NEW YORK — Are you looking for a unique jewelry gift this holiday season? Do you have a recently-deceased pet? Then there are some companies out there that have a way to turn your favorite furry friend into a rock that will last almost forever.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the desire to memorialize pets fuel a multi-million dollar man-made diamond industry, which uses pet remains like fur and feathers to create diamonds that can start at $1,400.
LifeGem, an Illinois company that says it has created over 1,000 animal diamonds in the last decade, claims that it has made artificial gems from dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses and at least one armadillo.
“(Pet) remains have some unique characteristics in terms of the ratios of elements, so no two diamonds are exactly alike,” said LifeGem co-founder Dean VandenBiesen.
Creating a one-carat diamond requires less than a cup of pet ashes or unpacked pet hair, which is incinerated to create carbon. The man-made diamond companies put the carbon with a diamond seed crystal into a chamber that heats the carbon up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit under 800,000 pounds of pressure per square inch for a number of days. The end result is a diamond that can be cut and polished.
Similar processes can be used for other gemstones, including zircon.
Jennifer Durante of St. Petersburg, Florida, says that she had another company, Pet Gems, turn the remains of her Chihuahua, Tetley, into a light-blue zircon gemstone.
“It reminds me of his eyes when the sun would shine into them,” she says.