UPDATE: My mom is now home with me in diamond form. Read my update post on the memorial diamond homecoming here.
My mom passed away almost two months ago and it still doesn’t feel real. I’ve learned that grief is excruciatingly lonely and is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Grief is taboo and something we are supposed to deal with in private. After losing someone, society expects us to take a few days or a week off from work and then hurry up and get back to normal. The worst part is that we’ll never be normal again, and when everyone else has moved on, we are still stuck in our grief.
The truth is, if we’re fortunate enough to live a long life, loved ones will pass away. It’s a normal part of the human experience but one that gets left out of conversations and pushed aside because it is uncomfortable.
People don’t know what to say or do, so they stop getting in touch, which only adds to the loneliness. We don’t know what to say or do either, but I know it feels right to share this part of my grief journey with you.
I want to put my grief out in the open and tell you about something I’m doing to heal. I’ll be turning my mom’s ashes into a diamond. If what I’m sharing here can help lessen your pain from a loss even a tiny bit, then I’ve done my job.
I want to tell you about this process of making a diamond from ashes with Eterneva that is bringing me joy right now. Maybe it’ll bring you peace and comfort if you decide to go the same route now or in the future.
Did you know you could make a diamond from ashes of a loved one?
Let me rewind back to the night before my mom passed away. In an effort to distract myself, I started mindlessly googling cremation jewelry online. While I liked the idea of making a piece of jewelry from my mom’s ashes, I didn’t care for the styles that popped up in search results.
That all changed when I found Eterneva and cremation diamonds. I’m turning a portion of my mom’s ashes into a beautiful blue diamond. It will not only provide a physical reminder to carry with me for the rest of my life in her honor but will help me on my grief healing journey.
Let me back up and first tell you about my mom before I get into the turning ashes into a diamond part.
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About my mom, Chris
My mom’s name was Chris and she passed away October 4, 2021, after a long battle with cancer. My parents retired early to Florida and I wrongly assumed they’d live a long life together. For the past couple of years, I’ve called my parents every afternoon when I’d walk Dagny. We’d talk about nothing and everything for a good 45 minutes. We were close. Painfully so.
I’m grateful for the mom that I had. Beyond being a fantastic mom, she was a wonderful human being. I don’t say that lightly. Her personality was easygoing and fun. She always had energy for my brother and me growing up despite working full-time and being committed to her career. She always knew right from wrong and instilled a strong sense of integrity and character in us as we grew up.
One time when my brother was about 3 years old and I was 7, we were walking through a Toys’R’Us parking lot when my brother found a roll of cash under a car. He showed my mom and without missing a beat, she told us we needed to bring it into the store’s lost and found desk because it’s not ours and we should try to return the money to the owner. She said if we had lost something, we’d want someone to try to get it back to us and do the right thing.
So that’s what we did. We left the $200 at the lost and found desk and to our surprise, they called us two weeks later saying no one claimed the money and that it was ours. That next weekend, my mom brought us back to Toys’R’Us where we picked up the money but also picked up a few life lessons at a young age about doing the right thing.
It’s funny what you remember. Looking back, it’s a wonder that played out the way it did.
My mom always saw the best in people, almost to a fault, and was quick to forgive and never held a grudge. I honestly don’t remember a time when she ever spoke badly about someone or even got angry. That was 100% authentically her.
She was the epitome of goodness. My mom Chris was a patient and understanding mom and grandma who was always up for anything. Tom says she was the most caring, moderate, and diplomatic person he has ever met.
Another thing to know about my mom is that she was not a reactive person and let things roll off her back. She wasn’t too concerned with what others were doing or what they thought. Those are lessons I’m still learning and I will do my best to be more like my mom the rest of my life.
I know she was proud of me, and although we won’t have any new memories together in this world, I have to believe that we will still be connected. The day she died, I promised her I would live out the rest of my life trying to be more like her.
Above all, she was strong. In her final months, she withered away to nothing physically, but her inner strength was at an all-time high and was matched by her positivity. She never believed the end was near and was even determined to do physical therapy in the days just before she passed on, truly believing she’d beat this.
It wasn’t denial or naivety; it was an unwavering belief in her strength and faith. My mom wanted to live and did everything in her power to keep moving forward until her body could no longer match the demands of her inner strength. I’ve never met a stronger person in my life and know I never will.
Why am I honoring my mom by turning her ashes into a memorial diamond?
Simply put, because it’s helping me heal. To me, ashes seem a bit doom and gloom. They are generally kept in an urn of some sort on a mantel or locked away in a closet. They aren’t particularly beautiful and they represent sadness for me.
While my mom wanted to be cremated and have her ashes scattered at sea (which we will do as a family next year), I know she wouldn’t want us to associate even a speck of doom and gloom with her memory.
The ashes will be transformed into something gorgeous, like my mom was, so that I can physically have her with me every day and celebrate her for the rest of my life. A diamond feels more meaningful and uplifting to me than ashes do. Everything about this turning ashes into a diamond process feels right.
How will a cremation diamond help me?
I think part of what is keeping me stuck right now is accepting the permanence of the situation. My mom is no longer on this earth. We won’t have any new memories together.
As time goes on, I’m scared to death that my memories of my mom will fade and I’ll grow distant from her. I can get through the day. I can make it through the week. But when I’m still and the gravity of the situation hits me, I can’t bear the thought of living out the rest of my life without her.
By having this special Eterneva diamond around my neck, it’ll be a way to physically keep my mom with me. Whacking me in the chin when I’m taking a Peloton climb ride. Hiding under my sweater silently supporting me every time I hit record for a YouTube video. Comforting me in moments of weakness. Cheering me on.
She will always be with me in the form of a necklace that will help her memory live on.
Something else I’m looking forward to is taking my mom somewhere special. One of the last places she saw in France was the Dinard coast in the Brittany region via Facetime about a month before she passed away.
She loved it and we talked about going there as a family once she got better. I want to take my mom back there, in diamond form, and take her everywhere.
I need my mom to experience all the joyful, fun moments I will experience. She will be a part of my daily life as I move forward in this world as a woman who lost her mom but didn’t lose herself.
Making a cremation diamond from my mom’s ashes will not only be a healing journey the next 10-12 months as the diamond comes to life, but a way for me to continually heal and grow as I honor my mom’s memory and the woman she was every single day.
Why an Eterneva diamond?
Eterneva is not the only company that makes lab-grown diamonds from ashes. But they’re the only company that does it with a focus on the person in the most beautiful way… the way my mom deserves. And wow, would she love this idea of turning ashes into a diamond!
When I saw how the Eterneva journey stood apart from the rest, I knew in that moment that growing a diamond from my mom’s ashes was something I wanted to do. Knowing I could make a beautiful, real diamond from the carbon in my mom’s ashes lifted a little bit of my pain in that moment and I knew I’d be OK.
Another important point is that It’s not a business transaction for Eterneva where I fork over money and they go and make a diamond and ship it to me 10 months later. It’s a process we embark on together that helps keep my mom’s memory alive along the way and beyond.
My mom will be introduced to the team and a picture of her will be on the wall as the diamond grows. I’ll even get photo and video updates along the way!
Most importantly, the focus isn’t on grief and loss; it’s all about celebrating a life. Through the process, I’m sharing my mom’s memory with Eterneva and all of you. Already, I’m sharing stories about her as I tell people about this cool memorial diamond process — that I didn’t even know existed! — and it’s bringing me a bit more peace every time.
As I mentioned, my mom was the strongest person I’ve ever known and honoring her with a diamond — the strongest material on earth — is exactly what I need to do as I walk this grief path.
Fun fact: Pretty much every picture I have of my mom is of her wearing some type of jewelry. She loved fun earrings and necklaces. I’m more of a minimalist when it comes to jewelry — I don’t even wear my wedding ring — and I knew a classy, timeless memorial diamond was perfect.
I’ll have it made into a solitaire pendant, true to my style and honoring my mom’s love of jewelry. This blue cremation diamond will be an embodiment of her strength.
How does the Eterneva diamond growing process work?
OK, let me explain the unique diamond growing process and tell you more about Eterneva, a company based out of Austin, Texas.
Welcome kit. The memorial diamond process kicks off via a welcome kit. I ordered one the day my mom passed away and the $100 cost is deducted from the final cost of the diamond you choose.
In it, you’ll receive a personalized video, more information about the ashes to diamond process, a container which you’ll use to send Eterneva your loved one’s ashes or hair, sample cubic zirconias that will give you a feel for a variety of diamond sizes, and return postage.
Your representative from Eterneva will be with you every step of the way. You only need a half cup of ashes or hair, so you can keep your loved one in an urn or scatter the majority of the ashes. Something I learned is that you can make a diamond from a loved one’s ashes at any time, even if they’ve been sitting on your mantel for 20 years. It’s never too late.
Carbon purification. Next up is the carbon purification process which will take about two months. I’ll be sharing more about that on social media as it happens in real time. Basically, they isolate the carbon from the ashes or hair. This process is filmed, like all the stages, and will be shared with me so I can be part of the journey and see the quality and care that goes into the process.
The growth stage. Through a custom, scientific process involving heat and high pressure, your loved one’s Eterneva memorial diamond will grow. This takes about 2-3 months.
The diamond is cut, graded, engraved, colored, and set. Almost there! This 3-6 month process is when the diamond comes alive. It’s also at this stage that the raw diamond is cut into the shape of your choosing and all that other fun stuff including custom engraving. My mom’s diamond will be blue, a color which looked beautiful on her and represents her love of water.
Colorless, blue and yellow are the natural colors, so if you opt for another color, it will undergo the coloring process. In addition, Eterneva can help you turn your diamond into a piece of jewelry at this stage as well, or you can work with your own jeweler to make your creation come to life.
The homecoming. This is the big day! Your memorial diamond is coming home.
Something I love about Eterneva is that the diamond process is a journey you take together. Turning ashes into a diamond is a celebration of life and you’re part of the process along the way. The focus is your loved one.
From the minute you land on the Eterneva website, you can see they care and I knew I was in the right place. Their personalized process sets them apart. The care and attention to detail is so important when we’re working through grief and embarking on a journey like this together.
How much do Eterneva diamonds cost?
Let’s talk about the ashes to diamonds cost. It’s definitely an investment, especially if you go with a larger diamond. Eterneva cremation diamonds come in a variety of colors and sizes and they start at US$2,999.
Are cremation diamonds real diamonds?
Yes! The Eterneva FAQ explains, “Eterneva diamonds are real diamonds. Diamonds are composed of carbon, and there is carbon in cremated remains. Like mined diamonds, we also grade and certify Eterneva diamonds to prove authenticity.”
What’s next in the diamond growing process?
My mom’s ashes are on their way to Eterneva and the next step will be to extract the carbon from the ashes. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook along the way for updates on the unique and meaningful process of turning ashes into a diamond.
Mom, I love you. I always will. I hope I’ve made you proud and I wish we had more time together. Most of all, I hope you’re OK. See you soon in diamond form… I can’t wait!
You can find out more about Eterneva here.
P.S. My reader Kristin recommended the book It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine and it’s WONDERFUL. So validating and relatable if you’re grieving or know someone who is (and you want to gift it or just try to understand what they’re going through). You won’t regret buying it.
Disclosure: Thank you to Eterneva for partnering with me for this post.