Woman Turns Husband's Body Into a Diamond

Woman Turns Husband's Body Into a Diamond
Tue 02-09-2014

When Glynis Barnett shows friends her new yellow diamond they never fail to be impressed.

"People always say how sparkly it is and compliment me on the fabulous colour," says Glynis, 63, a retired PA from Kent.

"They’re so surprised when I tell them the diamond used to be my husband John."

"I paid £5,000 to have a laboratory turn his ashes into the gem as a way to keep him close to me after he died."

It may sound like something from a sci-fi film, but these so-called "cremorial" tributes made from cremated ashes are becoming ever more common.

You can have your ashes pressed into vinyl records, or mixed with paint and painted into a favourite scene.

Ashes can also be shot into space, floated out to sea in a model ship or even encased in concrete and turned into part of a man-made reef off the Dorset coast, a scheme created by Dorset Council for families to encase their loved ones’ ashes in concrete ‘bereavement balls’ and added to the reef, providing a home for marine wildlife.

"Although we had been married for 42 years, we never discussed in detail what we wanted if either of us should die," she says.

"His ashes sat by the side of my bed for 18 months, while I struggled with my grief."

"I eventually decided to scatter them under the willow tree in our garden, but then I remembered a friend of mine who’d told me she planned to have her husband’s ashes turned into a diamond if anything happened to him."

"I liked the idea I could take a little piece of John with me wherever I went. After months of research, I contacted Phoenix Memorial Diamonds in Manchester and ordered a .75 carat canary yellow gem. All I needed to do was send off 100g of John’s ashes by recorded post, and pay a deposit of £2,500."

Turning ashes into a diamond is fairly straightforward, as both are comprised of the same substance: the element carbon (the human body is 18 per cent carbon, and the rest is mostly water).

Natural diamonds are formed underground when carbon is put exposed to huge amounts of heat and pressure. Laboratory-grown diamonds are made by creating the same forces artificially.

First, the ashes are heated to 1,300c until they become molten, then they are compressed at 10,000 tons per square inch for several weeks until they form a diamond crystal, which is chemically indistinguishable from a natural stone.