Are you a diamond in the rough?
August 21, 2002 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Are you a diamond in the rough?
For as little as $4,000, LifeGem Memorials will turn your cremains into a diamond, allowing your loved ones to cherish you forever while admiring your sparkling brilliance.
According to the Cremation Association of North America, about 26 percent of the 2.3 million U.S. residents are cremated, and they predict that rate will jump to nearly 40 percent by 2010. Perhaps we've found an alternative to those other blood diamonds?
posted by me3dia (27 comments total)
Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend," doesn't it?

For extra fun, here's a poll from Chicago's NBC 5: Would you consider turning yourself into a diamond after death? (at the bottom of the story)
posted by me3dia at 9:01 AM on August 21, 2002

"Honey, You remember that your great aunt passed away last year? Well... She wanted you to have her diamond ring..."

I suppose it's not much different from the Victorian hair jewelry.
posted by onhazier at 9:29 AM on August 21, 2002

This makes me physically ill.
posted by agregoli at 10:09 AM on August 21, 2002

for all it's overhyped tackyness - i think it's great. My mum would love to become the precious stone she so adores, and the rest of her will sleep next to dad. Que problem agregoli? Not used to alternative ways of contemplating how to bury those you love? Or do you just think it's tacky?
posted by dabitch at 10:14 AM on August 21, 2002

I'm going for something a little less common - instead of cremation, I want my bones cleaned off by those little bugs they use at natural history museums, and kept in a huge marble urn (like four feet tall).

And if someone's really, really nice to me, maybe I'll let them keep my skull on their mantelpiece.

At any rate, it's a lot less grisly than slowly rotting inside a box, isn't it?
posted by beth at 10:14 AM on August 21, 2002

Anyone up for a diamond studded frisbee?
posted by alms at 10:16 AM on August 21, 2002

Could someone, please, explain how this is possible? This page provided information of the cremation process and only adds, "Our procedure is exactly the same, with the enhanced process of the carbon collection that was always present, and until now, lost in the process."

So, the cremation remains are received and a diamond is created from the "enhanced process of the carbon collection?" What, exactly, is this process and collection?
posted by quam at 10:25 AM on August 21, 2002

Cool concept, but I, too, am a bit dubious about the implementation.
posted by rushmc at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2002

I'm all for cremation, don't get me wrong, but yes - it's tacky.
posted by agregoli at 10:43 AM on August 21, 2002

possible slogans:

LifeGem: Soylent Diamonds

LifeGem: Because Grandpa is forever
posted by KnitWit at 10:47 AM on August 21, 2002

Hm. Their site is a little vague on the process. Not that I expect detailed diagrams or anything, but phrases like "we've discovered how to capture your loved one's carbon" (paraphrasing), sound awfully Barnum-like. I'm also disappointed that it doesn't involve compressing the ashes.

Still, I have to say it's kind of a cool idea in a weird way. Charm bracelets, dude! Seriously! "This is grandma, this is grandpa." I'd also like to find out if they can do pets. "This is Fido, this is Snowball".
posted by mccreath at 11:08 AM on August 21, 2002

There seems to be a number of different ways to create synthetic diamonds (and other gems). My guess is they're being cagey about their process to avoid copycat companies stealing their technology, but I found pages with a couple of different processes.
posted by me3dia at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2002

Well, if you interested in the process..I'm fairly certain that these aren't classified as actual diamonds, but are instead moissanites due to how silicone carbide can be easily extracted from plant and animal ashes. Also, for some other interesting reads on artificial diamonds, scientists seem to be making some compressed ground :)
posted by samsara at 11:20 AM on August 21, 2002

"This is sorely needed for families who choose cremation," Ahlgrim said. "An urn is beautiful in its own right, but you certainly can't take it wherever you go."

But what about those who still choose burial? I know- Corpse on a Rope !
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:22 AM on August 21, 2002

If you truly loved him/her, you'd have yourself turned into a diamond before you're dead.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:01 PM on August 21, 2002

"Honey, aren't you ready yet?"
"Almost. I can't decide if I want to wear mom or dad to dinner tonight."

Could also make for an interesting police report if said diamond was stolen.
posted by bargle at 12:02 PM on August 21, 2002

It does seem to me that being ash or buried hopefully does keep you from being stolen...or sold...or pawned...

Could you part with a memento that personal if you needed the money? Would they have wanted you to?

Cost benefits are a bit odd too, additional cost $4000+ for a pretty stone memento... How much are the stones worth?

It's a strange thought, to incorporated these lifegems into the general money system.

At least it explains where all the diamonds come from when I shoot the bad guys in video games...
posted by dreamling at 12:12 PM on August 21, 2002

Here are some other options.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:25 PM on August 21, 2002

"Can you do this for pets?
At LifeGem, we understand that people love their pets like children. We take that into account and, of course, offer our services and products to pet owners as well. "

Oh joy. I think this should be their big target market for the very rich.
posted by girlhacker at 1:05 PM on August 21, 2002

Cost benefits are a bit odd too, additional cost $4000+ for a pretty stone memento...

Caskets can cost that much and more -- and then they're buried, (hopefully) never to be seen again.
And, speaking of poor taste...
posted by me3dia at 1:22 PM on August 21, 2002


Never mind the casket... who in their right mind would name a business Funeral Depot.

Personally I'd rather not deal with my dead all that long... I'd rather just drive up, take a look at 'em and drive off.
posted by KnitWit at 2:30 PM on August 21, 2002

If I'm going to be a diamond I want to be a colored one. Blue or purple. The only other thing that's attracted me is being shot into space.
posted by stoneegg21 at 3:34 PM on August 21, 2002

These are not gem-grade diamonds rather the same used for industry applications such as cutting blades and electronics they have the same hardness but not the same brilliance.
posted by stbalbach at 4:51 PM on August 21, 2002

I think I've found the coffin I want. It says it all. UPS ain't got nothin on G.O.D.
posted by onhazier at 5:13 PM on August 21, 2002

I like the firework idea myself...any excuse for a party!
Or you could always use your coffin before you die if you prefer.
posted by Tarrama at 9:50 PM on August 21, 2002

Here's another fairly technical article (pdf) from the current issue of The Industrial Physicist on the creation of synthetic diamonds.
posted by chutzpah at 7:16 AM on August 22, 2002

For an interesting look at the Death Industry-- Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death" is a classic. There was an article in Spy Magazine quite a few years back about scams in the funeral industry. Yech!
posted by Modgoddess at 6:54 PM on August 22, 2002

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