Modern families in Asia have over the years embraced post-burial alternatives in the funeral industry that offer both a dignified afterlife and a way for the bereaved to commemorate their loved ones. This has in turn shifted the Asian funeral industry towards new and improved alternatives like ashes into diamonds, an option that has become popular in recent years and is still on the rise in many countries.

A cremation diamond ring setting

Ashes into Diamonds:  A shift towards modernization of the Asia Pacific and Australian Funeral Industry

Approximately 159,000 and 900,000 people die every year in Australia and Japan respectively; these deaths are likely to peak annually at about 1.7 million by 2040. The Funeral industry is therefore valued at approximately $62.6Billion in Asia and at $1Billion in Australia with China accounting for almost a half of the revenue from the Asian industry, Japan accounting for two trillion-yen ($17.7 billion) and Singapore accounting for an excess of $100Million according to market research.

Whereas most of the Asian countries like China and Japan have a well-developed and modern funeral industry today, some countries like Singapore still have a backward and underdeveloped industry as matters of death are still considered very sensitive and rendered as a taboo or sheer bad luck.

Ashes into diamonds refer to synthetic diamonds born in the laboratory out of the carbon extracted from the cremated ashes or hair of your departed loved one.

The process of Ashes into Diamonds creation is as follows; 

Step 1: Swiss cremation diamond vendors like LONITÉ with an existing Asia Pacific branch in Sydney, Australia use highly specialized state-of-the-art equipment to determine whether the hair or cremated ashes contain enough carbon to be turned into a diamond; about 200 g of ashes or 10 g of hair are required. The carbon content of ashes differs in each case.

Step 2: The cremated ashes are then put in a specialized crucible and heated to make every other element except carbon oxidize. The temperature is then raised further so that carbon can become graphite. 

Step 3: A diamond seed crystal and graphite with a metal catalyst are put into the core which goes into a specialized diamond press capable of creating extreme tension. During the last stretch when the press is working, the temperature in the room stays about 2500F so that the ashes turned diamonds become solid.

Step 4: The process of diamond creation takes 6 to 9 months depending on the characteristics of the ashes into diamonds ordered such as colour, cut and size. 

Purely Colorless diamonds have the highest carbon purity and longest creation time as they require removing both nitrogen and boron from the carbon prior to creation. Similarly, smaller ashes into diamonds of 0.25ct require extra technical effort that allows the greatest precision, quality and stability; scales should be accurate to 0.001(g)

The creation of ashes into diamonds in the lab emulates the formation of natural diamonds in the limited zones of the earth’s mantle beneath the stable interiors of continental plates under conditions of very high temperature and pressure. Deep-source volcanic eruptions carry these diamonds from the stability zones where they were previously stored over a million years to the earth’s surface.

Due to increase in demand, ashes into diamonds have over the years been incorporated into the Australian funeral industry to supplement some of the existing traditional burial practices like cemetery burial and cremation. 

According to research, slightly over 70% of all deaths in Australia were cremation in 2017; cremation fees typically range from $572 to $1,200 while prices of a traditional burial range from $4,000 to $52,000 in Sydney and continue to skyrocket by over 50% every year. Such exorbitant prices of traditional burial alternatives have forced people to look for more affordable post-burial options to pay tribute to their lost loved ones.

Renowned Ashes into Diamond Vendors around the World 

The creation of ashes into diamonds requires a combination of different skills to produce the gem from start to finish such as gemology, science and technology, art and design. Some of the leaders in the global ashes into diamonds industry include: 

ALGORDANZA: ALGORDANZA is a historic Swiss word meaning “remembrance”. The company is of Swiss origin with laboratories in Domat/Ems in the region Graubünden, Switzerland. Their ashes into diamonds collection comes in various cuts such as Asscher > Brilliant  > Emerald > Princess >  Radiant  > Heart and rough, diamond sizes of between 0.3ct and 10.ct and their prices start at CHF 3500 ($3,495.19) for a 0.3ct rough diamond. Algordanza only offers blue cremation diamonds. 

LONITÉ: ‘Lonité’ originates from ‘Longévité’, a Swiss French word, which translates to “to last in time”.  The company is of Swiss origin with its headquarters located 25 minutes from downtown Zürich, Switzerland and various existing branches in major cities like Berlin in Germany, London in the UK, Buffalo in the State of New York, USA and Sydney in Australia among others. Their ashes into diamonds collection comes in sizes of 0.25ct to 1.0ct, 6 cuts; Brilliant > Princess > Radiant > Asscher > Emerald > Heart and 5 different colors; naturally amber, red, blue, greenish yellow and purely colorless. The Price range is from $ 1600 to $ 17200 depending on the characteristics of the gem. It is also possible to customize your ashes into diamond with custom made cremation jewellery from LONITÉ.

Heart in Diamonds: The Company is UK-based with a laboratory located in Europe. Their ashes into diamonds collection comes in colours of white, blue, orange yellow, deep red and yellow green, cuts available include; brilliant, radiant and princess and  the diamond sizes range from 0.015ct to 2ct. The price range is $750 to $16,945 and they offer a provision for Family Plans, a great way to create ashes into diamonds for multiple family members at a reasonable cost.

LIFEGEM: The Company is based in Chicago, USA. Ashes into diamonds are available in colorless, blue, red, yellow, and green in sizes ranging from 0.15ct to 2.0ct. The cuts include round, princess or radiant. Their prices range from $2,000 to $24,000 and they also have a provision for Family Plans, to create cremation diamonds for multiple family members at a reasonable cost.

Most ashes into diamonds vendors offer cremation jewellery setting to frame your diamond such as rings, pendants and earrings. The name or initials of the deceased can also be engraved in the cremation jewellery setting.

Ashes into Diamonds: A Post Burial Trend acknowledged Across Major Funeral Markets such as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. 

A crowded cemetery in Kyoto, Japan

There are approximately 900,000 deaths a year in Japan and the funeral industry has the highest global cremation rates, valued at 99.97% as of 2014.

The ashes into diamonds boom in Japan is due to the increase in demand for new, improved and relatively affordable post burial alternatives that supplement the existing traditional burial practices and provide a new means to pay tribute to the deceased.  Modern families in Japan choose cremation diamonds to honor their deceased because this option immortalizes their deceased into a beautiful tribute and also offers permanent solutions to some of the issues affecting the funeral industry  such  as;

Burial plots are both scarce and expensive. The average cost of a funeral in Japan is around $23,000 and these prices continue to skyrocket by over 50% every year; a case in point the Aoyama cemetery in Tokyo which charges $100,000 for  a traditional burial compared to the price of Ashes into Diamonds which range from $1,600 to a little over $17,200.

Storing cremation urns in space-saving warehouses has also become expensive over the years. These warehouses also known as columbaria contain special mourning areas where the bereaved can swipe a card with the deceased’s location; a robotic arm retrieves the urn from the vault and delivers it to the mourning area, complete with sombre music, flowers and video screens showing photos of the deceased. Ruriden Columbarium which houses over 2045 LED lit Buddha statues costs $7,379 including maintenance.

The ashes into diamonds trend is also spreading across major markets in the region, such as in South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong owing to a number of factors;

The meaning of turning a departed loved one into a stunning gem. A diamond is a precious stone consisting of a clear and colourless crystalline form of pure carbon, the hardest naturally occurring substance; ashes into diamonds eternalizes your loved one into this beautiful tribute.

The aspect of mobility in case there is need for relocation. The small sizes of the ashes into diamonds and their cremation jewellery settings enable them to be carried around at any time to anywhere possible without worrying about losing the gem compared to burial plots which are immobile and usually tie the bereaved down to a specific area.

Ashes into diamonds are safer for the environment. A cemetery burial releases 10% more carbon than a cremation ceremony in the long run; increasing the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air causes suffocation of living organisms. Cemetery burials also pollute underground water with because of the coffin and the tomb maintenance. 

Ashes into diamonds can also be passed down from generation to generation during special life events within the family such as weddings or engagements as a means to ensure continuity of the deceased’s legacy.

The shift of the Asia Pacific and Australian funeral industry towards modernization of the existing burial practices along with new and improved post burial alternatives such as ashes into diamonds has provided the locals with a wide range of options from which to give their deceased a befitting burial that is both pocket friendly and genuinely celebrates the life they lived.