Dead man's ashes turned into diamond
BOZEMAN, Mont. The National Funeral Directors Association reports that Montana has one of the highest rates of cremation in the country, at nearly 66 percent.
Options for what to do with those ashes are also growing, including an option chosen by one family who turned their loved one into a memorial that's a real gem, CBS Butte affiliate KXLF-TV reports.
"Amazing" is how Lily Hagel describes her brother, and the diamond he now embodies.
"To me it shows me who he is, you know, like, it just makes me remember that he was, like, such an amazing person, and now we have an amazing gem to just see it," she said.
Alex Archer, 24, of Manhattan, Mont., was killed last year in a car crash, and his sudden death left the Archer family looking for ways to preserve his memory.
"One of my favorite things about Alex is just the way he treated our mom, like he just- he always held her hand in public or he was never afraid to give her a kiss, like even as an adult, as a 24-year-old man, you know, he would hold her- he would hold her hand and he'd give her a kiss, and he just, he didn't care who was watching," Hagel said.
Thanks to help from the Dokken Nelson Funeral Home in Bozeman, and a company called Lifegem, they turned Alex's ashes into a diamond.
"Obviously it was a tragic loss, it was an unexpected death. It was, for Mrs. Archer, it was the loss of her son, and so obviously with him being taken away from her so early this gives her something to remember him by and obviously have that memorialization," the funeral home's Chris Remely said.
A cremation diamond is created with just one cup of ashes. But it can also be done with a lock of hair, so families who choose a traditional burial can still create a carbon copy of their loved one.
"It's available for everyone, actually. They're very sharp. I mean, it's- obviously, a jeweler could tell the difference, but to the naked eye, I don't think- you could probably show it to someone and they wouldn't have any idea of the difference," Remely said.
The difference for some may not be in clarity, but in price. A cremation gem costs several times more, so while diamonds are forever, they may not be for every budget.
"It's an investment, there's no doubt about it when you're talking $2,000, $3,000, or $4,000, up to $17,000 for one of these gems," Remely said.
But for the Archer family, having Alex always with them is priceless.
"My brother was a very beautiful person," said Hagel, "and now I get to just look at a beautiful diamond that was created from him, and, you know, it's just a great reminder of him."
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