Would You Turn Your Deceased Cat Into Jewelry?

By Elisa Black-Taylor

I have a question for all of you today. Would you turn your deceased cat into jewelry? I sent Michael an email last week stating this could easily be the most bizarre story I’ve ever written. I’m not here to say I agree or disagree with this new form of “keepsake.” Only to report this option is available for those who like the idea and have lots of money to spare.

LifeGem has a website at lifegem.com, and has been reported on by popular shows such as Inside Edition, The Today Show, The Tonight Show(that one would REALLY have been interesting) and Live With Regis & Kelly. They are the worlds first company to offer synthesized diamonds made from the carbonized remains of humans or pets using hair and/or ashes to create memorial diamonds.

Keepsake made from a deceased pet

Photo copyright LifeGem.

LifeGem was founded in 2001 by Greg Herro, Mike Herro, Rusty VandenBlesen and Dean VandenBlesen and was based out of Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The headquarters is now in Chicago and they also have branches in Hove, England under the name LifeGem UK. They also have an office in Australia, although I’m not sure of the exact location. Victoria is mentioned in one of their ads. In the U.S., their services are offered at more than 500 funeral homes.

I would like to tell the readers I’ve known about this company since the summer of 2009. There was a segment being done about the company on one of the shows I was watching with my ex as we sat together in his home. My ex was in the end stage of lung cancer and I stayed with him as much as possible. I still remember the segment coming on, as it immediately caught our attention. My ex. was still trying to decide how he wanted his “remains” handled after his death.

We were able to joke a lot at that point, so I turned to him and told him that’s what I wanted to do with his ashes after his cremation. I remember him looking at me and saying “you CAN’T be serious!” I started laughing and pointing out the benefits of turning him into a diamond. The main one being I wouldn’t have to visit his grave or keep up with an urn. I’d always have him with me, in the form of a diamond on my finger. Sometimes I believe that’s the sole reason he didn’t make me beneficiary of his life insurance policy. He was really afraid I’d do this. Especially after I added I’d turn him into a “black” diamond since most of his existence was spent in a bad mood.

Apparently a lot of families have the same thought in mind, including the companions of deceased cats. What better tribute to a cat than to have a piece of jewelry made and to wear that jewelry to celebrate your love for that pet? One lady who heard about LifeGems went so far as to dig up her deceased cat, had the cat cremated then made into a LifeGem. Others take cremation ashes they have of their cat and have done at a later time. I imagine turning your cat into a ring would take a bit of thinking about. Especially since the cost can range from $1400 (unverified-the LifeGem site lists lowest price as $2490) to over $25,000!

There’s a lot to consider to turning the deceased into a gemstone. First of all is the cost. A 1.5 carat red stone is listed at $24,000. Next there is wait time-six to nine months being average, as the stones have to mimic the carbon process of real diamonds. About eight ounces of ashes are needed, which are then combined with other carbons, then super-pressed and superheated to 3,000 degrees over months. The family can track the diamonds progress.

The company has come under fire a bit over the years. They do offer a guarantee and each stone includes a certificate of authenticity. Questions such as being sure one order isn’t done at the same time as another would be one concern.

The company does provide a service to those left behind to grieve. If I’d had the money to do so, my ex would be sitting happily on the ring finger of my left hand, and my dog Dreyfuss would be on my right hand. I believe cost rather than ethics would influence the purchase of a LifeGem keepsake for most of us. Let’s face it: $25,000 would be better spent on our living pets.

Family members now wearing the “family jewels” state it’s a comfort to know their loved one is so close at hand(excuse the pun). This includes those who turn their pets into jewelry. It’s a way of dealing with grief for those who choose this form of remembrance.

There’s plenty of info on the LifeGems website for those of you interested in this option. Far too much information to go into in this article. Along with prices, there are testimonials and samples of their work.

Comments anyone? Have any of you ever done this with a loved one or with a deceased pet? Or do you feel this is totally off the wall wrong, as well as disrespectful. I’m just curious.

Elisa

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Comments

Would You Turn Your Deceased Cat Into Jewelry? — 15 Comments

  1. Good topic for a discussion because it pulls me both ways. My initial thought was, no, it’s commercializing the death of a loved companion animal. It’s a bit distasteful.

    Yet, there are upsides. You can enjoy contact with your deceased friend all day and every day. He or she is there with you and a nice reminder too. I like the idea of carrying her around on me and if you have the ashes as I do what is the difference?

    As you say, though, how do you know for sure that your cat’s ashes are used? Certification isn’t enough for me.

    On balance, I think keeping the ashes in an urn is preferable and there are no huge costs involved.

    • Dreyfuss will remain by my bed in his little urn. I do find it interesting how color of the stone can be determined by the consumer. Some want a yellow stone if they had an orange/red tabby. Or they may base their decision on eye color or the deceased birthstone.

      I wanted to write this midweek last week but Sealy refused to get out of my lap long enough to get anything accomplished.

      I still wear the engagement ring I bought for my mother back in 1978. My dad was too poor at the time and couldn’t get her one and I promised her an engagement ring the first year I had a job. Thats my remembrance to her.

    • I think it’s interesting the whole question of if they really are just your pets ashes and only them. I think it’s pretty unlikely but I am cynical. I agree with Michael that the only way to be sure is to supervise it. If you aren’t 100% sure then what’s the point. I just don’t have enough trust in the certificates and so on. I need to see real proof. I couldn’t deal with the doubt.

      • Pleased you agree. It is a business and I can’t trust business 😉 A person would be a complete fool to wear a piece of jewelry for the remainder of their life in the belief it was a part of the remains of their cat when it had no connection with their deceased companion. Unless you see it being being done from start to finish don’t do it.

  2. It’s interesting and I think its nice to have the choice, I am open to it. I wouldn’t myself but I might have some ashes in a little pendant around my neck or something.

    But this is anyway really interesting. More and more options are coming up to do with pet remembrance and this is a new one to me. I wish I had some or Red’s ashes but I buried him. If I must ever leave the area I will have to take some of the soil or something with me. I have his leaves and I brushed him before I buried him and kept some of his beutiful orange fur that came off on the brush. I have a little shrine/shelf with his things. His favourite toys and his bed and his collar. It’s very sad. I would like to have some of him in a pendant somehow. I will do it one day.

  3. No I would never do that because to me our loved ones, either people or pets, are not ours to keep.
    What happens to the ashes or to the jewellery eventually? If a tragedy occurs and a family are wiped out they have no say in where those remains go, they could be thrown in the rubbish bin.
    All our loved ones were cremated and their ashes scattered in the Garden of Remembrance, we will be joining our human family and our cats will be joining our feline family when our sad days come.
    Living beings are free spirits, death should set us free from this world, no one should own our remains in any form.
    Only my opinion of course.

  4. No it’s not for me either,I’m with Ruth in setting the spirits free.
    I recently saw a programme on TV about bizarre things people do with their dead,one woman had her husband’s ashes ground up and mixed with inks and had a tattoo from a picture of his face done on her leg.
    Some were having death masks made,shudder shudder that’s as bad as stuffing dead pet.
    I say if you love them set them free to RIP

  5. I’m surprised more of you are concerned with the ashes really being your pet rather than the seemingly high price involved. It’s nice to see this topic approached from different angles. I don’t think I’d ever have the nerve to tell anyone I spent $25K on a ring when there are so many more important uses for money.

  6. The best memorial we can give to our pets is to help other animals, to me it’s criminal to spend a fortune on jewellery when there are cats and dogs in need which that money could make a difference to.

    • Thats how I am. I spend every penny I can on food, treats and comfy pillows or beds for the cats. I do a LOT of shopping thrift stores where I get treats and pillows for next to nothing. One of the super rich Kardashean sisters just spent a fortune pet jewelry.

      The main reason we had Dreyfuss cremated was because neither of us were physically capable of digging a hole for a 100+ pound dog.

  7. Short response is NO WAY. I respect anyone else’s right to do this or cremation , as well. But I feel that my pet has passed and his/her spirit is still alive and waiting on the other side. I treasure their toys, their photos and memories. I guess it comes from the time I spent working cleaning mortuary. I vacuumed up ashes that somehow escaped boxes packed with human ashes waiting to be shipped night, after night. I just can’t do it. I will cremated myself, but I will NOT be mailed, nor will I sit on the mantle slowly entering the lungs of my beloved family. Filling the vacuum bag and being thrown away a few ashes at a time.

    Just make sure to get an urn that has a nice seal on it. No shipping. You’ll be fine.

    • Love your comment, Dan. I also like the point you make about a pet’s spirit. Compressing ashes down to a gemstone and making it a commercial product seems to me to damage the spirit of the companion animal. Thanks for that point Dan. Good one. Good advice about a sealed urn too.

  8. There is no way I would send my pet’s remains off to some unknown place to be made into a piece of vanity. Cold stones could never represent a beloved pet. In fact, I find it rather macabre. Just my opinion.

    Two years ago two of my horses were killed in a tornado. I couldn’t stand the thought they might go to a rendering plant. I hired a back hoe to dig the graves and they are buried next to our family cemetery on my property. They joined my ancestors going back some 150 years as their equine line went back that far. My cats and dogs that have passed have been cremated and also laid to rest there. Yup, I surely do go out and have a chat with all of them when I am there.

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