At Eterneva we are the ashes-to-diamonds company that is bringing brightness and meaning to loss by transforming how we remember and celebrate our loved ones. We help the living celebrate and honor the remarkable lives of those who have passed before us, while helping to keep their extraordinary legacy alive and well.
While this process is still relatively new and novel to many, we’ve seen thousands of grieving people go through the process of turning their loved one into a diamond, and we’re blown away with the impact we see in our customers’ lives moving forward after loss.
There’s something so special about a loved one returning home as a diamond for the first time.
The emotion surrounding a diamond homecoming with one of our customers is so raw and healing. This is true both for our team who helped grow the diamond, and more importantly, for the bereaved who are finally welcoming their loved one back home in a radiant new form.
Our team at Eterneva could go on for days about how much these diamonds mean to our customers, but we wanted to take it a step further and work with an independent research team to uncover what our customers really believe to be true.
While you can read the full research paper conducted by Baylor University, we’d also like to present a TLDR version to highlight what we found most intriguing. Happy reading!
Philosophy of Diamond Transformation
Baylor was interested in the memorial diamond process, and how it might serve as a continuing bond to our loved ones. They chose to formally research this and studied a cohort of Eterneva customers to answer a few hypotheses.
The research initially emerged out of a curiosity as to whether the external transformation of a loved one’s ashes into another physical state, such as a diamond, might support the internal transformation from a bond of physical closeness to a more symbolic connection based in memory.
“The processed remains are not simply a reminder of the departed, but are the departed in a material sense.”
Is it possible that there are two main benefits customers receive from a memorial diamond? Might the memorial diamond serve as both the presence of a loved one AND a way to memorialize them?
“Recent developments in the study of objects as “anchors” of continuing bonds affirms their therapeutic value during the grieving process, and the unique nature of the cremation diamond as both physical remains and symbolic memorials may allow them to serve multiple psychological functions throughout the course of bereavement.”
A diamond is singular and indestructible. May that help ease some of the anxiety associated with grief? Will the mobility of the memorial diamond be an asset to those going through grief?
A Memorial Diamond Helps Customers Through Grief
In the survey to Eterneva customers, researchers asked “Has the diamond process helped you in your grief journey? If yes, in what ways? If not, why?”
Of the Eterneva customers surveyed, 78% reported the process of turning their loved one into a diamond to be beneficial to their grieving process.
Customers often cited the special relationship they have to their diamond. One customer, who had lost a pet, said that the process helped her to come to terms with her grief and experience her grief in a way that she didn’t necessarily feel she could in her everyday world.
She wrote, “In an odd way, it made my grief a little more real. When he died, I felt like he was just gone. Like no one would really care, he was just a cat. But watching his ashes make that transformation and then getting the finished diamond back was like watching his meaningless death become meaningful, and in a way making my grief more substantial.” (Baylor Research)
Having a diamond made for their pets allowed customers a place where they could share openly about their feelings regarding the loss of their animal, and how much they missed them.
A Way to Bring Life Back to The Bereaved
Of the people whose cremated remains were turned into diamonds, 82% were unaware upon their death that their remains would undergo this process of transforming into a diamond.
“It was something we had talked about in our teens, but I don’t think she would’ve ever thought that her wishes would come true. I honestly feel like she would be overjoyed to know she remains beautiful as always.”
In some ways, this speaks to the way cremation diamonds are often made for the sake of the loved ones a person leaves behind, and not for the sake of the person who is dying.
“The most common reason given in support of diamonds over ashes was that customers felt that the ashes reminded them of death, making them sad, while the diamonds seemed to be a way of bringing life back to the remains of the loved one.”
Many customers referenced the way the diamond could be carried with them in a way ashes can’t, and felt that this celebrated the way the diamond’s beauty was a reminder of the life of the person, while the ashes are solely associated with their death.
“The diamonds will be a protected, treasured item and likely kept and passed down by whomever inherits/claims them after our death. The ashes will probably be discarded, so there is a sense of impermanence with the ashes.”
One customer said the beauty of the diamond allowed them to reflect on, and celebrate the life of the deceased, rather than focus solely on the death of their loved one.
They wrote, “I do not feel the same way about the ashes as I do about the diamond. The ashes to me have no life... the diamond has life. I would never talk about the ashes but I will talk about the diamond and its meaning.” (Baylor Research)
A New Spark(le) for Meaningful Reflection
The diamond’s altered appearance, away from ashes, is an important part of the mourning process and the reintegration of the deceased into the world of the living. Welcoming a loved one home in their new form allows the griever to remember the life of their loved one, and not just center their thoughts on their death.
As one customer shared, “I was not able to open my dad’s urn for 5 years after he died. I wasn’t ready to look at the physical ashes, because that to me meant he was truly gone. But when I finally did look at the ashes... I was just sad. It was a pile of grey dust that gave no feelings. I look at this diamond and I’m not sad. I am able to remember the wonderful person my dad was.” (Baylor Research)
The research also found that the materiality of the diamond allows for the griever to realize the permanently transformed state of the deceased, and marks another mile-stone in the grieving process.
“It’s given me a little bit of closure, in the sense that it has given me more... the diamond process was a very difficult process and as I was going through the process, I still think it really didn’t hit home, and then I got the diamond and I had to really snap out of busying my mind, I would busy my mind so I didn’t have to think about it, and then you get that diamond and you have to go through the grieving process again and it really hits you and it’s like holy shit this is for real.” (Baylor Research)
A Socially Acceptable Physical Touch
The transformation of ashes into wearable jewelry transforms the cremains into an active participant in the life of the living. It touches, it accompanies, it listens, and its presence affects the growth and development of the living as they move through grief.
The portability of the diamond allows the diamond to function differently than the ashes, particularly since they are in a socially acceptable form.
“We traveled a lot and I wanted him traveling with me. Since I have received my diamonds, I no longer spread him like before. I feel like he is right there experiencing it with me. It just seems unnecessary. I will spread his remaining ashes on July 12, 2020 at sunrise on the beach here in North Carolina. I no longer need to hold onto in that way. He is free, and in a way, so am I.”
The diamonds also offer an acceptable form of an embodied memorial that one can touch and caress. “You can only think of a memory [but] you can’t touch it. Now I can touch him.” (Baylor Research)
The placement of the diamond was an important aspect of the diamond process, as many customers turned their loved ones into diamonds for the express purpose of wearing them as a particular type of jewelry in a ring or as a necklace.
One customer who had a diamond made of their dog wrote that they only wear their diamond to dog shows, sharing that “Noel is mounted in a custom-designed ring and he is holding the diamond in his paw. You hold the show lead in your left hand, so Noel is on my left ring finger holding the lead of every dog I show.” (Baylor Research) The dog accompanies its owner in current activities even after its death.
Customers with rings also cited choosing a ring so they could see it often. One customer wrote that “I wear my ring every day. It does not come off my hand. It sits perfectly between my engagement ring and my wedding band.” (Baylor Research)
Another customer indicated that a necklace seemed a more pragmatic choice for them: “I am always doing things with my hands and do not wear rings and bracelets tend to get caught on things. A necklace was the perfect solution.” (Baylor Research) But the majority said they opted for a necklace because they wanted their loved one to be physically “close to their heart.”
Of the total reported, 82% of Eterneva customers shared that they either do, or plan to, wear their diamonds daily.
Something Bright to Talk About
The diamond transformation process allows the bereaved to openly share in ways they may not be able to share in their own social circles.
For one customer, the diamond has become a centerpiece. “The diamond is not set. But it is on the main floor where it can be seen and appreciated by anyone who visits the home. It comes up in conversation due to its uniqueness and keeps him in memory.” (Baylor Research)
Customers share their stories, including specific details about their loved one or pet and favor-ite things that they loved about them.
As one customer wrote, “I think this journey did help me in my grief journey. They asked a lot of information about my mom, a photo, the obituary. Then they created a video where basically she was introduced to everyone on the team at Eterneva and then her photo goes up on the wall of all the ashes they’ve received and it was very... like, strangers who don’t know us from anyone kind of honored her in a way that maybe wouldn’t have normally been there.” (Baylor Research)
Almost all Eterneva customers noted the ways in which the diamond process, or the diamond itself, created a space for conversation about the dead, or their grief. Some customers found that the process gave them a way to start and have conversations regarding their loss.
One person who lost their dog wrote, “Absolutely! It was something to look forward to as the diamond grew in the process. I also talked with my husband and closest friends about the diamond growth and we would talk about my dog.” (Baylor Research)
Another customer shared, “Yes, it has helped mostly through the process of talking about the diamond and thus about Michael. One of the most difficult things that I believe happens after a loss is that people are sometimes uncomfortable talking about the per-son. Sometimes it is difficult for me and sometimes for others. My diamond has opened others and myself to more genuine and caring conversations.” (Baylor Research)
An Emotional Milestone To Remember Their Love
Eterneva’s Homecoming functions as a return of the deceased loved one to the world of the living in their permanently altered state—often inspiring a realization both of the finality of the death, and a recognition that the love of the deceased still remains.
As one customer shared, “It did help in my grieving process. I cried a lot every time I got an update... I did cry when I finally had them back home with me.” (Baylor Research)
In this way, the diamond can symbolize the pinnacle of integrated grief, or the understanding that one must live with the loss. By highlighting these homecomings and creating rituals surrounding the diamond’s completion, Eterneva is offering a non-religious rite that seems to offer solace to its customers.
The meaning and significance of the diamond is simultaneously material and symbolic, and the wearer of the diamond controls the narrative. This is incredibly important, since grief often makes one feel vulnerable, so being able to choose how, whether, and when to reveal one’s loss allows the diamond wearer a sense of agency in an incredibly difficult and fragile time.
Summary of the Research Findings
While it’s no surprise to us that the diamond has had a positive impact on our customers, it sure does help to hear, directly from their voices, how the diamond has supported them through their loss and journey through grief.
We look forward to conducting more research to dig even deeper into the meaning Eterneva memorial diamonds have on the bereaved. You may read the full research paper conducted by Baylor University here.
About Eterneva’s Memorial Diamond Process
At Eterneva, we help people celebrate and honor their remarkable loved one by turning their ashes into a one-of-a-kind memorial diamond.
The ashes to diamond process is a seven-stage journey that includes a welcome kit, carbon purification, diamond growth, diamond quality and assessment, diamond cutting, the finishing touches, and lastly, the much anticipated and heartwarming homecoming.
If you feel compelled to learn more about this ashes to diamond process, please schedule a consultation. Our team is patiently waiting to learn more about your loved one and answer any questions you may have about the process of turning your loved one into a radiant and one-of-a-kind diamond.