In a lot of ways, death has become very transactional. When someone dies, we buy an urn or coffin, schedule a funeral, and then it’s over. But grief lasts far beyond a one-time memorial service.
That’s why a company called Eterneva has set out to change the way we grieve loss — by turning ashes to diamonds, literally. With its unique cremation diamonds, Eterneva is creating a new way to carry the memory of our loved ones with us long after their death.
How Eterneva is Making Diamonds Out of Ashes
Funeral planning can get expensive, with average costs ranging between $7,000 and $12,000. This estimate includes embalming, the burial, and a casket. The casket alone costs around $2,000 on average and more expensive options can be as much as $10,000.
When compared to the costs of a traditional burial, a diamond made from human ashes is an affordable option. Eterneva’s cremation diamonds start at $1,200 but can be more, depending on variables such as the type of diamond and number of carats one chooses.
Transforming their customers’ loved ones from ashes to diamonds consists of an intricate seven stage process. First, Eterneva sends a welcome kit that assists people in handling and preparing the ashes. Once the company has received the ashes, its team gets to work isolating carbon from other elements found in the ashes.
Once the carbon is fully extracted, the resulting carbon graphite powder is placed into a machine that can replicate growing conditions found under the earth. Through intense heat and pressure, over time the carbon crystalizes and begins to turn into a raw diamond. This stage takes around three months and is overseen by top scientists in both Texas and Germany.
To give customers extra peace of mind, the company uses QR codes to keep track of the ashes at every stage of the process, and works on each individual diamond in isolation to avoid cross-contamination.
After the raw diamond is fully formed, it undergoes an in-depth quality assessment and is cut by a specialist. Then it’s time for the finishing touches including diamond coloration, grading, engraving, and jewelry setting.
Eterneva offers many customizable features so that their diamonds authentically represent the deceased. In addition to varying carats, customers can choose between a variety of colors and setting options. They can also work with one of Eterneva’s jewelers to design a custom piece, or choose to have their diamond set by a local jeweler instead.
Diamonds are the New Urn
Eterneva was founded in 2015 in Austin, Texas by Adelle Archer and Garrett Ozar. After Archer lost a dear friend, she began searching for a meaningful way to preserve her ashes. Extensive research led Archer to encounter a scientist who believed he could use the ashes to create a diamond.
Archer instantly felt that this was the perfect way to honor her friend’s memory. And with an MBA in entrepreneurship, she went on to find a way for others to have the same experience.
Her radical death care business now helps people process their grief in a new and profound way.
The experience that Eterneva offers extends further than just receiving the diamond in the mail. The process of growing the diamond itself and the updates the company sends customers along the way are equally meaningful.
“Going into this, we thought this was all about the diamond,” Archer explains. “But what we ended up finding was every time we shared an update with the family, we would just get these unbelievable responses.”
The team at Eterneva documents the entire diamond creation process through video messages which are sent to customers, making for a stunning representation of how beauty can grow from ashes. And when the diamond is finished, its homecoming is made special through a personal, hand delivery.
For people grieving the death of a loved one, a memorial diamond can serve as a constant reminder of the beauty of a life once lived.
“Eterneva’s mission is really to challenge culture and to shift people’s perceptions of grief and loss,” Archer says. “There’s this window of time that they’re forming meaning around what just happened and if you can meet them in that window, and you can help shape the messages that they tell themselves, you can go and change the world.”