Just what exactly is a diamond created from ashes?
Well, first and foremost, it is an actual diamond. I mean, if you really think about it, what exactly is a natural diamond? Diamonds are the crystallized form of carbon. So whether it is created under heat and pressure in a lab, or under the same levels of heat and pressure miles below the surface of the earth, a diamond is still just carbon. The real question should be what is the carbon source of a natural diamond? We all know the carbon source of these created diamonds are the cremated remains of a loved one, but what is the unknown carbon source of a natural diamond?
I can already hear you saying, "Duh, it's natural carbon." But lets take a closer look at natural carbon. I know that most organic things are carbon based, so that can only lead me to believe that the "natural" carbon of a diamond from the earth comes from dead plants or dead dinosaurs. So when you think about it like that, who would you actually like to be that close to you? Your loved one who you miss dearly, or T-Rex?
The Process - Four Simple Steps
#1 - Extract the Carbon from the ashes
All cremated ashes contain carbon. To get access to this carbon the rest of the elements in the ashes must be removed. The best way to do this is to heat the sample of ashes to OVER 5000°F! This essentially vaporizes the rest of the particles that literally can't take the heat.
• Not all of the ashes are needed. According to LifeGem, 10 or more diamonds can be created from an 8 ounce portion of the cremated ashes. This is basically the size of a standard kitchen cup.
• Most of the ashes are calcium which vaporizes under the extreme heat conditions.
• No special cremation process is needed to create a diamond from the ashes.
• A diamond can be created from ashes, no matter how old the cremation ashes are.
#2 - Purify the Carbon
Similar to step one in that the temperatures are still really hot. But now a specialized low oxygen, high nitrogen environment is used to achieve the purest carbon possible.
• Like many manufacturing processes, the quality of the end product is directly related to the quality of the initial material.
• Many people have tried to create diamonds from non-purified ashes, and the result is not pretty. Understanding this from day one, LifeGem spent more research and development money on this phase than anything else and were awarded a U.S. Patent on it in August of 2007.
• Even though every set of ashes follows the exact same process, the resulting purified carbon is never identical. Therefore, each diamond created from ashes will be completely unique to all others.
Rough Diamond Created from Ashes
#3 - Create the Rough Diamond
As you can imagine, this step takes the longest, but at least it doesn't take a billion years! The purified carbon from the previous step is placed inside a sophisticated cube known as the core. This core contains the carbon and all the catalysts needed to convert the carbon to its crystallized form - diamond.
The core is placed in the center of a big press that exerts nearly 1,000,000 pounds of pressure and 2500° of heat. You wouldn't want to stick your toe in there!
Inside this growth chamber, the carbon breaks down into individual atoms and then reforms and bonds as a diamond. No monitoring equipment can be placed inside the press, because nothing can withstand these conditions other than a diamond.
• Each press only grows one diamond at a time.
• Yellow diamonds are the easiest to create due to the Nitrogen in the process. Nitrogen is a very good stabilizer for the production process. Blue and Colorless diamonds are the most difficult to create because no Nitrogen is allowed in the process.
• The final size of the rough diamond is a direct result of the time the carbon spends in the diamond press.
Certified Diamond Created from Ashes
#4 - Cut, Polish, & Certify the Diamond
Finally, the rough diamond is cut and polished in exactly the same manner as a natural diamond from the earth. Depending on the cut you choose, skilled diamond cutters facet your diamond and laser inscribe a unique identifier on the girdle.
• Each diamond is certified for authenticity and graded by gemologists trained at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).
• Although the GIA can tell the difference between high quality diamonds created from ashes and natural diamonds, your local jeweler may not have sophisticated enough equipment.