Diamonds honor gem of a life - East Valley Tribune: News

Diamonds honor gem of a life

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Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2003 11:51 pm | Updated: 1:08 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Our lives our finite, but diamonds are forever.

A Scottsdale father is the first person in the world to have a diamond manufactured from human remains, according to the stone’s manufacturer, Chicago-based LifeGem.

Bill Sefton recently had the carbon remains of his daughter, Valerie, 27, made into six diamonds for $16,000. Valerie Sefton died Sept. 10 in Chicago as a result of complications from Hodgkin’s disease.

Sefton said the diamonds are a perfect fit for his daughter, who asked that her ashes be distributed in small pouches to family and friends. Sefton had the largest stone — a half-carat gem — imbedded in his wedding band. The rest were distributed to Valerie’s family members.

Many people have asked if he thinks having the diamonds made is weird, Sefton said.

He doesn’t.

“Looking at the ashes doesn’t give me any pleasure. It’s just a morbid reminder of what happened,” Sefton said. “When I look at the diamond, it gives me a lot of comfort where nothing else has so far.”

Sefton is the first of about 100 families who have signed on to have diamonds made from the carbon remains of loved ones, including about 25 pets, said Greg Herro, CEO of LifeGem.

The gems are certified diamonds, and take 16 weeks to create, Herro said.

The process requires a special cremation and takes weeks during which the ashes are compressed in a device that simulates Earth’s gravitational forces. The diamonds have a bluish cast caused by a trace of naturally occurring boron in the cremated remains. Prices range from $2,300 for a one-quarter carat to $10,000 for a three-quarter carat.

The latest technology guarantees the stones will be beautiful, but they will have some flaws, Herro said. “We’re not flawless in life and we’re not flawless in passing,” Herro said. “Our families don’t care about the flaws that happen in the growing process because that’s what their loved one produced."

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