You Don’t Need Ashes to Make a Diamond: Alternative Carbon Sources

Memorial diamonds are not new. For years, reputable cremation diamond companies like Eterneva have offered people the chance to create unique pieces of jewelry that encompass the spirit, beauty, and brilliance of the loved ones they have lost. These amazing pieces serve to commemorate the lives of those who are so important to us, giving us the chance to physically carry on their legacy after death.

Traditionally, this process involves transforming the ashes of a deceased individual into a lab-grown diamond. Using advanced technology, carbon is carefully extracted from the cremated ashes and placed into a specialized growth chamber under intense heat and pressure. Atom by atom, the carbon crystallizes to form a real diamond, infusing a part of the loved one into the molecular makeup of the stone forever. 

These diamonds not only provide a unique and everlasting tribute but also carry profound emotional significance for those seeking a tangible connection to their departed family members or friends. But did you know that you don’t need cremated ashes to create a personalized lab-grown diamond? It’s the carbon extracted from the ashes that is needed to grow a diamond, and carbon exists in a variety of different materials. That means even if you don’t have cremated ashes or hair, you can still create a stunning diamond using carbon from another meaningful source. 

The Carbon Extraction Process

The process of extracting carbon from cremated ashes is a meticulous and sophisticated procedure that involves several scientific steps:

  • Collection. Only a small amount of ashes is needed to produce the carbon needed to grow a diamond.
  • Extraction. The ash is processed in a laboratory to extract this carbon. This process involves heating it to high temperatures and reducing it to its basic elements, which include carbon.
  • Purification. The extracted carbon is then purified to remove any impurities that may interfere with the diamond growth process.
  • Growth. The purified carbon is then placed in a machine that simulates the conditions under which diamonds naturally form in the crust of the earth. This involves subjecting the carbon to high-temperature, high-pressure (HTHP) conditions over a period of time until the carbon atoms arrange themselves into a crystalline diamond structure.
  • Finishing. Once the diamond has been grown, it can be cut into the desired shape and polished. The color, shape, cut, and setting of the diamond can be completely customized.

Carbon, the essential element for growing diamonds, is not exclusive to ashes alone. Advancements in technology have broadened the scope, allowing for the extraction of carbon from a diverse range of materials. While cremated remains provide an obvious source of carbon, almost any item that contains traces of carbon can potentially serve the same purpose. As long as there are enough carbon atoms present, the raw material can be processed to filter out and collect the essential carbon elements.

From scraps of paper holding precious memories to clothes carrying treasured significance to flowers symbolizing ceremonious moments, alternative carbon carriers let us reimagine the possibilities of lab-grown diamonds to celebrate relationships, milestones, anniversaries, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the items you can use to create your own diamond.


Throughout history, a lock of hair has been given as a memento of love and devotion. In Victorian times, it was common for bereaved family members to keep locks of hair from deceased loved ones. Typically kept in lockets, the hair was a tangible keepsake of a life and of a body.

Today, hair is still revered as a precious token—providing validation that the person you loved was real and hope that perhaps you will meet them again. It’s also rich in carbon; in fact, B&B Labs, a leading analytical chemistry lab in College Station, found that hair contains upwards of 30% carbon. We only need a healthy handful of hair to extract enough personal carbon to grow a Diamond.


For many of us, written documents like old love letters, personal journals, childhood drawings, or even scribbled recipes in a family cookbook hold precious memories. Though fragile and ephemeral, these paper documents contain the carbon necessary to transform into eternal diamonds that will sparkle forever as a way to preserve and connect with the past.

These documents often encapsulate the essence of a loved one's life, thoughts, and emotions. By transforming these intimate writings into diamonds, individuals have the opportunity to immortalize their personal narratives. From pressed cotton and linen fibers to wood pulp or papyrus, enough carbon can be extracted from paper to create a stunning piece of heirloom jewelry.

So, whether you are a family that wants to preserve a grandparent's love letters, a daughter who wants to transform the pages from a mother’s precious cookbook, or a parent who wants to immortalize a child’s first drawing, you can use these items to create something eternal that you can carry with you forever.


Clothing items often carry significant emotional attachments and vivid memories. Plush toys may carry the imprint of childhood. Sports jerseys may evoke memories of team camaraderie and hard-fought victories. From a beloved old stuffed animal to a threadbare blanket to a unique dress worn for a special occasion, the fabrics that have touched our lives also contain the carbon needed to turn them into diamonds.

Transforming these cotton, wool, or linen textiles into dazzling diamonds provides a way to forever commemorate their memory and meaning. Like cremated remains, these fabrics leave behind carbon remnants that can be transformed into diamonds, allowing us to carry a tangible piece of our past and the memories woven into the very essence of these items.


Flowers and plants connect us with the natural beauty of the world, and we often use their delicate elegance to symbolize the love, sorrow, and joy we experience in life. From the first flower we place on a prom date’s hand to wedding bouquets to the arrangements we lay on the graves of loved ones, flowers and other plants connect us to the cycles that govern our world. Organic materials can hold significant symbolic meaning, and they also contain enough carbon to grow diamonds.

The symbolism inherent in creating diamonds from memorial items is profound. Transforming these into diamonds symbolizes the eternal nature of memories, growth, and our enduring connection to others. It's a powerful way to create something beautiful and lasting from something that is temporal and fleeting in life.

Living Diamonds

While we typically associate lab-grown diamonds that use a specific sentimental source for the carbon required as posthumous tributes, that’s not necessarily true. The fact that you can extract the carbon for a diamond from so many different sources means that there is no limit to your self-expression. 

The process is no longer tethered exclusively to death. It is accessible to anyone who wants to celebrate milestones, connections, and accomplishments in a meaningful way. Taking traces of carbon from stored paper mementos, clothing items, or organic materials allows for the creation of vibrant diamonds that commemorate life’s precious moments without having to wait.

You can now create a diamond using carbon from a piece of your spouse’s wedding dress and give it to them on your anniversary. Or transform a worn and loved stuffed animal that your child has grown out of into a beautiful ring they can wear to their first dance. The possibilities are endless.

The Power of Ashes

While alternative carbon sources provide exciting new avenues for diamond creation, for many, ashes will always have a special emotional resonance. Transforming cremated remains into memorial diamonds continues to be a powerful experience for many grieving families.

Feeling your loved one’s presence each time light dances across your diamond provides a profound sense of connection. Though alternative sources exist, ashes maintain unique emotional ties, and carrying these remnants of a loved one’s physical existence makes memorial diamonds deeply sacred.

No matter how you approach the process of creating a diamond of personal significance, Eterneva can help. Whether you want to celebrate a milestone or experience with a living diamond, commemorate the remarkable life of a loved one who has passed, or make a plan for yourself to be transformed and passed on to your children, Eterneva can ensure your needs are met and your wishes fulfilled.