Ashes to diamonds for a cool R101 600
DIAMONDS – and not death – are forever. And if you’ve got the money, like one local woman who forked out $10 000 (R101 600) to have the remains of her beloved pug turned into a 0.6ct blue diamond, you can immortalise your companion for eternity.
Affluent South Africans are increasingly turning to companies like Envirocin, a pet crematorium and memorial park, to enquire about transforming their loved one’s remains into a diamond ring.
The Gauteng company sends the ashes of pets – and even human remains – to Chicago, where LifeGem, takes at least six months to create a diamond ring, molecularly identical to natural diamonds.
The carbon from the cre- mated remains – or a lock of hair for those choosing burials – is converted to graphite during a purification process, subjected to high pressure and temperatures of between 1 600°C and 2 000°C. The graphite is placed into a diamond press that mimics the force needed to create diamonds.
Globally, there are 5 000 people who have turned their pets and human companions into these diamond rings, according to LifeGem.
Dean Webb, a founder of Envirocin, said some South Africans are building it into their wills to say they want their cremated remains turned into a LifeGem and will pay for it from their insurance payout.
“But potentially, an heir would say it’s not in their interest to turn the deceased into a diamond and want the cash.”