Grief Research by Baylor University with Eterneva Customers

At Eterneva, we are acutely aware of how emotionally devastating the passing of a loved one can be. We also understand that the process of grief is a difficult journey that requires patience, reflection, and acceptance. While everyone’s grief journey is different, we firmly believe in the power of our diamonds to honor and celebrate our loved ones and provide brightness and meaning as we reflect on their remarkable lives.

Transforming the ashes of those that have passed before us into a beautiful, unique diamond is one way to keep their extraordinary legacy alive and close to us. We’ve now walked the Eterneva Diamond Journey with thousands of grieving individuals turning their loved ones’ remains into diamonds, and we are continually awed and humbled at the impact it can have on their ability to move forward and transform their grief into a celebration of a life well-lived.

Diamond necklace in person's hand.

There is truly something 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.

To further support the testimonials by customers who have experienced the healing power of the Eterneva Diamond Journey,  we want to offer an objective, science-backed perspective on the impact memorial diamonds can have on the grief process. We partnered with  independent researchers at Baylor University to explore memorial diamonds grown from the carbon found in ashes, hair, or other sources of sentimental significance can provide comfort and a continual bond with those who have passed on. You can read the full research paper here.

Keep reading to discover how an Eterneva Diamond is a tangible, permanent memorial that keeps the conversation of our loved ones alive.


Do Memorial Diamonds Aid in the Grieving Process?

Researchers at Baylor University were interested in 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 on memory. Through their investigation into the memorial diamond process, they eventually chose to formally gather and research data from Eterneva customers to see how it related to past studies and hypotheses.


Grief and the Continuing Bonds Theory

Contrary to older models introduced by psychoanalysis that emphasized the importance of “moving on” as the operative goal of the grief journey, more recent research has shown that “ongoing attachment to the deceased was no longer seen as a maladaptive grieving process.”

This has paved the way for new theories and modes of thought on how humans experience and process grief. The Continuing Bonds Theory (Klass, Silverman, and Nickman, 1996) emphasized the importance of emotional attachment through material objects, as well as abstract modes of connection such as conjuring memories or having conversations with the dead.

As studies have continued in subsequent years, researchers have found that objects, keepsakes, and memorials imbued with a special emotional attachment or personal connection to the deceased provide the bereaved with a sense of physical proximity to the deceased, and not just emotional proximity. This closeness can give comfort and a sense of connection that can offers loved ones consolation, solace, and tranquility. 

Photo of woman holding a koala.

These theories were particularly relevant to Baylor’s study of Eterneva, as memorial diamonds “are not simply a reminder of the departed, but are the departed in a material sense,” giving them a distinctive role as a memorial with real agency and power.

“Recent developments in the study of objects as “anchors” of continuing bonds affirm 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.” (Baylor Research)


The Strength and Versatility of Cremation Diamonds

“In the broadest sense, there is a certain advantage to the cremation diamond as a singular object.” (Baylor Research)

If grief, at its most basic definition, is experiencing the absence of something, then having a physical thing on which to focus energy, remembrance, and emotion makes sense from a logistical sense. In her essay on memorialized objects of mourning, Margaret Gibson suggests that “as concrete symbolic material, objects orient in time and space the often disorientating and displacing experiences of grief.”  

A diamond is both beautiful and incredibly strong. As a visual representation and physical embodiment of the deceased, its depth, beauty, and shine offer a distinctly appealing sight for remembrance. And its durability and resilience ensure the stone’s ability to carry on as a connective object forever, offering the ability to pass on the legacy of the loved one through generations. It can also be carried, worn, and held, providing permanence that is portable and moveable, unlike traditional gravesites and resting places.

Woman wearing diamond necklace and ring.

“The diamonds will be a protected, treasured item and likely kept and passed down by whoever inherits/claims them after our death. The ashes will probably be discarded, so there is a sense of impermanence with the ashes.” (Baylor Research)


What Eterneva Customers Say About Their Diamonds

“Cremains do not have a function beyond their presence as the transformed dead, while diamonds are highly recognized, and valued as objects in the realm of the living. Whether viewed as ornamental objects, art pieces, status symbols, or reflections of relationship status, diamonds operate on multiple levels in the world, with a widely recognized function—and often that function bestows value onto the wearer of the diamond. This stands in marked contrast to the function of cremains, which offer no added value status, and in fact, may be met with a mixture of indifference, or even repulsion.” (Baylor Research)

Of the sixty Eterneva customers asked whether they preferred their memorial diamonds over the cremated remains as a form of commemoration and memory, all sixty acknowledged that they did. 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)

The change in appearance, from grey ashes to a brilliance gemstone, is an important transformational part of the grieving 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.”

In addition, because the diamond growth process only requires a half cup of ashes, many of those surveyed were able to hold separate and variable ceremonies and memorials to disperse, divide, or store some of the ashes elsewhere. One person wrote that while she divided her loved one’s ashes in multiple places, having him made into a diamond allowed her to carry him with her in ways that she was unable to do in the form of ashes. She was able to spread his ashes in a few places to which they both shared a strong connection, but still create a diamond that she could carry on in her future travels.


The Significance of Touch

“You can only think of a memory [but] you can’t touch it. Now I can touch him.” (Baylor Research)

Growing a diamond from the cremated ashes or hair of a loved one 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.

“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.” (Baylor Research)

Diamond ring on hand in front of a palm tree.

The placement of the diamond was also cited by participants as an important aspect of their memorial jewelry. Many customers turned their loved ones into diamonds with a particular type of jewelry in mind, such as a ring, necklace, or pendant. Where the diamond lives and is worn influences how and where it is seen, whether it catches the eye throughout the day or remains close to the wearer's 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

They say that, as humans, we die two deaths: one is physical, and the other occurs the last time someone mentions our name. The diamond transformation process allows the bereaved to openly talk about their loved one and their experiences with loss and grief in ways they may not be able to in their own social circles. Wearing the memorial diamond can be a conduit to sharing the joy of your loved one’s life with others.

For one participant, 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)

Almost all Eterneva customers interviewed noted different ways that the diamond process, or the diamond itself, created a space for conversation about the dead, or their grief experience. Some customers found that the conversational approach gave them a way to start having genuine and meaningful discussions regarding their loss. 

Blue diamond ring between a dogs paws.

One person who lost their dog wrote, “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 person. 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)

Summary of the Grief Research Findings

The science behind grief can be difficult to quantify. Just like our relationships in life, we all deal with death and loss in our own way. But despite our differences, there are some things that are universal to the human experience: love, pain, joy, and grief. These feelings and emotions can be complex and overwhelming, but the only way for us to process them and transform them into meaning, memory, and power, is to keep moving forward on our own journey.

Transforming your loved one’s cremated ashes into a beautiful diamond is one way to heal and grow. And while it’s no surprise to us that memorial diamonds have had such a positive impact on our customers, it’s a joy to see data-based, science-driven support that shows the process benefitting so many individuals in their own grief journeys.

Eterneva’s Memorial Diamond Process

At Eterneva, we help people celebrate and honor their remarkable loved ones 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, finishing touches, and lastly, the much anticipated and heartwarming homecoming.

If you feel compelled to learn more about the ashes-to-diamond process, please schedule a consultation. Our team is patiently waiting to learn about your journey and answer any questions you may have about the process of turning your loved one into a radiant and one-of-a-kind diamond.