Forget proposing with Grandma’s diamond ring, what about proposing with Grandma’s ashes as the diamond ring? Yes, you heard me right. A Swiss company called Algordanza will take the cremated remains of your beloved one and synthesize a diamond between 0.25 and 1.0 carats. Not only is a diamond forever, but now, so is Grandma or Great Uncle Ezekiel or your beloved cat Mr. Jenkins (alright, maybe not Mr. Jenkins, turns out they don’t allow pets). Gives new meaning to DIY.
Algordanza’s websites promises your ash ring will be a, “A juwel to remember.”
There’s probably a lot going through your head right now. I understand; facing death is as hard as a pressurized carbon. Maybe you had your heart set on swimming with the fishes for eternity as an artificial coral reef? Or perhaps you or someone you know had already resigned him or herself to rest in an artful urn from Pier 1 Imports or beloved Garfield Cookie Jar? Now you could become a family heirloom that is either blessed by your spirit for generations to come or haunted by it because, in truth, you didn’t really like them. Why be scattered to the wind, when you could opt to be an expensive piece of jewelry for all to admire?
Talk about a conversation piece.
Maybe you like the idea of having Pop Pop always with you in crystalline form, but want to know how it compares to traditionally mined diamonds. The largest advantage is that synthesized diamonds are 100% conflict free, as in your laboratory diamond did not help continue a bloody civil war or exploit laborers. Its conflict might simply rest with how creepy people perceive it. An important thing to know though is that based on the person’s body composition, a diamond might not turn out clear. Chemicals in the body and then ashes can influence the diamond’s ultimate color and you just can’t predict if you’ll get a pink or black diamond. Algordanza diamonds cost on par with funeral costs and can range from $5k to $20k according to The Atlantic.
In terms of environmental benefits, it’s mostly inconclusive but it is possible to argue that synthesized diamonds produce less emissions and environmental damage. Algordanza claims to create diamonds “without any additives and admixtures” and gives a chemical analysis to the buyer. What’s not factored into this ashes-to-diamonds process is the environmental impact of the cremation itself, the output from creating a diamond and carbon footprint from shipping. One might be able to argue, when all is said and done, that these diamonds might have the same environmental impact as a mined one. Then again, mined diamonds are merely dead dinosaurs and plants so using a dead relative or friend at least seems more respectfully commemorative and personal…
To be clear, there are three types of synthetic, man-made, laboratory diamonds. Cubic Zirconia’s have been around since the 70s and Moissanite, since 1998. Neither is as hard as a natural diamond. Algordanza seems to make the third type, which is plainly referred to as man-made diamonds (it’s slightly confusing since all three are technically man-made diamonds). But before you turn your nose towards synthetic diamonds, consider that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recognizes the third man-made option as real diamonds because of their pure carbon composition. What they lack in comparison to mined ones is simply age and heritage. According to MSN, this results in a retail price that is 30% lower.
A word of warning though, if you want to create an engagement ring via the departed’s ashes, I recommend fully disclosing this fact to its receiver first. Not doing so could have grave consequences…for your intended fiancé, not the deceased (they’re already dead). It’s kind of up there with proposing with a Cubic Zirconia and claiming it came from Tiffany’s (something I know one person actually did…). It has nothing to do with the quality because it’s the thought that counts, but not sharing its true ingredients could sully the diamond’s clarity. When it comes to death and diamonds, order and knowledge is really important. Done correctly, a fiancé might love the idea that their lost loved ones can actually walk them down the aisle in a way they never thought possible. From dust to dust, ashes to ashes, now comes from carbon remains to carbonized crystals with the help of Algordanza.