Turning Ashes to Jewelry: A Remarkable Memento Mori for Our Modern Age

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Turning Ashes to Jewelry: A Remarkable Memento Mori for Our Modern Age

Turning Ashes into Jewelry (Guide)
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Words by:

Kristen Cavanaugh

Illustration by:

Ethan Silva

Words by:

Kristen Cavanaugh

Illustrator:

Ethan Silva

Contents

The loss of a loved one –– person or pet –– is undeniably hard. Everyone, at some point in their life, will experience this loss, and the grief that comes with it. It is part of the human condition that gives life its bittersweet beauty.

One thing that is known to help those still here is memorializing their loved one’s life, spirit, and impact. It can offer some positivity in the grieving process, giving your brain time to reflect and adapt to a new reality.

It is important, after all, to think about them, talk about them, and allow their legacy to continue on.

It will be hard, it will be healing, and it will be beautiful. Memorializing your loved one is a way to both honor them and find some healing along the way.

Traditionally, memorials have taken the forms of gravestones and urns. And in our present moment, these can leave us feeling a bit strange, distant, and detached from the memory of our loved one.

It may sound odd, but jewelry has been an option for memorialization for a while now. Long before it was the memento moris of the past in which people would use the deceased’s hair in sterling silver as a jewelry piece. But today, it’s smaller jewelry that holds some of your loved one’s ashes.

Now there are more options than ever before, including the ability to transform your loved one’s ashes or hair into a lab-grown diamond, known as a memorial diamond. Before we get there, though, let’s talk a bit about why jewelry is such a popular choice for memorial items to begin with.

Why jewelry for a memorial?

Jewelry lets you keep your loved one close to your heart, both physically and emotionally.

  • It gives the deceased a bit of agency.
  • It lets the living carry their loved one with them into the next chapter of life, while always remembering the impact their loved one made on them.
  • It’s a memorial option that’s not as distant as an urn left to sit on a mantle or a graveyard.

The type of jewelry that you choose will come with a variety of benefits. For example, memorializing your loved one through a cremation diamond allows you to transform loss into an object of beauty, helping you to remember their life, not the way they passed.

With a memorial diamond, or other gem options, you get to choose if you want the stone placed in a necklace (to be close to your heart), in a ring (so it catches your eye in the light and reminds you of them regularly), or in any other piece of jewelry. Maybe it’s a family heirloom, or a piece that was your loved one’s favorite.

Another benefit of memorial jewelry is that the legacy of your loved one can live on for generations. Jewelry is often passed down, along with the stories of what the piece represents.

This is in stark contrast to urns, or even graveyards, where over generations urns are often stored in an attic space or thrown out, and graveyards go unvisited.

What memorial jewelry options do I have?

If memorial jewelry sparks your interest, you have several options to explore. They range in price and process, but all help you honor and carry your loved one with you in the next chapter of life.

Cremation Diamonds, also known as Memorial Diamonds.

This is what we at Eterneva do best. These are diamonds made from carbon in the ashes of a loved one that you’ve lost and want to celebrate.

The ashes are transformed through a high pressure, high temperature process. And at Eterneva, we work alongside you in your personal journey to keep you updated on your loved one’s transformation throughout.

Diamonds from ashes are the most expensive option, starting at $2,999, but financing is available. And remember, these are 100% real, highly personalized lab-grown diamonds. You can even customize the cut and choose from a variety of colors.

They do take time. They also take resources. Most of all, though, they are made from love and the celebration of your loved one’s remarkable life and impact.

Memorial beads.

Memorial beads are made by encapsulating a small amount of a loved one’s ashes in molten glass. They are often brightly colored beads, and can be used as a pendant on a necklace to keep your loved one close to your heart.

This option aligns more closely with the memorial diamond option in that each bead is unique to your loved one. You can often choose the color, and your loved one’s ashes are blended within the molten glass.

Cremation urn jewelry.

Another option is cremation jewelry. Think bracelets and pendants. With these options, you can fill the piece of jewelry with a small amount of your loved one’s ashes to keep them close and remember them.

Cremation urn jewelry is a less expensive option. Rather than blending your loved one’s ashes into the piece of jewelry, the pendant or bracelet acts as a small urn that you can keep close and wear everyday.

Memorial Jewelry Pricing Pricing

These three main options for memorial jewelry cover a range of prices. This makes memorial jewelry an option for just about any budget.

Also, if your loved one has been cremated, keep in mind that ashes don’t expire. You can take the time to save up for a memorial jewelry option, or decide later down the line. After all, when a close loved one passes, there are so many decisions to make. Take your time, and be kind to yourself throughout the process.

ashes to jewelry pricing and comparison

How is jewelry made from cremated ashes?

It’s normal to have a lot of questions.

  • How is it possible?
  • What actually happens during some of these memorial jewelry options and processes?

With cremation urn jewelry, most folks understand that you just funnel the ashes into the jewelry (or you can have your funeral director do it).

But with memorial beads and memorial diamonds, there is a bit more involved.

Both memorial beads and memorial diamonds work similarly to memorial glass –– in which ashes are dispersed throughout the piece similar to how salt is blended throughout the ocean.

Memorial diamonds have an even more intricate process though, which accounts for their higher price and longer process. At Eterneva, the journey happens over 7-10 months in an 8 step process:

1. Purify the ashes.

The remaining 1-4% of carbon in your loved one’s ashes will be extracted during purification. Diamonds are made of pure carbon, so this starting point is important as it removes all other elements.

Purification takes approximately 6 weeks, and the Eterneva team wants you along for every step of the journey.

They send videos showing the transfer of your loved one’s ashes as well as the opening of the purification crucible for the first time, revealing the purified carbon graphite material.

All of this is to help you cope with a new reality, provide transparency and give you something to look forward to involving your loved one.

2. Combine personal carbon and generic carbon.

The purified carbon from your loved one’s ashes, once ground into a powder, will be combined with a diamond seed and additional purified carbon in a growth cell. The diamond seed works similarly to a grain of sand in how a pearl forms around it.

The addition of a diamond seed and additional purified carbon will help grow a larger diamond. Eterneva memorial diamonds contain 10% personal carbon, blended throughout the diamond, like how salt is blended throughout the ocean.

3. Grow your diamond.

The diamond growth cell will grow in isolation inside a High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) machine. Depending on the carat size you request, this takes between 2-6 weeks.

4. Assess diamond quality.

Next, your loved one’s raw diamond is harvested from the growth cell. At this point, the raw diamond is assessed for quality.

By scanning the diamond (almost like an x-ray!), Eterneva can identify any imperfections and determine if we can cut and polish the diamond to the specified carat size and cut that you ordered.

5. Cut the diamond.

This is what makes their diamond sparkle! The goal is to have their diamond shine and sparkle just like them. Diamonds are cut by the hands of a master cutter (with more than 40 years of experience!) and colored to the customer’s specification.

Depending on the cut and color, this process can take up to 12 weeks, and it’s so worth it.

6. Grading and engraving your diamond.

A memorialization diamond is 100% real diamond. Once your loved one’s diamond is cut, colored, and polished, it is sent off to the exports at IGI USA to check and certify it as what you ordered.

The International Gemological Institute is one of the best diamond grading organizations in the world. A report on your diamond’s cut, color, clarity, and carat size is sent home with your diamond.

You can also have your diamond engraved. After grading, their team can engrave a personal inscription with a microscopic laser, adding even more meaning to your diamond.

7. Setting their diamond in jewelry.

Eterneva offers a curated selection of jewelry settings. Or, one of our masterful jewelers can help you design a custom piece to best celebrate your loved one.

If you would prefer to have your diamond set locally, whether it’s a setting you’ve seen elsewhere, or a piece passed down in your family, that is also an option. It’s really up to you!

8. Homecoming.

This is our favorite part of the memorial diamond journey!

After 8-10 months, your loved one comes back home to you in the form of a diamond. Their sparkle, their radiance, their beauty is back in your life forever to keep.

It’s beautiful. It’s emotional. It’s highly anticipated. But, most of all, it’s a moment worthy of celebration!

A courier from Eterneva will hand-deliver your diamond to you. Many choose to have small parties or get-togethers of family and close friends for support. We even offer to film your reaction, so those who maybe live far away can celebrate such a special moment with you and be a part of such a celebration of life.

Turning Ashes to Jewelry is a Great Way to Remember Loved Ones

A lot of people don’t know what to do with their loved one’s ashes. And that is totally normal.

Whether it’s placing a small amount of their ashes in a pendant or actually turning their ashes into a piece of jewelry, memorial jewelry could be an option that doesn’t seem so foreign, so distant, so strange.

Memorial jewelry has deeply ingrained emotional value that can be beneficial in the grieving process because loss is hard. There’s no denying it.

  • It can be dark.
  • It can feel lonely.
It’s important to look for the bright spots. Those are what bring healing.

Remembering the wonderful life of your loved one through a beautiful, eye-catching piece of jewelry can be a wonderful way to remind yourself of their impact and the legacy they left behind.

It can also remind you to keep finding bright spots, to keep telling stories of their life, to share how wonderful they were, and maybe even pass their piece down through generations.

Turning ashes into jewelry may sound a bit odd at first. But, it can be a truly sweet and personal journey, one of celebrating and honoring the life of your loved one while finding healing within yourself.

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Our information pack contains an Eterneva brochure, process FAQ, and guide to diamond pricing. Our team is also here to help with anything & everything.

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Illustrations by Ethan Silva. Ethan is the founder of Bad Lucky Studio and a freelance graphic designer and illustrator who has been working with Eterneva for more than a year. His work helps bring levity, beauty and understanding to grief through design. Written by Kristen Cavanaugh. Kristen is a rising junior at the University of Notre Dame and a marketing intern at Eterneva this summer.

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