Saying goodbye to a recently departed loved one is never an easy thing to do, which is why friends and family usually come together to mourn their loss in unison during a funeral ceremony. Although traditional burials are still much more popular than cremations, many families in the UK have joined in on the trend of turning loved one’s ashes into memorial diamonds, also referred to as cremation diamonds.
A Way to Honour Your Loved Ones by Turning Their Ashes into A Beautiful Diamond
Once the first synthetic diamonds were made in the 1950’s, it was only a matter of time before someone would come up with the idea to use cremation ashes as the starting ingredient. After all, it makes perfect sense that people would want to have a permanent piece of their loved one to hold onto for years to come. Of course, the diamond can be incorporated into any kind of jewellery, fashion, or artwork, so it’s not as awkward as carrying a small container of ashes with you everywhere.
Switzerland-based LONITÉ is famous for being able to make diamonds out of both ashes and hair. It only takes about seven ounces of ash or 10 grams of hair to provide the starting base for a 0.25-carat memorial diamond. The ashes undergo an extreme high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) process that lasts for a period of seven to 17 weeks – though larger diamonds can take up to 6-9 months to be delivered. The ash is first burnt until it’s reduced to carbon, at which point the heating continues at a higher temperature until the carbon turns into graphite. The resulting graphite is then placed into a diamond press and compressed with a force of more than 800,000 PSI until it forms a hardened crystal. Finally, the resulting gem is then cut and coloured to specification. The process is relatively new considering it has only been offered as a service to the general public since the 2000s. In addition to the UK, memorial diamonds are also growing in global popularity, particularly in the US, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, The Netherlands, and Germany.
Cremation Diamonds Come in Different Sizes, Cuts, and Colours
Another appealing aspect of memorial diamonds is the fact that they can be ordered in a variety of sizes, colours, and cuts. Sizes typically range from 0.25 carat to 1 carat, but some labs offer larger diamonds upon request. Keep in mind that larger diamonds will require more ash or hair as well as a higher price tag and longer wait time.
By default, most memorial diamonds have a bluish hue due to the trace amounts of boron found in human and animal remains. However, it’s possible to have the diamond coloured amber, red, greenish yellow, blue, or completely clear, with the latter being the most expensive and also taking the longest to create. Specialised providers can even add a custom inscription or words to a memorial diamond. Likewise, the diamonds can be ordered in a number of cuts, with the “brilliant” cut being the most popular with its classical diamond shape.
It’s always wise to choose a diamond maker that provides certification from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or International Gemological Institute (IGI), as this will ensure that the diamond has been examined for purity and quality. Since there have been cases of people being sold regular diamonds or other gems as memorial diamonds, it’s a good idea to only deal with trusted and established providers.
Memorial Diamonds: A Less Expensive Alternative as Graveyard Prices Skyrocket
Although turning ashes into diamonds might seem like it would be an outrageously expensive process, it’s surprisingly comparable to traditional burial expenses, and in some cases, it can be cheaper than a burial due to the rising costs of graveyard plots and funeral services in the UK.
The cost of a funeral ceremony in the UK has risen to about £6,000 with flowers, a reception, and a funeral director included. On the other hand, a cremation only costs about £3,300 and the smallest memorial diamond costs around £1,400. That means one could have a memorial diamond made using a portion of their loved one’s ashes and still have enough to hold another ash scattering ceremony without exceeding the cost of a traditional burial.
Plus, the average burial plot in the UK costs about £2,000, with plots being significantly more expensive in certain areas. In fact, in some areas of the UK, the average cost for a basic funeral and burial exceeds £7,000.
With all of the aforementioned benefits being so obvious, it’s no wonder that memorial diamonds have become so common during the short two decades since their commercial inception. As funeral prices continue to rise and the process of turning ashes into diamonds becomes more widely available and affordable, it’s inevitable that this trend will become even more popular during the coming decades.