Back Story on the Cremation Diamond Report
During a recent discussion on the topic of cremation diamonds in a major Facebook group, a link was provided to our CremationDiamondReport.com website where I publish the results of my 17 years of researching this topic. A person in the thread questioned my motivation and intentions of publishing these investigative reports. I have had these before, usually by a “planted respondent” from the cremation diamond companies themselves. For everyone who perhaps has read one of these or simply are curious why I have spent so much time investigating cremation diamonds, here is the story behind the cremation diamond investigation and the website.
Started at USAA
In 2004, while working in the Property and Casualty Division of USAA Insurance, the topic of coverage of these new “cremation diamonds” was raised during a Claims Committee meeting. Specifically, how would USAA handle a claim for a damaged “Uncle Joe” or how to replace a lost “Dad” cremation diamond? As a Claims Replacement Gemologist, I was asked to investigate these new cremation diamonds and see how USAA might be able to handle the claims.
For the record, when I first heard about creating diamonds from ashes of loved ones I loved the idea. I thought it was a wonderful way to memorialize a loved one with a beautiful remembrance. However, for the purposes of insurance coverage issues I needed to be able to confirm that the whole thing was legitimate.
I spent a great deal of time researching the providers, which at the time the main player was LifeGem®. The websites were impressive. The stories were compelling. The science appeared solid as the technical advancements of creating diamonds in a lab had reached a point of viability for this product. All was well. Sort of.
In late 2004 I was caught up in a major layoff at USAA due to USAA cleaning house of a lot of long-time employees with high benefits packages. I was laid off just 3 months short of being vested for pension. But that is another story for another time. Once away from USAA I started writing insurance licensing Continuing Education courses for the Texas Department of Insurance, and the topic of cremation diamonds again surfaced.
Continuing my investigation from my own office, I spent months perusing the documents and claims of the various cremation diamond companies and started to see problems. These included:
Problem: Many of the cremation diamond company websites used the same open-source photograph of diamond presses to claim that the ones in the photographs were owned by each of them. The problem was the image was not even of diamond making presses, and the photograph was simply taken by these companies from a Russian website. This included LifeGem.
Problem: During a phone interview with one of the owners of LifeGem, he claimed they could make a diamond out of a very small amount of ashes, and could make whatever size, color, and shape one wanted. From my friendship with several of the lab diamond production people I knew this was not possible.
Problem: LifeGem further said they kept the residual ashes and could make as many cremation diamonds as needed in the future. This, of course, seemed impossible as well.
Problem: When I asked LifeGem if they actually owned any diamond making presses, they said they sent the ashes to Russia where the ashes were turned into diamonds and returned to LifeGem. Of course, I questioned the chain of possession issue and how did they know the Russians were actually using the ashes to make the diamonds. They could not offer any verifiable proof of any of that.
Problem: Reading the US Patents from LifeGem, it was clearly not possible to make a cremation diamond from human cremated ashes. There is simply no carbon left after cremation.
After this further research, the whole thing became clear: cremation diamonds were a hoax. A very well designed and well-orchestrated hoax, perpetrated on the public at their most vulnerable time.
I published my first report on this in 2005 with many follow ups since, all published on the CremationDiamondReport.com website.
Shortly after my first report, LifeGem attorneys sent me a Cease-and-Desist Letter (you know, one of those) claiming Tortious Interference with Business, Trade Libel, yada yada yada. I wrote back telling them to go for it, that I already had my Discovery Motions ready and had great anticipation exposing their client for what they were doing.
I never heard back from the LifeGem attorney.
From there, I researched most of the largest cremation diamond companies, and the end result is always the same. When confronted to prove their claims, they hide behind a wall of “proprietary information” and refuse to answer questions.
It has been 17 years and it still goes on. New names have been added like Algordanza, Eterneva, DNA2Diamonds, Lonite and many others. A multi-multi-million dollar industry built on blatant misrepresentation and chicanery.
As far as the consumers out there, it saddens me to know they are being preyed upon by the most heinous vultures, at the most vulnerable time in their lives.
That is why I started and continue the investigation and reporting of cremation diamonds.
Robert James FGA, GG
Property and Casualty Adjuster, Texas Department of Insurance License #1300433
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