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Diamonds from Ashes

interviews, The Industry, Jewelry, howitsmadeDavid Blake

You've likely heard of where companies can turn human cremains into beautiful diamonds.  Attached is an article re-posted(with permission of course) from Heart in Diamonds

The Ultimate Post-Life Hack: Turning Human Ashes Into Diamonds

In Western society, the notion of death is very difficult for many people to cope with. Arranging an appropriate farewell for someone who has recently passed away and who is still very much cared for can be distressing and difficult. This is especially so when those closest to the person who has died are confronting their grief head-on in its initial, painful stages.

Simply put: Accepting the death of a loved one and letting go is probably one of the hardest things we’ll ever need to do.

The Familiar Customs of Mourning Are Concrete Actions that Ease Grief.

Psychologists do have a suggestion for making the process of grief more manageable: Engage in rituals and create memorials that help you to feel connected to the loved one who has died. Concrete actions, such as J. William Worden's tasks of mourning, can make you feel more in control of the grieving process and help you to keep your loved one's memory alive, even long after they have died.

Certain customs and rituals around mourning (e.g. burial, scattering of cremation ashes, etc.) have existed for as long as people have been dying. These customs fulfill the need to actively remember a loved one who has passed away. And they are a comfortable, well-known way to deal with a loved one's remains.

Some People Are Taking Concrete Action a Little Further by Turning Their Loved Ones' Ashes into Diamonds.

Some people, however, want to move beyond the comfortable and well-known. They need to handle their grief a little more creatively. And they want a tangible way to remember their loved one. To that end, one segment of the funeral industry has begun offering the opportunity to turn human ashes (called cremains) into real diamonds.

The premise behind this new trend is pretty simple: A beautiful diamond is a good way to keep your loved one's remains and memory close. And, being able to pick the color, cut, size, and jewelry setting for your diamond means you get exactly the kind of memorial you want.

But this trend obviously isn't for everyone. To help you decide, here are a few facts about turning human ashes into diamonds.

Turning Human Ashes into Diamonds Is the Latest in a 400-Year Tradition of Keeping People's Remains as Jewelry.

Turning human ashes into diamonds might be a little unusual (some might say strange). But, it is also kind of a tradition. Holding onto a piece of a deceased loved one became common practice about 400 years ago, when blood, nails, ashes, or hair were placed inside jewelry.

People as esteemed as Queen Victoria, and as humble as the average soldier's wife during the Civil War all used this method to keep the memory of their loved one close.

The diamonds from ashes industry operates on the same premise: Giving families a piece of their loved one to hold onto. Today, however, they do so in a way that is a little less macabre (because fingernails don't exactly make for fancy evening wear).

It's No Scam: Real Human Ashes Are Actually Used to Create Memorial Diamonds.

You might think that turning human ashes into diamonds sounds a little unrealistic. Cremains don't resemble diamonds very much, after all. But they do contain quite a bit of carbon, which is the same element you find in a diamond.

The difference between the two is (1 The cremains contain other elements besides carbon and (2 The arrangement of the carbon atoms is different between ashes and diamonds. The diamond consists of pure sets of four carbon molecules bonded together in a rigid, unmoving pattern, while the ashes contain somewhat less organized carbon molecules mixed in with other elements.

The process of turning human ashes into diamonds involves isolating the carbon from the cremains and forcing them into the rigid and brilliant form of the diamond. As a result, under the right conditions, cremains can indeed become a diamond.

The Diamonds Made from Human Ashes Are Real. They Just Take a Different Route than Do Diamonds Mined from the Earth.

What makes a diamond a diamond? The right combination of carbon atoms. So it doesn't matter if the diamond came from the ground or from a lab. If it has the right arrangement of carbon atoms, it is a diamond.

Of course, the process of turning the carbon from your loved one's ashes into a diamond looks a lot different than the process the diamond on your (or your spouse's) engagement ring went through. The cremains are grown over a period of time that can last up to several months and that mimics conditions in the Earth (high temperatures of more than 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit and high pressures of about 60,000 atmospheres). Natural diamonds, on the other hand, often take millions or billions of years to grow, and they are formed within the Earth, where the pressure and heat are occurring naturally within the rock, not within a lab machine.

At the end of the process, however, both memorial diamonds and natural diamonds receive a grade based on what are called the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat-weight). If you decide to opt for a memorial diamond, it is this grading, and not the process your diamond went through, that will tell you what the quality of your diamond is.

Turning Human Ashes into Diamonds Is not for Everyone. But It Does Help Some People Grieve More Effectively.

New customs, particularly those associated with death, can be inherently challenging to adopt. But, like death, change is inevitable. People love to honor those who have passed with dignity and tradition.

Cremation diamonds may seem unusual, but the idea is spreading throughout many different cultures, allowing adoption of an alternative to the old ways of honoring the deceased. It isn't for everyone, but it is something you might want to consider if more traditional options are leaving you feeling dissatisfied.

After all, at the end of the day, honoring your loved one and moving through your grief is a personal journey best navigated by paying careful attention to your own desires regarding how to honor, remember, and cherish your loved one.

David Miller, Hearts In Diamond