As funeral practices shift and more people opt for cremation, how loved-one are memorialized is also changing. Some families plant a tree, others donate to a charity and some design a tattoo to keep a reminder of their treasured departed with them at all times. And now, technology has developed to grow the cremated ashes of a person, or a pet, into a lab created diamond.
According to an in-depth report in Business Insider, there are at least five companies that provide this unique service, that largest of which is Algordanza in Switzerland. Clients first send their loved one’s ashes to the company’s lab to determine if there is enough carbon to create a diamond. Lower temperature cremations preserve more carbon and increase the likelihood there will be sufficient material to grow a diamond.
If there is adequate carbon to work with, the ashes are purified to remove contaminants. However, the element and micronutrient boron is nearly impossible to extract because it is so similar to carbon. As a result, depending on the level of boron in the ashes, the diamonds may come out anywhere from a clear stone to a deep blue gem. Technicians have noticed that the ashes of people who have had chemotherapy produced much lighter diamonds because the treatment leaches boron from the body. It is impossible to determine in advance what color the diamond will be at the end of the growing process.
Once purified and converted into graphite, the ashes are placed with a seed diamond into a high-temperature, high-pressure machine to grow the new diamond. The process takes between 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the size desired by the customer. Once removed from the graphite shell, the created stone can be cut and polished by a jeweler.
As you might expect, the complex process of growing a diamond from your loved one’s ashes does not come cheap. Prices start at $3,000 for a 0.3 carat stone and most clients order a stone in the 0.5 range. And even if cremation was not part of the end-of-life plan, a memorial diamond can be created from the hair of a loved one.
For more information about memorial diamonds, the order process and pricing, follow this link to the Algordanza website.