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How Memorial Pendants Provided Inspiration at the 2018 Olympics

The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games were a whirlwind of amazing physical feats and inspiring stories. One Olympian’s story in particular struck a chord with Virginia jewelry artist, Chrisell Vasiliou.

Team USA aerial skier Jon Lillis of Rochester, New York, had to overcome incredible emotions to compete in the games. The 23-year-old athlete lost his 17-year-old brother, Mikey, in October 2017 – just a few months before the games began. Also an athlete who had dreamed of competing in the Olympics, Mikey passed away unexpectedly in his sleep.  

Knowing his brother would want him to push through the devastating pain, Jon continued to train. He chose to honor his younger brother during his time at the Olympics in two special ways:

  • Wearing Mikey’s old aerial jumping suit with his initials inside the collar during his runs
  • Wearing a specially-made memorial pendant containing Mikey’s cremated remains during the opening ceremony

Other members of Jon’s family also wore memorial pendants during his jumps as a way to share the experience with Mikey.

It was the latter gesture that hit home with Chrisell. In 2014 Chrisell’s beloved husband passed away. To help her cope with this great loss, she used her artistry to infuse a bit of her husband’s ashes into a unique pendant made of dichroic glass. The glass fusion process forever embedded the cremated remains into a beautiful, color-shifting pendant that she could wear close to her heart. It was then that Forever Fusions was born.

Today, Chrisell continues helping others cope with the loss of their loved ones by creating unique memorial pendants. She feels incredibly honored to create these exclusive pendants and treats the entire process with the utmost respect and compassion. By hearing Jon’s inspiring story, she knows that her work is truly making a difference in the lives of those who have lost a loved one – one pendant at a time.  

To learn more about memorial pendants, visit Forever Fusions online at  

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