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Can Diamonds Be a Griever’s Best Friend?

There are many ways to remember a loved one. Some people keep cremated remains in an urn or scatter them someplace meaningful.

Turning Cremated Remains Into Diamonds

There are many ways to remember a loved one. Some people keep cremated remains in an urn or scatter them someplace meaningful. A relatively new concept is to turn a portion of cremated remains into a diamond or other jewelry. 

As the memorial diamond company Eterneva explains, the death industry hasn’t seen innovation in 100 years and some people don’t feel the two standard choices — a burial plot or an urn — fit them or their loved one. So having new options, like a memorial diamond, is appealing for many.

How Memorial Diamonds Are Made

According to Popular Mechanics, natural diamonds are created 100 to 1,000 miles beneath the Earth’s surface at temperatures over 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. While it takes a billion years for these diamonds to transform carbon into diamonds, memorial diamond companies can “turn out diamonds in months.”

The article explains that after cremation, only about 1 to 4 percent of carbon is left behind, but that’s all that is needed for the memorial diamond process with a “seed.”

According to Eterneva, to make a lab-grown diamond, their company uses hair or ashes and purifies them into pure carbon. The process of growing a diamond takes about 7 to 11 months and costs about $2,999. The journey is roughly six steps and starts with about a half cup of cremated “ashes” (a normal cremation produces about seven to 10 cups, enough for four or five diamonds) and then the diamond is grown, cut, colored and certified before what Eterneva calls its “homecoming.” 

There are a number of other companies that create memorial diamonds including LONITE, EverDear, LifeGem and Heart in Diamond with varying price points. A Swiss company, ALGORDONZA, creates diamonds using only the loved one’s carbon. Some companies, like Eterneva, offer their service with pets as well.

Study Shows Diamonds an ‘Anchor Item’

A study commissioned by Eterneva published by Baylor University concluded having a memorial “anchor” item like a cremation diamond can help with grief.

The researcher, Dr. Candi Cann, Ph.D., found three ways that the grieving process was aided by such an item: mobility, giving the loved one’s agency in the present (not only the past) and helping those who are grieving re-focus on their loved one, not just their death. 

Refocusing on the Loved One

Dr. Cann explained, “There is concrete reason to believe that anchor items provide a place for the bereaved to direct the complex emotions associated with grief, while also creating a positive association with their life and a physical reminder that those we lose are not lost.”

Memorial Jewelry Trend

Memorial jewelry isn’t new. It existed in Victorian times when death was more visible. And memorial diamonds have been around since the early 2000s, but the rise of TikTok combined with the COVID pandemic have come together to give the jewelry a popularity boost.

Adelle Archer, co-founder of Eterneva tells Vice that COVID-19 brought grief and death out of the shadows. "Now, conversations around mental health are being destigmatised and Covid-19 has brought death close to home,” she explains. With this new approach, grief is not about letting go but in “finding new ways to connect” with our lost loved ones.

In this way, a tangible symbol is a connection that is as close as your finger.

“Unlike an urn, when people looked at their memorial diamond ring, they were reminded of the deceased’s vibrance, brilliance and spirit. It was a reminder of how they were in life.”

Resources

To learn more, visit the Eterneva FAQ.

To read about another unique way to memorialize your loved one with cremation ashes, take a look at our article Touchable Tributes: Parting Stones as a Connection Beyond Cremation.