Diamonds from the Dead

They’re turning musical genius, Beethoven, into a diamond.
Really.  It’s true.

A company called LifeGem has created a procedure for making diamonds from the dearly departed – be it man, mutt or musical prodigy.  They can also create a diamond from a lock of your hair.  The process is quite interesting though I’m not sure what Beethoven would think.

In 2006, John Reznikoff of the University Archives, supplied the company with a lock of Ludwig Von Beethoven’s hair with which to begin the process.  Since diamonds are made entirely of carbon and the human body is 18% carbon, they purify one’s remains or hair into graphite.   Once graphite, which is all entirely carbon and differs from a diamond only in its structure, the company both heats and pressurizes the element to replicate the way diamonds are created naturally.  Diamonds are carbon atoms that are bonded together in three dimensions as opposed to two in graphite.  With intense heat and 1 million p.s.i, they can transform graphite’s molecular structure into that of a diamond.  The longer the process is allowed to occur, the larger the diamond will be.

Beethoven’s journey began in 2006, so there is no telling how large of a diamond he will produce once the process, which will end soon, is over.  Where will the truly immortal beloved go?  Will he be on display?  Will he be fashioned into a piece of jewelry?  I’m not sure.

Those who have immortalized their loved ones, their beloved pets or themselves are consummate advocates of the procedure.  If cost weren’t an issue, would you consider LifeGems as an alternative to the hereafter for yourself or another? Would you wear Beethoven, Fido or Uncle Al? Comment and let us know.

There are also other interesting options to burial or cremation.  One can be turned into a coral reef, donated to the Body Farm for forensics research, preserved and put on display for the sake of education and art like the Bodies Exhibit,  shot out of a cannon like writer Hunter S. Thompson or even used for government testing.  I asked our staff their thoughts on this typically taboo topic and was impressed.

Michael,’s owner, said, ” A coral reef, so people can say ‘He’s swimming with the fishes!”

John, in the photography department, opted for the traditional , coral reefs or being shot out of cannon a la Hunter S. Thompson.

Matt, our graphic designer, said, “Bring on the immortality.  I can keep my wife company as a ring. She loves jewelry.”

Keith, our sales and shipping manager, said cremation.

and I’m not sure. The diamond from hair sounds neat, but I’m not sure about forcing myself on others as a beautiful bauble after I’m gone.  I love the ocean, but being cast into a brightly colored mold and dropped off the side of a boat seems lonely.  What if I’m below the photic zone and no fish want to take cover by me?  As for the body farm, I’m all for science, but it’s out.  Have you seen those shows?  I’m a huge fan of Thompson, so maybe the cannon.  He always did have inspiring ideas.

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