegant, masculine, and decorative, but are more prone to chipping and breaking.
Think about your loved one’s personality and incorporate it into the style or theme of the urn. Perhaps your loved one’s favorite color was blue, or they had a passionate love for gardening. Maybe your loved one had a flair for art and intricate sculptures or preferred a minimalist lifestyle. Use these indications to pick out an urn that truly reflects who they were.
Laser engraving a sketch onto the urn may work really well for your loved one or getting an engraved easel may be better if the shape of your urn is round. Ask yourself about what your loved one would want on their urn, perhaps a favorite quote, saying, or mantra. Spend time on the phrase, on the font, and on the photograph (if applicable) as these will be parts of your memory of your loved one.
When trying to decide on how you want to personalize the urn that you have selected, you may come across the following options.
You can choose between having an engraved plate placed directly onto the cremation urn or using an easel. Easels are best used for urns that are oddly shaped or round on the bottom, as this gives you a flat surface to place a tribute, name, or date. An engraving plate works really well on urns that are square in shape or are made out of marble, or stone where carving directly into the urn would be ill-advised.
Another option for engraving is to have your tribute, name, and dates engraved directly onto the urn via laser carving. This works extremely well on wooden urns or with designs that are similar to sketches.
A 3D artisan portrait urn is a fantastic way to celebrate your loved one through a visual connection. It gives you the opportunity to select their best-looking picture or the picture that represents them best and use that to commemorate their memory. Alongside the portrait, you can add text such as a quote, phrase, or tribute to them and include their name and birth/death dates.
While shopping for cremation urns for your loved one, pet, or next of kin can be an incredibly daunting experience during an emotional time, giving yourself plenty of time to make an informed decision can help. There are so many cremation urns to choose from and whether you choose the urn based off of where the urn will be displayed or a particular theme that reminds you of your loved one, have patience and know the right urn will present itself. We hope that this buying guide has given you the necessary information to make the decision easier.
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July 9, 2020 by Frances Kay