Growing cremation diamonds from ashes is a rising worldwide trend that’s taking a more commanding presence in the global market.
Lab-grown diamonds continue to absorb more of the diamond market, increasing from one percent of the total $14 billion diamond market in 2016 up to between two and three percent of today’s overall diamond market. Diamonds grown from the cremated ashes of a loved one represent a good chunk of the overall sales of cultivated diamonds.
Keep reading as we take a deeper dive into synthetic diamonds and why cultured diamonds have risen in demand.
What is a synthetic diamond?
Synthetic diamonds are made of the same material as natural diamonds – pure carbon, crystallized in an isotropic 3D form. Other names used for synthetic diamond include cultured diamond, laboratory-grown diamond, and lab-created diamond.
A synthetic diamond is the same in terms of chemical, physical, and optical properties as mined diamonds. All diamonds start out as a sample of pure carbon. Scientists can control the settings precisely, which allows the lab diamonds to come out with fewer imperfections than diamonds mined from deep within the Earth’s mantle.
When companies such as Heart in Diamond use cremated ashes or hair for the diamond – the substance is exposed to extreme heat to extract the pure carbon.
How are diamonds grown from cremated ashes?
In nature, a sample of pure carbon deep within the Earth’s mantle is exposed to extreme heat and pressure over an extremely long period of time, probably billions of years. In order to turn cremated ashes into diamonds and profit from doing it, there’s no time for that.
A diamond can be grown from a sample of cremated ashes in as little as six to eight weeks. Once the pure carbon is extracted from the sample, it either goes through one of two processes to grow into a diamond:
- High-pressure high-temperature (HPHT): in the HPHT method, pure carbon is added to a diamond-growing foundation and placed inside of an HPHT machine where it is exposed to extreme heat in excess of 2000 degrees Celsius and pressures in excess of 60,000 atmospheres of pressure. Once the gemstone reaches its desired size, it is then cut and polished just as any diamonds plucked from the earth would be.
- Chemical vapor deposition (CVD): in the CVD method of diamond manufacturing, a small diamond seed or slither of pure carbon is placed inside of a gas chamber that is part of a CVD machine. Inside, it is heated to approximately 800 degrees Celsius. Next, the chamber is filled with a gas that is rich in carbon, such as methane, along with other gases which force the carbon atoms to deposit on the diamond seed. Once the diamond reaches its desired size, it is then cut and polished accordingly.
Synthetic diamond demand is on the rise
Cost-effective. Grown under ethical standards. Young people are falling out of love with mined diamonds and demanding cultured gemstones. Cultivated diamond popularity is on the rise for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the fact that synthetic diamonds cost on average 30 to 40 percent less than mined diamonds of the same characteristics.
The presence of laboratory diamonds in the market has been so commanding that even De Beers took notice. According to a 2019 article in Forbes, the worldwide diamond manufacturer now sells lab-grown diamonds in Bloomingdales and Reeds Jewelers. Lightbox is the line of lab-grown diamonds from De Beers and previously these gems were only available via website or pop-up promotions.
When De Beers made the decision to take a stake in the cultured diamond industry, some considered it a risky move. The company argued that the low-priced Lightbox diamonds target the fashion accessories sector and that it did not compete with its high-priced mined gems market, in particular its engagement-ring sector. Because the company stresses the fact that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish a quality lab-grown diamond from a mined diamond, it’s no wonder the interest in the synthetic diamond industry continues to climb.
Cremation diamonds offer a unique level of personalization
Cremation diamonds offer consumers an additional benefit to lab-grown diamonds – the ability to turn cremated ashes or hair into diamonds. Many young couples who want unique engagement rings decide to combine samples of their own hair and have that grown into unique diamonds that contain the actual carbon from their bodies.