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Question #86985 posted on 06/13/2016 9:08 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So can people really turn their loved ones's cremated ashes into diamonds? I mean, I know it would cost a fortune (and time), but are there any institutions that can produce these diamonds? What more can you tell me about them?

-Bones & Butterfly

A:

Dear Bones & Butterfly,

No. While there may be a small amount of carbon present in cremated remains as carbonate, most of the carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and hydrogen is burned off during cremation. What is left is mostly calcium phosphate from the bones.

A quick Google search comes back with websites for some of those institutions, but I assure you that they are fraudulent.

-The Entomophagist

posted on 06/15/2016 10:07 a.m.
Dear Bones,

Yes, you can have your loved one's ashes turned into diamonds (or a number of other gemstones). Take a look at this NPR article: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/19/263128098/swiss-company-compresses-cremation-ashes-into-diamonds.

Some US Patents that explain the process of turning ashes into diamonds include:
http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=3&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=20030017932&OS=20030017932&RS=20030017932
http://www.google.com/patents/US7255743

Though there are definitely legitimate companies that creat diamond from ashes, most of these companies don't tell you the whole story.

Will you diamond be made from grandma? You bet! Will your diamond be made 100% from grandma? Nope. As The Entomophagist said, there is very little carbon left after a body is cremated. Typically, memorial diamond companies add carbon to the existing carbon to create the diamond. There are also ways to create diamonds from human remains that haven't been cremated, but that can get gruesome.

An additional concern with making your grandparents part of your wardrobe is that jewelry can be lost or stolen. After that, there's no way to replace it or know where it is. What if by some mistake your ring ends up in a landfill or sewage? What was meant to be an eternal memorial can become something disrespectful.

If death interests you (or even if it doesn't) try reading "Stiff" by Mary Roach. It's one of my favorites and in chapter 11 Roach goes into depth on several options for nontraditional burial.

-A Reader