From Ashes to Diamond: The Seven-Stage Journey

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The Journey
15 min

From Ashes to Diamond: The Seven-Stage Journey

The Seven-Stage Journey
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Words by:

Kelsey Donk

Illustration by:

N/A

Words by:

Kelsey Donk

Illustrator:

N/A

Contents

From Ashes to Diamond: The Seven-Stage Journey

At Eterneva, we know that our diamonds are more than diamonds. They’re the stardust of our loved ones transformed into special objects that we can keep forever, and pass on to our children. Our diamonds are stories and memories of our loved ones, preserved. But how exactly does this magical process happen? It all comes together in seven steps. 

Stage 1: The Welcome Kit 

This is the start of your journey, and it’s okay to be nervous, excited, or overwhelmed. Many people find Eterneva when their grief is very raw, and they’re not quite sure what they want yet. If that’s you, welcome! We’d love to walk with you in your grief and get to know your loved one. 

Most people start the process with a call to one of our representatives. It’s nice for them to get to know the people behind our company, and it’s so wonderful for us to get to know you before we’ve started! The call is important because we want to make sure you feel good before trusting us with your loved one. On your first call, one of our representatives will be happy to talk with you about our process and everything it entails. They’ll talk you through how our process works and answer any questions you have about the seven-stage journey. 

After the call, if you’re ready to get the process started, we’ll send you a welcome kit. The welcome kit will be shipped to your house, and it will include an introductory video, booklets about our process, and some sample diamond sizes. We feel it’s important to feel sample diamonds in your hand, learn more about the process, and take the time to get a sense for what you want. 

Welcome Kit

Also in the kit will be a container and a scoop for your loved one’s ashes and hair. The kit will explain exactly how to use this scoop and container if you decide to go forward with our process. We only need half a cup of hair or ashes to make our diamonds, and any that is left over will be lovingly sent back to you for safekeeping. 

Some people know from the start that they’d like to have their loved one’s ashes transformed into a diamond. They order the welcome kit straight from our website. We love hearing from folks who know right away that a diamond is for them, and we often end up hopping on a call after they receive the welcome kit to answer questions and learn more about the loved one we’ll be getting to know. 

According to a recent survey we did at Eterneva, the process of talking with our team is central to most people’s decision to go ahead with a diamond. At the earliest stages of mourning, it can be hard to know what to do, who to trust, or how to go about memorializing your loved one. It’s hard to take the first step, and harder to consider sending off even the smallest bit of ashes to someone you don’t know. That’s why we value the relationships we form with our customers right at the start. 

Stage 2: Carbon Purification

Once the ashes arrive at our lab, our tech transfers them from the jar they came in to a graphite crucible. The crucible will go through a carbon purification process to extract the carbon from the other elements in the ashes, a step of the seven-stage journey that can take up to two months.

 

Ashes & Crucible
Ashes & Crucible

The carbon purification process is exciting because it’s the first very dramatic change in the journey from ashes to diamond. As Carl Sagan reminded us, “We are made of star stuff.” And carbon purification makes that clearer than anything. 

Our technicians send videos to our customers at every stage of the process, including carbon purification. You’ll get to see the ashes enter the crucible, and you’ll get to see the carbon powder when the crucible is opened for the first time. You’ll get to see the ‘star stuff’ at every stage. 

Quick science lesson—hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen make up 99% of the atoms in the human body. The crucible separates the hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen and leaves us with a fine graphite carbon powder. That’s what we need to start the diamond growing process. 

Fine graphite powder

The carbon you see above, which is an example from one of our customers, is in the form of graphite. Yes, like pencil tips, but so much more precious. Once our lab technicians have this beautiful, sparkly carbon powder, they grind it very fine. Then, it’s time for the diamonds to grow.

Stage 3: Diamond Growth

There’s almost nothing more natural—or more geological—than the transformation of graphite into a rough diamond. In order to grow a diamond from carbon, we have to use a growth machine that mimics the natural process the Earth takes to make diamonds. 

For the Earth, this process comes naturally. It takes an incredible amount of pressure and heat and time, but when enough carbon is concentrated in one place, diamonds result. 

We need a machine to mimic those same conditions, and we have one in Austin! It takes quite a bit of energy to replicate all of the Earth’s pressure and heat. But research into the sustainability of lab-grown diamonds suggests that mining diamonds could require about twice as much energy per carat than growing those same diamonds in labs with machines like ours. 

Machine door closing on carbon disc
Machine door closing

As we apply around 2,500 degrees fahrenheit in heat and 825,000 lbs per square inch in pressure, the carbon will crystallize and start to take the form of a raw diamond. Something we love about this process is that each person or pet’s carbon content is different, so everyone requires a different combination of pressure and heat to become a diamond. That means every diamond we produce is unique, and the conditions that made them are also unique. 

This process can take up to three months, and we’ll send updates throughout the process. 

Stage 4: Diamond Quality & Assessment

When we take the diamond out of our growth machine, we celebrate and send a video your way. A diamond has come out of the ashes, and that’s special to us every single time. 

Now it’s time to inspect the diamond and check for inclusions. “Inclusion” is a diamond-world term that refers to the flaws or bumps that naturally occur in diamonds. Sometimes the inclusions are so small that the human eye can’t even see them! Cheryl, our in-house inspector, identifies where they are so we can cut around them for a flawless diamond. 

One of the positives of the Eterneva process is that we can make sure we deliver the exact diamond our customers want. Our thorough inspection process ensures we’re able to deliver the exact size and cut our customers want. 

This step can take as long as necessary to make sure we produce the best diamond possible.  

Stage 5: Diamond Cutting

Once the raw diamond has been inspected and altered to be absolutely perfect, our diamond cutting professionals in Antwerp, Belgium prepare to cut it into the shape you’ve requested. 

This part of the process is extremely delicate and intricate. Master diamond cutters are experts in their field, and they take the time to hand cut every facet of a diamond. Diamonds in their finished form often have about 58 facets, and that’s what makes them shine so brilliantly. 

It’s mesmerizing to watch a diamond go from “the rough” to glowing as your loved one did. This part of the process can take up to a month. 

Diamond cutter
Expert diamond cutter hard at work!

Stage 6: The Finishing Touches

Once the cutting is finished, our journey is almost complete. It’s time to get the diamond certified, colored, and set. 

Before the final steps, we make sure to get all of our diamonds certified. An independent expert from IGI USA will examine the diamond and certify that it’s 100% real. The expert will also inspect the diamond’s clarity, color, and quality. Then, they’ll engrave a microscopic personal message on the diamond—something you’ll know is forever there, shared between you and your loved one. 

The next step, if you choose, is to colorize the diamond. If you order a red, green, or black diamond, we combine high-energy particles with natural elements to create color centers all around the diamond. Those color centers produce a deep, even color in your finished diamond. This process takes one month for red or green diamonds, and three months for black diamonds. 

With the finished diamond in hand, our jewelers can take exact measurements and start thinking about a setting for the diamond, if you choose. All of our customers have a choice between setting a diamond with us or setting it later on their own. 

If you choose to have Eterneva set the diamond, the process takes a month. You can choose from a list of setting options or work with a jeweler to design a unique setting.

Stage 7: Homecoming

Our process doesn’t end when the diamond is cut, colored, and set. It ends when your loved one comes home to you in their new form. If you live within a reasonable drive of our Austin office, an Eterneva representative will hand deliver your diamond to you. If you’re from farther away, FedEx will take care of the hand delivery. They won’t just leave it on the doorstep. They will also make sure the diamond is delivered straight into your hands.  

We package up all of our diamonds in an engraved box for their homecomings. 

Eterneva engraved box open with ring
Eterneva engraved box

This moment is often an emotional one for our customers. Often, eight or nine months have passed since they first shipped off their loved one’s ashes to us. Now, after we’ve shared photos, videos, and stories back and forth, it’s time to reunite.

Even though most customers are still grieving their loved one, and never really stop, the journey of creating a diamond with Eterneva often begins at a darker time. When they receive their loved one back in the form of a diamond, our customers experience some healing. 

The diamond journey is complete.


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