If you ever read comic books when you were a kid, you probably still remember when Superman proposed to Lois Lane. The first thing ol' Supes did was get her a ring. But it wasn't any ordinary ring, oh no -- not for the boy scout in the blue tights. To prove his undying love for her, he actually created his own big-ass diamond by crushing the living bejeezus out of a hunk of coal. In comic book land this resulted in a perfectly cut, precisely formed diamond, because as kids we all knew that diamonds are formed deep in the earth as a result of coal being pressurized, but also as kids we didn't know they actually had to be cut.
Well, guess what? I'm pretty sure Superman is holed up in the UK, because it turns out there's this company called LifeGems that will crush the crap out of your loved one and turn them into a diamond that you can wear forever. Well, technically they crush the crap out of your loved one's ashes, since they need the carbon to make the diamond.
The geek in me thinks this is pretty cool, but the rest of me (granted, there's not a whole lot left after you extract the geek) thinks it is Pretty Fucked Up.
I mean, what if your grandma was like mine? 4 feet 11 inches of bony-assed, tough as nails attitude? Not a lot of ashes there to compress, you might think. Turns out this isn't a problem. They can extract up to 100 diamonds from a single "average" individual, so she still should be good for at least a carat or two. And this shit is not cheap, either. I'm betting most people probably go with one or two stones, tops, and then get the rest of the ashes back in a LifeGems-branded doggy bag of some sort.
I find the whole concept extremely disturbing. My wife happens to like antique and vintage jewelry. With these things in circulation, buying antique rings and necklaces would be an entirely different process.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes, I'd like to see that setting in the third row, and that larger stone in the loose diamonds bin. The canary colored one to the far left."
"You mean Edna? She's been with us for quite some time. She'd look lovely in that platinum setting."
I mean, that's just weird.
You can also have anything you want written inside the diamond via some sort of laser ID process. So years from now, someone could pick up a really nice diamond ring in a antique store and unbeknownst to them, it could have a laser inscription that says something like, "On your finger lies squeezed Mabel, and her two cats, Sidney and Pookums." I'm not kidding about the cats either, because the other weird thing is that they will do this to your pets.
Once you had it appraised however, then you'd know. And if the Sales Consultant at the Macy's cosmetics counter happened to comment, an awkward conversation would be hard to avoid.
Sales consultant: "Oh, I just LOVE your ring! It's beautiful."
You: "Thanks so much. It's made from the cremated remains of some woman named Mabel that I never knew. Oh, and her two cats."
Sales consultant: [insert hurling sounds here]
Still, If you absolutely must do this to someone you love, I guess they are your go-to guys. It's weird, it's spooky, it's pretty strange. But I suppose it beats carrying around a vial of their blood on a necklace, like so much Billy Bob Thornton.
Please note: If I should die before I wake, I do not want anyone to do this to me. I thought long and hard about it, and I'm pretty sure I would be totally weirded out in the afterlife. Plus, that jewelry cleaner stuff smells like cat piss.