I recently stumbled onto LifeGem.com, a company that creates diamond memorials from your own carbon. With a lock of hair or the cremated remains, you can be made into a .20 carats to 1.25 carat diamond.
I’ve been fascinated with synthetic diamonds since companies have perfected the technology to create them. Back in 2003, Wired Magazine ran a story on how a company in Florida can make a gem-quality diamond for less than $100. How does it work?
Put pure carbon under enough heat and pressure – say, 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and 50,000 atmospheres – and it will crystallize into the hardest material known. Those were the conditions that first forged diamonds deep in Earth’s mantle 3.3 billion years ago. Replicating that environment in a lab isn’t easy, but that hasn’t kept dreamers from trying.
I’ve never been a fan of the diamond cartel and their marketing push since the 1950s to make people believe that diamonds are rare and retain their value. They aren’t rare (De Beers stockpiles diamonds and controls how many are released into the market each year) and if you ever try to sell a diamond, you’d know they don’t retain their value. As HowStuffWorks.com says
If De Beers were a U.S.-based company, it would be in violation of antitrust laws for fixing the prices of diamonds.
But I digress. So, what caught my attention on the LifeGem site was that they are creating 3 diamonds from Beethoven’s hair to be auctioned off for charity. They’re also looking to attract other celebs to donate a lock and help out other worldwide charities.
I can see this catching on in the memorial market, though. The Victorians were well known for making jewelry out of a lock of hair from a deceased loved one. If you’re even in the Philadelphia area, check out the Museum of Mourning Arts, where they have all kinds of mementos on display. They’ve even published a fantastic book on Mourning Art and Jewelry.