Diamonds are Forever

Tuesday on NPR, I was driving to work, I was listening to the Diane Rehm show (with guest host Susan Page) and an interview with Lisa Takeuchi Cullen who has written a book on new and wacky death rites called, “Remember Me.” The interview covered some of the stories that Cullen has written about ways people want to be remembered after they have died. They ranged from caskets in the shape of Formula One racing cars to mummification. What really sparked my interest was the story of a father who turned his daughter’s ashes into diamonds. Yes, there is a company – Life Gem – that extracts the carbon from the ashes of someone who has been cremated and processes them into a certified diamond (normally blue or yellow). How cool is that!

Of course there are some people out there who might think that anything other than a proper burial is just wrong, however I was suprised to learn that the modern day burial (including embalming) is a relatively new phenomena. I was also suprised to learn that the main purpose of being embalmed was to delay the decomposition of the body. Dying more naturally was covered in the book, including green funerals (where a body is dumped into the ground), eastern-style burials (i.e. Hindu and Bhuddist burials), etc.

After listening to all this, I was just amazed at the idea of turning oneself into a gemstone. I’ve always wanted to be cremated when I die, and have said I cared less about what happens after — but now I’m thinking I could be a diamond wrapped around someone’s finger or neck 🙂 Is that morbid?