Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Diamonds In the Rough

Maybe you are really a diamond in the rough. With today's technology, upon your demise, you could become a diamond to decorate your grandchild's latest piercing. SPIEGEL ONLINE is reporting on the latest trend: "Diamonds Are Forever: Forget a Coffin -- Wear Grandma on Your Finger".

These diamonds, made from human ashes, are gorgeous and are just as valuable as the real thing. Actually, if it is your mother that is the diamond, then it will be priceless. No two stones are alike and the sizes range from 0.25 carats to 1.0 carat. The cost to produce the gem is about the same as the going price for a traditional funeral, and may even be less if one is planning a burial, which includes a plot, coffin and headstone.

The hue of the stones range from very light to deep blue depending upon the chemical make-up of the "dearly beloved". Vegetarians produce a lighter diamond than meat-eaters, but there is no way to predict the color your deceased loved one will produce due to environmental factors, nutrition and genetics. Now that cremation is in, it seems certain that memorial diamonds are the future. Grandmother never looked this good!
Christa Nachtigal, a 47-year-old Berlin resident, thinks so, too. In a few weeks, she will be wearing her recently-deceased mother as a necklace. "I don't look at it as hanging a dead person on a chain," she says, matter-of-factly. "For me, this diamond is pure, just like my mother was pure." Plus, she says, by transforming her mother into a diamond, she can keep "Mutti" close. "I don't just want to carry her in my heart. She deserves more. She deserves to be carried on my heart," Nachtigal says.
So how does one go about transforming human corpses into diamonds? There are two major memorial diamond firms -- the older LifeGem in America and the newsly established Swiss firm Algordanza, and they both use the same technique to create their jewels. The process seems quite simple. The carbon inside human ashes is captured and then heated to temperatures high enough to transform the carbon into graphite, which is then pressed into a ... VIOLA! ... diamond.

Neddy Kerfuffles is of the old school and thinks the only real place for dead bodies is in the ground. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust", instead of ashes to diamonds, but not everyone will agree with such old fashioned beliefs based upon the first book of the Old Testament.
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Genesis 3:19)
Trackedback at Mudville Gazette.

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