Friday, November 18, 2005
Because "Kinda Creepy" Is Forever
I'm not sure how I missed this, since it has apparently gotten some press lately, but fortunately my ever-vigilant friend Sue picked it up from a discussion on the Chronicle of the Horse forums.
Pretty, eh? Is it a gemstone? Cubic Zirconia? Costume? Nope, it's a diamond. An honest-to-gosh diamond. Like a cultured pearl, it wasn't formed the conventional way, but it's no less "real" than its compressed-under-megatons-of-hot-earth-for-eons counterparts. You probably know that before a diamond is a diamond, it's carbon. So it is with these. What unusual in this case is the source of the carbon: (Charlton Heston voice) "LifeGems are people! They're PEOPLE!" It's not Soylent Green--it's a "LifeGem--because love lives on."
Yup. Dead, cremated (in that order, one would hope) people, to be exact. You send this company 8 ounces of your cremated loved one, and in six to nine months, you will receive it back in the form of a beautiful yellow or blue diamond in the setting of your choice. (A note to the ladies here--discussion of the "8 ounces" requirement with your husband/boyfriend should be avoided. It only results in juvenile, bawdy speculation about where those 8 ounces should come from, and what manner of jewelry could be made from it. Trust me.)
How does it work? Well, first of all, carbon is "captured" from the remains of your loved one. [shudder] "Once captured, this carbon is heated to extremely high temperatures under special conditions. While removing the existing ash, this process converts your loved one’s carbon to graphite... we now place this graphite in one of our unique diamond presses, which replicate the awesome forces deep within the earth - heat and pressure."
After 6 (for yellow diamonds) or 9 (for blue diamonds) months, you have a "rough" diamond, which is then cut, refined, and polished...even if ol' Earl never really much was when he was alive. It was observed among the "discussion group" that was examining this site along with me that most of the testimonials were from women, and it was further postulated among this (all female) group that this was because men would probably just as soon get a new woman as preserve the old one. This soon disintegrated into some morbid scenarios such as a man giving a diamond made of Wife #1 to Wife #2 as an engagement ring...it was all downhill from there.
Oh, and as discussed on the COTH board, you can also "gem-in-ize" your departed pet. "Oh, these earrings? Why, thank you--they're my dead Guinea pigs, Alfred and Hitchcock."