Whilst researching the possibilities of what I could do with my own daughter’s ashes I came across the concept of turning ashes into diamonds. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know how this worked, so I thought I would share a little research that I did with you.

We all know that diamonds are made from carbon, right? Well, it turns out that the human body is approximately 18% carbon, and after cremation between 0.5% and 4% of that carbon is still present in the ashes, and if you can isolate that carbon, then you have the perfect base for the creation of a diamond! Using the Diamond Industries Four Cs; ‘Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carats’ you can choose how you want your finished cremation diamond to look.

So how does all this work then I hear you ask?

Step 1: Carbon Purification and Isolation. This is a lengthy process where the ashes are purified using a high heat in a non-oxygen environment with the addition of an inert gas to break down the carbonates. The carbonates are then broken down again to pure carbon in the form of graphite, and then the graphite is ground into a fine powder. This graphite powder is then refined and filtered during another lengthy process until it has reached 99.9% carbon. Finally, heat and pressure are applied causing the formation of a graphite structure. This process is called ‘graphitization’ and this is your base for diamond growth.

 Step 2: Diamond Growth. The personal carbon extracted from the ashes along a small amount of generic carbon is added to a ‘diamond growth cell’ containing a diamond seed which provides the foundation for the correct molecular structure to grow. This cell with the seed inside is then placed inside a rather clever ‘HPHT machine’ that replicates the exact conditions that exist deep beneath the earth’s surface, where diamonds grow naturally in the earth’s mantle. Scientists control the HPHT machine and expose the growth cell to temperatures around 2500 Fahrenheit and exert pressure on the cell of approximately 850,000 pounds per square inch, and gradually, a diamond begins to grow, starting off as crystallisation on the seed, and eventually turning into a raw diamond. As an idea on timescales, to turn the black carbon seed to completely opaque diamond takes around 3 months but the whole end-to-end process takes between 6 to 10 months.

The larger the diamond, the longer the growing time needed, and each diamond is totally unique. Each diamond is authenticated as being totally genuine and usually range from 0.03 carats up to 2.00 carats depending on the choices you made using the Four Cs mentioned above. These choices determine the overall cost of your diamond, factors such as the carat size, the cut, the colour, and the clarity are all taken into consideration. Diamonds can cost between £650 and £17,000 depending on your choices.

It’s also worth noting that hair can also be used to create diamonds! the keratin found in human hair is around 50% carbon so you would need around 10g of hair to produce a diamond.

Isn’t it amazing how science can turn what is essentially a pile of dust into something so beautiful? Such a personal and meaningful treasure of your loved one, I really enjoyed researching this for you and hopefully it fascinated you as much as it did me, and if you were wondering, when I get a spare 10K I’m getting that cremation diamond made!