Ashes to ashes, dust to diamond?
As cremations rise nationwide, so do creative interment options. Artists, glassmakers and businesses are offering to create jewelry, planters, monuments, even gems out of ashes as a tribute to lost loved ones.
Some companies and mortuaries offer options for sprinkling of ashes, in a memorial garden, at the base of a tree. But some bereaved go on their own: Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor last month spread her mother's ashes into Beijing's competitive sand.
Some companies offer boat and supervisory services for sea burial. Others, to mix ashes with concrete to create a planter or monument.
Artists mix ashes with vibrant colors to create glass keepsakes, sealed lockets or other colorful jewelry.
Chicago-based LifeGem creates diamonds using a high-temperature, high-pressure technique to compress the carbon in cremated remains, which people then wear in rings or necklaces.
But there's apparently some risk to wearing a loved one's remains. A Virginia home burglary this week turned into a sort of grave-robbing when someone pillaged the resident's jewelry, which contained her mother's remains, according to a report from the local news station WSET-TV. It's a first for the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Department, and the thief could face felony charges for tampering with remains.