When someone dies, their surviving loved ones often choose to cremate the body. Years ago, most families opted to store the remains inside an urn or sprinkle them somewhere of significance outside. Today, people are choosing a more adventurous option — they’re turning ashes into diamonds.

If you’ve never heard of this concept before, turning ashes into diamonds might sound crazy, but this act is now receiving great attention around the world, with all kinds of people doing it.

After oxygen, carbon is what our bodies are mostly made of. As diamonds are also made of carbon, turning ashes into diamonds is a relatively achievable feat with beautiful results. Over the years, researchers have developed several interesting methods to turn the ashes of the deceased into diamonds. This small act helps people keep their loved ones close: not just in their memories, but in real life, too.

How diamonds are formed naturally?

Diamonds are recognized as pressurized carbon atoms, formed when carbon elements are exposed to high temperatures and extreme pressures. As long as the individual carbons stay under extreme heat and pressure, they’ll form a rigid bond with each other, resulting in the formation of a diamond.

As the human body is also almost 18 per cent diamond, transforming human ashes into diamonds doesn’t pose much difficulty. There are several proven processes to separate carbon from the remaining elements present in the ashes. Those extracted carbons can be further used to mimic the natural diamond-making process in laboratories. The commemorative diamonds grown this way have the same chemical and physical properties as those of mined diamonds.

The cremains of an adult contain almost 5 pounds of ash, only 1.1 pounds of which are required to grow a diamond in laboratory conditions.

How ashes are turned into diamonds:

The process of turning ashes into diamonds is pretty simple. The ash samples are first analyzed to check their chemical properties. As countries, cultures, and religions each have different processes for handling cremation, this step is needed to analyze the remains and their composition.

Before making any essential chemical alteration to the ashes, the non-carbon elements (such as salts) are separated. This initial cleaning process ensures that only high-quality diamonds are formed with almost 99 per cent carbon composition.

After pre-processing, the clean ashes are put inside a chamber where intense heat and pressure are applied to convert the carbon into graphite. Graphite is in a physical state quite different from carbon and helps to join atoms in the form of flat sheets.

Over time, the atoms form tight bonds due to extreme pressure and temperature. This process can take up to several months, depending on the size of the diamond, as the gemstone only grows a fraction in size each day.

Most mined diamonds which are for sale on the high street are only available in the standard white shade. However, when turning ashes into diamonds, the final gemstone can be one of many different colours. From yellow-green and red to blue and the classic white. Cremation diamonds can be much more customized than a mined diamond ever could be. This small enhancement makes designing a unique diamond to honour the death of a loved one a beautiful and intimate act.

While the notion of turning ashes into diamonds might sound unusual at first, the practice really isn’t that strange. People have been keeping mementos of loved ones who have passed away for centuries as a source of comfort and closure. By transforming the ashes of someone close to you into a one-of-a-kind diamond, you never have to truly say goodbye.