back to article Family converts dead dad into diamond

A Blackpool family has created a "fitting memorial" to deceased dad Mick Egan - by converting him into a synthetic diamond, the BBC reports. Egan died last year of a brain haemorrhage and his wife Susan decided on a novel way of preserving his memory. A US company extracted carbon from Egan's ashes, heated it to create graphite …


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  1. Tim

    Lovely idea

    With all the twisted, weird stuff you hear about people doing to their deceased relatives (upgrading them to first class included), it's good to read something so touching.

    What a lovely idea, and much more tasteful than a jar of ash on the sideboard.

  2. Nicholas Wright


    So kill off the enemy of your choice, turn them into a diamond to hide the evidence, then sell it and treat yourself to a holiday somewhere until the heat dies down.

    Hmmm... if perfomed on an elderly relation, would it avoid inheritance tax?

  3. Mike


    does that mean he is everything thats needed for a wedding, something old (him) something new (him as a diamond) something borrowed (the diamond) and something blue (the diamond), perfect, a all-in-one thing to wear for a wedding.

  4. Andrew Mountain

    Calendar Check...

    I just had to make sure I hadn't entered a time loop to 1st April...

    Anyone seen the Smirnoff Advert with the company called "Live On?"

    Same idea

    Kinda cool though...

  5. David

    New Meaning

    Brings new meaning to the term "family jewels", eh?

  6. D Crunkilton

    how do to get the carbon out of the ashes

    Any more details on how to get the carbon out of the ashes? I am assuming that the normal cremation process in in an oxidizing atmosphere which would convert any organic carbon to CO(2). I would not expect any elemental carbon to remain in the ashes. If the temperature were hot enough to melt gold crowns (1063 C) , I would not even expect carbon in the form of mineral carbonates to remain, Calcium and Sodium carbonates decompose at 894 C and 400 C respectively.

    Upon further investigation, I find that for wood ash:

    "Carbonates are presumably formed at low temperatures in a quiescent atmosphere when the combustion products, primarily carbon dioxide, surround the wood grains. "[1]

    "Ash formed at high temperatures in an oxidizing atmosphere consist primarily of metal oxides."[1]

    "It appears that when the ash is left standing in air, calcium oxide reacts with atmospheric water vapor to form calcium hydroxide, however calcium ..."[2]

    My interpretation is that creamation at low temperatures, say , 500 C would leave carbon in the form of carbonate in the ashes, which originated from the corpse of the deceased. However, creamation at over the melting point of gold, would decompose the carbonates into oxides, leaving no carbonate, nor any recoverable form of carbon that I know of. Furthermore, ref [2] above says formation of hydroxides from the oxides takes place, presumably during storage. It is well know that hydroxides absorb atmospheric CO(2) carbon dioxide, reforming carbonates. This significance of this taking place is that the ash no longer contains carbon (as carbonates) originating from the deceased, but originating from atmospheric carbon dioxide. The diamond may or may not contain carbon from the deceased depending upon the temperature of cremation. Perhaps a mortician can answer that.


    [2] ibid, pp11.

  7. Tricia Pulley


    Wow, that's an amazing theory! You are obviously a scientist, or some sort of genius.

    There is a show called "Family Plots" that highlights a real-life family who run a funeral home & mortuary. It's wonderful. I love it. One of the episodes was about one of their employees whose son had died; the parents had him turned into diamonds. Each family member got a ring or pair of earrings (yellow diamonds, for sunshine) and the dad got a pair of cufflinks. It was a beautiful thing to watch and I wouldn't mind at all if my family decided to do this to me after my death!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If she gets left out of the will, she could always have a phonograph needle made out of it and subject him to an eternity of Hip Hop or Liberace rhinestone music!

  9. Tricia Pulley

    More information...

    The Family Plots show has a website:

    The company that makes the cremains into diamonds is called LifeGem. Here's a link:

    Hope this provides help & insight. What a beautiful thing.


  10. Ben Lefroy

    Gem of a reassurance…

    It must be Friday afternoon.

    I actually had a look at the LifeGem website and was heartened to read that: "You do NOT need to send the deceased to our location in Chicago."

    Well that's a relief, I will put the packing tape away again.

    Merkins eh?!

  11. D Crunkilton

    thanks for links

    Thanks Tricia for the link to the producer of the diamonds. I found further information on their web site including patent pending numbers 20030017932, 20040031434. These patents contain information about the cabon recover process. (And some info on standard cremation processes, temperatures, etc.)

    The patents point out that the standard cremation process is designed to eliminate black carbon specks from the ash. The bereaved prefer grey ash, contain only traces of recoverable carbon.

    For a diamond containing all carbon from the deceased, Lifediamond issues special cremation instructions to the crematorium, involving lower temperature, or a lower oxygen content in the cremation retort, or cremation of some body tissue within an air excluding steel box. This results in a substantial amount of carbon for processing into a diamond.

    In the case of grey ashes that are already in an urn from a conventional cremation, the patent has a method for recovering traces of carbon. This trace recovery process is involved enough, that I am not even sure if Lifediamond advertises that they will make diamonds from conventional cremation ashes. In any event carbon has to be added (according to the patent), not only to bulk up the diamond, but also, to aid recovering the traces in the ash.

    If "diamonds from ashes" catches on, the bereaved need to accept black ashes instead of grey.

  12. Tricia Pulley

    You're welcome

    D Crunkilton, you're welcome and I've enjoyed reading your intelligent responses! I have a tremendous amount of hair - Locks for Love made 4 wigs from one cutting for cancer kids! The LifeGems website says that they can make diamonds from a lock of hair! I think that would be so cool! Or maybe if I put all my childrens' hair locks together and combined them to make a diamond to put in a necklace for me. WOW! But of course I would want the 1-carat size and I don't have $18,000 to blow right now. *dreaming on*

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