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#125952 - 10/08/05 01:10 PM Gems from the Dead
Mars Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 789
Loc: Mid-Atlantic USA
Personally I donít think Iíd want to wear my dead relatives.



Dust to dust to ... diamonds? US firm turns cremated remains into precious gems

CHICAGO (AFP) - Everyone said she was a gem. Now, just eight ounces of cremated remains is all it takes to turn your mother into a diamond.

In fact, there's enough carbon in those ashes to make about 20 gems. And there will still be several pounds of ashes left over to display on the mantelpiece.

So far, nobody's ordered more than 11 diamonds, said Dean VandenBiesen, vice president of operations for LifeGem, which uses super-hot ovens to transform ashes to graphite and then presses the stone into blue and yellow diamonds that retail for anywhere from 2,700 to 20,000 dollars.

"It's not for everyone," VandenBiesen admitted, adding that for those who do chose to immortalize their loved ones in jewelry, the experience is extremely positive.

"We have people that approach us who have just experienced a tragedy and they say I can't wait, I'm so excited about this," he said. "In the field of death care, when someone says I'm really excited about this, I think we've achieved what we wanted to do which is change the culture of death."

The success of LifeGem is just one example of a radical shift in the funeral industry, said Mark Musgrove, immediate past president of the National Funeral Directors Association.

Americans are moving away from traditional funerals and are seeking instead less somber occasions that reflect the personality of the deceased.

They are also looking for alternative ways to remember their loved ones.

While a decline in religiosity has contributed to the shift, Musgrove said it's mainly a reflection of a cultural phenomenon.

"Back in the 60's the baby boomers were getting married in scuba gear," he said. "They're getting older and they have the same individualism."

A quick stroll through the exhibition hall of association's annual conference shows just how far the 11-billion dollar US funeral home industry has moved towards "personalization."

Jeff Barrette is leaning on a maroon motorcycle, his leather vest and scull and crossbones bandana a striking change from the dark suits of most of his customers.

Displayed in his booth are urns made out of the engine cylinders of Harley Davidsons and mounted on stands with epitaphs like "Rider's Last Rest," which doubles as the company's name.

"It holds 270 cubic inches -- you could fit a big guy in there," Barrette told a potential customer, before explaining that the urn's carrying case is specially constructed to fit on the back of a bike in case "you want to take your buddy for a ride."

Demand for the 1,350 dollar hand-made urns has been slow, Barrette said, but that's to be expected in a niche market.

Memorial videos and websites, however, are a bustling business, said Joe Joachim, president of funeralOne, who has signed up 1,500 funeral homes in the past five months.

"Our ultimate goal is creating the ultimate funeral experience," Joachim said. "We want to make this a celebration of life and take it to the next level."

FuneralOne offers software that allows funeral homes to help families create videos, burn them onto DVDs and even make personalized brochures and websites. It also offers webcasting services so people who can't make the funeral can watch online.

The two-and-a-half-year-old company has recently partnered with another firm which makes solar-powered video screens that can be mounted on a tombstone and play a 5 to 10 minute tribute.

The 7-inch (18 cm) serenity panels will hit the market in January and Vidstone and chief executive officer Sergio Aguirre said he expects to sell up to 100,000 in the first year.

"Everyone has a story to tell, and what better way than to share it?" he said.
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#125953 - 10/08/05 01:36 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Mars]
chimera Offline


Registered: 05/22/03
Posts: 94
Loc: Sacramento, CA U.S.A.
Considering how useless most of the people I've met are, this may be the best thing they could do. A mobile pile of dung during life, and now they're beautiful.
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#125954 - 10/08/05 01:55 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Mars]
BlameMe Offline


Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 238
Loc: Scotland
I've heard about this and I actually really like the idea. You could die, be turned into a diamond necklace and become a family heirloom! No one would ever forget you! Not if they had you hanging around their neck!

MUHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

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#125955 - 10/08/05 02:14 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Mars]
RandomStranger Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 03/09/05
Posts: 2770
Loc: Here.
It's funny what people do to deal with death.
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#125956 - 10/08/05 02:24 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: RandomStranger]
Insurgent Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 08/08/01
Posts: 2318
So entirely confused....
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#125957 - 10/08/05 04:17 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: BlameMe]
Jack_Lantern Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: America
I thought the same thing, with the exception of having my head cryogenically frozen.
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#125958 - 10/08/05 04:43 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Jack_Lantern]
BlameMe Offline


Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 238
Loc: Scotland
Hell, why not do both!
Freeze your head, burn your body. Also, demand in your will that your family bring your head out and set a place at the table for you at meal times...

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#125959 - 10/08/05 04:54 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: BlameMe]
Jack_Lantern Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: America
Yes, with only one diamond made into an heirloom, the rest placed in a safety deposit box for my nanotech engineered resurection. My head, safely stored in the mini-cryo home cryo kit, will preside over family meals and weddings, my cold dead, baleful stare reminding everyone that as soon as human neurology can be digitized and reconstituted, I will return to see what they have done with my precious DNA. I will then board my intersteller space rocket and leave the human race behind forever...
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"If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." -Benjamin Franklin

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#125960 - 10/08/05 06:38 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Mars]
man_mind Offline
Banned

Registered: 01/29/05
Posts: 957
If one person made a ring of all their victims, who do you think would have the biggest diamond?

Eat your heart out Chris Rocks Stud Earing.
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#125961 - 10/08/05 08:42 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: BlameMe]
Old_Pig Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 3969
Loc: The Deep South
Quote:

I've heard about this and I actually really like the idea. You could die, be turned into a diamond necklace and become a family heirloom! No one would ever forget you! Not if they had you hanging around their neck!




Until one day your grandsons are out of cach and your remains end up at a pawn shop...
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#125962 - 10/08/05 09:09 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Mars]
DDEVILS7DAUGHTER Offline


Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 65
Loc: CO
Interesting post. Been undecided for a while, what to do with ashes I have. This opens another door.
DDEVILS7DAUGHTER

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#125963 - 10/09/05 02:36 AM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Mars]
Phenylalanine Offline


Registered: 09/24/05
Posts: 94
Loc: Michigan
Not to say that the human corpse is useless, but I find it a step in the right direction. It's not that we're beginning to objectify and capitalize on death as much as humanity is moving towards accepting death as a true and natural phenomenon.

The pieces that are left over really don't do anyone any good if they're just in a box--no biological good, anyhow--and I believe that the supposed "morbidity" of corpse-gemstones is really unfounded; I wish I could leave behind such a beautiful object when I die.

Also, and this is somewhat news to me, but since when have we been artificially synthesizing diamonds from carbon? I know the process isn't "new", but for some reason I believe I've been sequestered from the generalized use of it.
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#125964 - 10/09/05 02:28 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: chimera]
Ortrud Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 03/05/05
Posts: 252
Loc: NYC
In all seriousness, I think that's beautiful! I would love to wear my Nana in my nose! Right now, her ashes are all alone in a California desert mausoleum. I always admired her glamour, so using her ashes to make me more glamorous seems a fitting tribute. And what a conversation piece! It also seems far less messy and smelly that turning corpses into mulch.


Hail Satan!
Ortrud

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#125965 - 10/09/05 05:41 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Ortrud]
Bruja Offline

CoS Witch

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2054
Loc: Atlanta, GA.
Quote:

I always admired her glamour, so using her ashes to make me more glamorous seems a fitting tribute.



Well, Ortrud, I like your thought process!I can only hope that the same thing is said of me as my grandchildren wear me as a stunning conversation piece...
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#125966 - 10/09/05 06:02 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Mars]
BlackPhilosopher Offline


Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 100
Loc: A nordic place draped in snow
I just find it disgusting. A dead body is just that, a lifeless carcass which should be buried. Or they can burn it if they want, but these funeral ceremonies, I just cannot bare, personalized or not.

Quote:

Americans are moving away from traditional funerals and are seeking instead less somber occasions that reflect the personality of the deceased.




How someone important to you leaving you for all your life can be less somber? Death is a somber moment, even more when someone important for you die. Truth the emotions felt by someone is personal, depending on the relationship one has had with the deceased. But turning a dead into an object is as stupid as loving a guy scuplted on a cross. Better keep these emotions for the real ones.

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#125967 - 10/09/05 10:37 PM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: Ortrud]
DDEVILS7DAUGHTER Offline


Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 65
Loc: CO
Thank you!!! I agree. I haven't been able to let go of my mom or my daughter... This would be perfect.. Always keep them near...
ddevils7daughter

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#125968 - 10/10/05 12:01 AM Re: Gems from the Dead [Re: DDEVILS7DAUGHTER]
the_poison_elf Offline


Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Auburn, Maine, USA
I remember hearing about this a few months ago. I looked it up and it's a rather interesting idea, in my mind. As a general rule I dislike funerals and most of the rituals people go through for death. My family was pressed into an elaborate open-casket funeral and evangelical speech when my grandmother died. The reason was that it had been her express last wishes for how her death be handled, and noone really cared about it enough to disrespect that desire or the other family members.

Redardless of this, I do believe that most people psychologically require some way of dealing with the death of someone they know and care for, and I don't feel that there's anything wrong with that. The desires of the corpse-to-be should play some part in this, as should the friends and family's. If turning a person into a handful of diamonds works, then why not? If they want to be fired out of a cannon, go for it. Mummified? Sure.

Short version: I don't find this any more ridiculous than any other act it would replace/augment.
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