Ashes to ashes, dust to dust as the good book says. Or, maybe ashes to carbon, carbon to diamond. Uncle Lester may have been a drunken lech in real life, but now he may be able to provide beauty and pleasure in the afterlife. At least according to several companies like LifeGem and Cremation Solutions, which advertise that they will create a High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) diamond from your loved one’s ashes.
Well….., buyer beware. The International School of Gemology looked into these claims and issued a report in 2007 which cast lots of doubt on them. To begin with, both companies used a picture of a row of BARS diamond presses on their websites and promotional material claiming explicitly in one case and suggesting in the other that these presses were owned by their companies. In fact, neither company owns these presses. The picture was taken off the internet and the presses belong to New Diamond Technology, a Russian company. When LifeGem receives ashes from someone wanting a diamond created of their loved one, they claim to send the ashes to Russia where the diamond is created by NDT.
According to them, you can tell them how many diamonds you want from Uncle Lester, how big, the shape of them and their color. But the major diamond synthesis labs consulted by the International School of Gemology said it was not technologically possible to do this to the extent claimed by the cremation diamond sellers. Moreover, it seems that the cremation process itself burns virtually all of the carbon.
According to the ISG, there is no proof that the ashes you provide are ever sent to Russia or that, if they are, they are used in creating the diamond you buy. In the best case, ISG says there is only a miniscule amount of carbon from your loved one in the diamond you get, and in the worst case, there is none at all. You might just get conned and sold a lab created diamond with none of Uncle Lester’s carbon in it and for a price that can be about double the normal price of a lab created diamond.