Investigation Report: Cremation Diamonds

Something to think about when you are at your most vulnerable time of your life?

 

It was a very tragic and untimely death for such a beautiful young woman, struck down at the tender age of 17. The family wanted the funeral to be something special. She had not yet reached the age to be given an important family heirloom, a beautiful ruby ring that had belonged to her grandmother and was being held for her until her 21st birthday that she would never see. So to honor the request of the grandmother, the ruby ring was put on the young girl's hand as she lay in her coffin. The family was so touched that the young girl would wear her grandmother’s beautiful ruby ring for all eternity….until, that is, the coffin was lowered into the ground and the dirt started to cover it up. Then members of the family started asking….“What the hell were we thinking?”

 

Grief. It makes us do strange things. It also makes us vulnerable, and gullible. That is what these guys selling “cremation diamonds” appear to be counting on based on our research. Want to see why? Read on….


The cremation diamond industry has a reputation that is short on life span but long on questionable tactics and claims. And before consumers request that your loved one’s ashes be turned into diamonds, there are a few facts about the people selling these that you need to know before you take that bold step.


LifeGem®


In 2008 we performed an evaluation of LifeGem. These folks offered the image you see at left. This is the actual image taken from the LifeGem promotional material. We want to quote from this image: “Here is one row of twenty LifeGem diamond presses…”


But it was found that this image was actually taken in 2002 at a Russian diamond lab that disavowed any connection to LifeGem, and stated that this image has been in the public domain for years. When confronted with the facts LifeGem had to finally admit that in spite of their claims, these are not their diamond making presses and they do not actually own any diamond making presses. In fact, when you purchase a LifeGem cremation diamond the ashes of your loved one is supposedly sent to Russia.

Cremation Solutions™

In case anyone doubts the above photo situation with this now famous image, at left is the same image used again by CremationSolutions on their website. This image is of BARS diamond presses and is public domain according to the people who actually own these presses. But the image seems to be used by a variety of these cremation diamond folks to claim them for their own.


We will get back to these folks in a moment.

 

DNA2Diamonds

Although they claim to be a “global distributor of custom laboratory grown diamonds….”, the best we could verify is that this company is owned by a single individual, Tom Bishoff, who by his own admission gets his diamonds from a Russian lab in St. Petersburg, Russia. Perusing his website I found no plausible verification that could prove that the same ashes that supposedly go to Russia come back in a diamond. Claims? Yes. Proof? Not to my satisfaction.

Algordanza


Although they claim to be a world-wide organization, the US office of this company is shown in the Google map at left. The address is straight off the Contact Us page of their website at www.mymemorialdiamond.com. It is interesting to note that the phone number is a land line located in Spring Texas while the mailing address you see at left is located in Conroe, Texas. As Texas goes they are fairly close, but The Woodlands is between them and they are in different counties in the Houston area.

 

 


 

 

What’s even better is that the domain is owned and operated by a person out of Mexico City, Mexico. A WHOIS search copy is seen at right. Now, this does not prove any chicanery going on, but would you really trust your loved one’s ashes to these people and expect to get a real diamond that contains these ashes? You have to ask yourself that question when looking at the Google map.


Speaking of WHOIS searches….if you wonder how easy it is to get into the cremation diamond business, here is an example.



Notice that the cremationdiamonds domain is owned by the Orange County Commercial Realty, Inc. of Dana Point, California.


Yes sir, all you need is a domain name, a mailing address, and a Russian friend with connections to a Russian diamond growing lab and you too can be in the cremation diamond business.

 

 

But let’s talk about profits.

 


Big Profits Await You in Cremation Diamonds


At left you see the order box for Cremation Solutions. We use this here simply for the purpose of evaluating their claims.


Note that you can simply dial up the diamond size, shape and color that you wish from your loved one’s ashes. What is amazing is that only the cremation diamond people seem to have this technical ability. The major diamond synthesis labs say that it’s just not possible to do this to the degree that the cremation diamond people claim. But over and over these folks claim that you can simply say how big, what color, what shape, and how many. And from a cup of ashes you can have your loved one made into as many diamonds as you wish (according to several cremation diamond sellers). Let’s even compare the prices:


Below is a price comparison of three major cremation diamond producers. Based on cost alone it appears that the DNA2Diamonds folks are hands down cheaper than the others. All prices in US$...

 

.75ct Red

.75ct Blue

1.00ct Yellow

LifeGem

11,899.00

13,199.00

14,999.00

CremationSolutions

11,899.00

11,899.00

17,999.00

DNA2Diamonds

8,375.00

9,995.00

9,995.00

But then, above we are only comparing the cremation diamond folks. What if we compared the cremation diamond products to the Gemesis Cultured Diamonds? Here is what we found:

 

1.00ct Pink

1.00ct Blue

LifeGem

19,999.00

19,999.00

CremationSolutions

17,999.00

17,999.00

Gemesis

12,000.00

8,410.00


The cremation diamonds can be more than twice as expensive as the Gemesis Cultured Diamonds that we have here in the Jewelry Adjuster office (thank you again, Rosemary). The LifeGem prices are astronomical! But what are we actually getting for our money?

What you get for your money

Here is where the real situation becomes serious. Based on our research of 2008 regarding the processes and patents, there are only two ways that a diamond can be made from carbon from a body:

 

1. To make a complete diamond you would have to cut off grandma’s head and send it complete with brains and other parts to Russia to have enough carbon to make a diamond,

 

or,

 

2. You can use cremation ashes, but the very cremation process itself burns virtually all of the carbon. The result is a diamond which, by the admission of the patents, contains extremely minuscule amounts of carbon from a loved one that is measured in PPB (or parts per billion) with the rest being supplied by the Russian lab from sources unknown.

 

Best Case Scenario: Since funeral homes cannot cut off and send heads, the ashes have become the norm for this process. So at best, assuming that all of these folks are indeed making diamonds from ashes, you are paying up to 100%+ more for a diamond with only minute traces of your loved one’s carbon.

 

Worst Case Scenario: Your loved one’s ashes are never used in the process. You send in your ashes, they are put into a safe somewhere, someone in an office orders a synthetic diamond from a lab in Russia, and you are sent this as being made from your loved one. The diamond you actually receive has nothing to do with your loved one, but you have paid twice the normal market price for that diamond.

 

Now, consider the above with the price difference to a Gemesis Cultured Diamond, or even natural mined diamond. You have to ask yourself: Is it worth it to me to pay over 100% more cash for a diamond that at best….at best, contains minuscule amounts of carbon from my loved one, and at worst contains no carbon from my loved one at all?

 

If you really want to honor a loved one, my recommendation is to go to your local jeweler and buy a nice diamond piece in their honor. Wear it with pride.

 

Then, take the difference in purchase price and donate it in the name of your loved one to the Wounded Warriors Foundation or some other worthy charity and help the living with it. That is most likely what your loved one would have wanted anyway.

 

And yes, that story of the young lady and the ruby ring is true. The family allowed the emotions of the moment to override simple common sense.

 

When it comes to cremation diamonds, consider the best and worst case scenarios above.

 

What would your loved one really want you to do with that money?

 

Editorial Comment: I personally find this topic, the claimed product, and the people who tout it to be despicable. The whole concept is to play on people's emotions when they are most vulnerable. The product is, at best, not truly a diamond made from the loved one's ashes but contain a mere waft of human carbon that would need LA-ICP-MS to find. And for the hope of holding on to a part of a loved one the customer is charged an absurdly high price for a product that neither the funeral homes nor the cremation diamond sellers can actually prove is authentic.

 

Robert James, FGA, GG

President, Jewelry Adjuster

 

Notice to Insurance Companies....what will you do when you get a claim for a chipped or lost Cremation Diamond? How do you set a replacement value for Uncle Joe? If we can assist contact the Jewelry Adjuster office.