For thousands of years, communities and cultures around the world have used incense as a ritual offering to pay respects to ancestors and ward off bad luck and evil spirits. There’s a longtime history and cultural significance with this practice, which is essential to note. Even as incense are more commonly used today for improving ambiance, cleansing air, and during meditation, it’s necessary to respect the origins and traditions.

Likewise, incense and homemade dried herb blends are great alternatives to “smudging” or burning white sage and even Palo Santo, which, when commodified and practiced by non-Indigenous people, are forms of cultural appropriation. Instead, incense can be used through “indirect burning” or, more commonly, “direct burning.” Of course, to do this, you’ll want a holder or bowl. Holders provide stability and style, while bowls can catch ashes as they fall.

From Canada to the UK to across the US, these artisans and brands create handmade and ceramic incense holders. Pick one up to transform your home into an even more relaxing space; just don’t forget sustainable incense either! Some of our favorite brands for natural include Subtle Bodies, Satta, Relato Nativo, and Ume Collective (UK),

For even more beautiful vessels you can add to your home, try this sustainable ceramic dinnerware and these handmade mugs.

1. Incausa

Made In | Brooklyn, NY Materials | Northeast stoneware clay and glaze Price | $28

Incausa works in partnership with Indigenous artisans and communities from Brazil and Peru, providing economic opportunities through their social enterprise model. The founders are from Brazil and, by purchasing wholesale goods directly, Incausa invests in their economic empowerment. The incense holder comes in a variety of finishes, including black, blue, and celadon.

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2. Rachel Saunders

Made In | Vancouver Island, Canada Materials | Clay ceramic and glaze Price | Starting at $45

Rachel Saunders, a multidisciplinary artist from Canada, combines functionality, sustainability, and whimsy with Wave Incense Holder. Like all of her works, each piece is wheel thrown and hand-built out of a studio in Vancouver Island. This single stick holder comes in four finishes: glossy white, natural black, raw Terracotta, and our favorite, a subtle off-white glaze aptly named mother of pearl.

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3. Summer School

Made In | Richmond, VA Materials | Unglazed clay and clear gloss Price | $40

Summer School, designed and hand-formed by Karen D’Ambrosi, crafts homewares ranging from mugs and vases to vessels and incense holders. The Caldera Incense Bowl, in particular, is a great multifunctional piece, perfect for holding both small jewelry or a single incense stick. (And don’t worry if this popular piece is sold out; you can sign up for restocking alerts!)

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4. Temple Copal

Made In | Mexico Materials | Ceramic and glaze Price | $40–$50

Unlike the more popular Palo Santo and sage, Temple Copal sources white copal through wild harvesting, which avoids deforestation. Inspired by Aztec, and Mayan cultures, 100 percent white copal is used for cleansing, healing, and divine energy. In conjunction with Temple Copal’s white copal, the brand also offers handmade incense burners in three different sizes.

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5. Knotwork LA

Made In | Los Angeles, CA Materials | Porcelain ceramic and glaze Price | $24

If you’re looking for a ceramic incense holder that’s unlike any other, check out Knotwork LA’s collection. These holders are made with leftover porcelain inlay slabs and finished with stunning designs and patterns, so no two are alike. And with so many options, you can also find holders for cone incense and sticks.

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6. Mellow NYC

Made In | New York NY Materials | Porcelain ceramic or raw terracotta, and glaze Price | Starting at $30

Made with love in the Big Apple, Mellow NYC wants to help you create a more relaxed home with incense holders, planters, and dinnerwares. The brand’s collection of incense bowls and holders are handmade with either porcelain ceramic or raw Terracotta and hand-painted inside. We love the bowls’ functionality and size, ideal for catching ashes.

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7. Ume Incense

Made In | London, UK Materials | Stoneware clay, brass, glaze Price | Starting at £10

Inspired by Mother Nature herself, the London-based team at Ume Incense designs plant-based incense sticks, botanical mists, and handmade incense burners. Crafted in-house, each piece is made with sustainable firing techniques, organic materials, and eco-friendly glazes. Ume’s collection of gorgeous incense holders begin at just £10, finished with minimalistic glazes and brass domes.

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