Losing a loved one is never an easy process to endure, and to add to the stress of the occasion there are funeral expenses and decisions that have to be covered in order to commemorate and give proper goodbyes. However, as technology and culture continue to advance exponentially, our burial ceremonies and afterlife rituals are becoming more advanced as well.
Case in point – the Memorial Diamond.
What is a Memorial Diamond and How Do You Turn Your Departed Ones into a Beautiful Precious Stone?
A number of specialised labs in the United Kingdom have begun converting cremation ashes into diamonds for those who wish to keep a piece of their loved one with them forever. This trend has caught on big in the UK, where many families are discovering it as an ideal alternative or complement to traditional burial ceremonies and gestures.
A memorial diamond, also known as a remembrance diamond or cremation diamond, is a synthetic diamond that is produced in a laboratory setting using cremation ashes. A minimum of 200 grams of ash is needed to create a small memorial diamond, although it’s a lesser-known fact that some specialists labs like the Swiss LONITÉ can also create diamonds using only 10 grams of hair. Having a diamond made using hair is a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to have a cremation.
The process of having ashes or hair turned into a diamond is relatively simple on your end and it’s an economically feasible option when compared to other burial and funeral expenses. Overall it takes about six months to ten months from the time you send off the ashes/hair to the time you’ll receive the finished diamond, depending on the provider, diamond size, and your preferred cutting/colouring specifications.
Since you’ll only need to send off roughly a half-pound of ashes to produce a single memorial diamond, and the typical adult cremation produces more than four pounds of ash, you’ll be able to keep most of your loved one’s ashes for the urn or additional burial ceremonies. Alternatively, if you opt for smaller diamonds, you can use the full urn to create eight or more separate memorial diamonds.
How Turning Ashes into Diamonds has a Less Harmful Environmental Effect Than a Traditional Burial
While the average cremation results in about 160kg worth of greenhouse gas emissions due to the combustion and electricity used in the process, a traditional burial winds up leaving a much larger carbon footprint in the long-term. Though it’s estimated that a traditional ceremony has an initial average carbon footprint of about 39kg after the body is buried and the embalming chemicals and decomposition by-products leach out, a conventional burial results in the environmental release of approximately 10% more CO2 than the average cremation.
Furthermore, some of the chemicals leached from the body – like formaldehyde and mercury from dental fillings – are toxic to the environment. Plus, the need to maintain the burial plots for decades to come means that each person buried is continually leaving a carbon footprint, even after their death. Another factor that’s commonly left out of the equation is the emissions of the fleet of vehicles that have to travel to the funeral. Traditional cemetery burials are no good to the environment.
On the other hand, once a cremation is over it causes no additional pollution or electricity usage, and no ongoing maintenance is required to store ashes. Likewise, converting a portion of the ashes into a diamond is a one-time process that is handled within environmentally friendly laboratories, which practice state-of-the-art emissions management.
Diamonds from Ashes: A GIA Certificate to Confirm their Provenance and Characteristics
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) provides quality assurance benchmarks and certifications that can help you ensure your loved one’s ashes are being turned into a high-grade diamond that meets professional expectations. Thus, it’s preferable to work with a lab like LONITÉ that provides GIA certificates as proof that the characteristics and provenance of their diamonds have been thoroughly examined and held against a set of industry standards. Choosing an ashes-to-diamonds service that provides these certificates is the best way to verify that you’re paying for a diamond that meets strict criteria of presentation and production quality factors.
Since you’ll have some ashes left over after having a diamond made, it makes sense that you might want to scatter some of their ashes in places they enjoyed during their life. Some UK families are opting to scatter the ashes at sea or in coral reefs, while others are using special urn planters to nourish a new plant with the ashes of their loved one. Regardless of which complementary ceremony you decide on, if you’ve been wanting to do something special to honour your lost loved one, having their ashes turned into a memorial diamond is definitely worth considering.