Hong Kong is Turning its Dead into Diamonds

It sounds outlandish at first. Even obscene.
But why not turn the cremated ashes of your loved one into a beautiful diamond you can take with you instead of entombing his or her ashes in a gloomy columbarium?


It's not as impossible as it may sound. An American company named Life-Gem has been transforming the ashes of the dead into diamonds since 2001.
LifeGem says over 5,000 people have transformed their loved ones into LifeGem "Memorial Diamonds". Based in Chicago, LifeGem says its beautiful "cremation jewelry" is a unique way to embrace a loved one's memory day by day.

The problem of an ageing population means deaths in Hong Kong rose to 43,000 in 2013 from 25,000 three decades ago. A funeral parlor owner complained she has 30,000 urns containing the ashes of cremated persons and has no place for their burial.
Worse for the deceased's loved ones, applications for columbarium niches almost doubled to 23,235 between 2010 and 2014. The average waiting time for a columbarium space is now four and a half years from the previous two and a half years.
While waiting for this columbarium space, a family pays up to HK$80 a month to keep the urns in funeral parlors and other temporary storage facilities.
Swiss company Algordanza has taken advantage of this to become a leading provider of cremation jewelry in Hong Kong. Its Hong Kong office has been making what it calls "Remembrance Diamonds" since 2008.
To form a cremation diamond, Algordanza sends 200 grams of cremated remains to its laboratory in Switzerland. The carbon from those ashes is filtered to obtain a purity of 99 percent and is refined into silky, black graphite.
A machine then applies massive pressure and temperature to the graphite. Nine hours later, a synthetic diamond is born.
Cremation diamonds have a bluish rather than clear tint because of the boron found naturally in the human body.

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