Diamonds are, as they say, forever.
In last week’s post, we mentioned how more and more people are requesting that their dearly departed’s Facebook page be memorialized for eternity. However, if you prefer something far more tangible, a new process has been perfected to beautifully immortalize ourselves or our loved ones: transforming cremated ashes into a diamond.
A Scientific Breakthrough
A recent profile in The Atlantic covered one of the first companies to do just this. Algordanza is a Swiss firm based in a quiet little hamlet nestled into the Alps. Their machines have found a way to replicate the Earth’s natural process of forming diamonds out of carbon with massive amounts of heat, pressure, and time–but have managed to cut down the time required from many millennia to a mere three months. How’s that for scientific progress?
The forces applied to the remains are enormous: 800,000 pounds per square inch brings the temperature up to a whopping 2,500°F for the entire duration. No wonder diamonds are so hardy! A person weighing 180 pounds becomes only five pounds when cremated and is further reduced to a one carat (0.2 grams) diamond. Receiving some 800 urns each year, the company charges between $5,000 to $20,000 USD and, with rising demand, you can expect the prices to go up.
A Singular Color
Much as we are all different in life, so too are we unique in death. Every diamond produced has a particular color that reflects who that person was, a product of the trace elements that make up each of us in varying amounts. Different factors–metals in the body, the effects of chemotherapy, and more–alter the pigmentation of the end result.
Most of the diamonds produced so far are blue-ish in color, stemming from one of the principle elements that make up our bones and teeth: boron. Particularly if the deceased had blue eyes, this can take on a special significance to the family.
The company, Algordanza, does without artificial coloring, as additional chemicals or other treatments would be incorporating something false. A company spokesperson told The Atlantic that, “We do not believe in manipulations. As soon as you have additives, there’s something in a diamond that doesn’t belong.”
What people then do with the diamond is entirely up to them. Though it is most common to set the diamond in jewelry, others have taken more personal steps like burying the diamond in a special place or even tossing it into the ocean to drift freely with the currents.
An Option in America: LifeGem
This American company offers a process very similar to that of Algordanza. Again, the carbon elements found in the cremated ashes are harvest and subjected to extreme heat.This heat purifies the carbon into graphite and leaves it prepped for the diamond press. With additional heat and enormous pressure, a rough diamond is produced.
LifeGem’s experienced diamond cutters the cut, polish, and certify the diamond for authenticity. As the process is identical to the formation of a real diamond, simply on an accelerated time scale, each bears the same brilliance, luster, and hardness of mined diamonds.
LifeGem offers more options than Algordanza, including transforming a pet’s remains, or locks of hair from those who prefer being buried to cremation.
At Lucere Legal, we can’t offer you diamonds, but we can assist you in leaving something just as cherished behind – a recording of your own special message for those you love. Whether you wish to relate a beloved memory or simply give a few final words of encouragement, we can help you pass that down for the generations to come.
Call our office at 612-206-3700 or reach out via our contact form to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about this in a family estate planning consultation, where we can identify the best ways for you to ensure your legacy of love for your family.
Image Courtesy of Mr. Lightman | FreeDigitalPhotos.net