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August 22, 2021

Isolating carbon from ashes to create diamonds
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Eterneva is setting out to change the way we grieve loss — by turning ashes into diamonds. With its unique cremation diamonds, Eterneva is creating a new way to carry the memory of the loved ones with long after their death.

Transforming their customers’ loved ones from ashes to diamonds consists of an intricate seven stage process. Once the company has received the ashes, its team gets to work isolating carbon from other elements found in the ashes. Once the carbon is fully extracted, the resulting carbon graphite powder is placed into a machine that can replicate growing conditions found under the earth. Through intense heat and pressure, over time the carbon crystalizes and begins to turn into a raw diamond

For people grieving the death of a loved one, a memorial diamond can serve as a constant reminder of the beauty of a life once lived. It not only helps keep positive memories alive for longer, but can be passed down through generations to enrich one’s connection to their family history.

​ETERNEVA CLIENT: This is the mom, and the diamond was made from her ashes.

NARRATOR: This is a story about a radical death care company called Eterneva. With backing from Mark Cuban, Eterneva is turning people's lost loved ones into diamonds.

CLIENT: Wow! Welcome home, honey.

ADELLE ARCHER: The way people react when they hear about this, it was either like, "This is the most amazing and incredible idea I've ever heard," or like "I don't know, this is kind of weird."

NARRATOR: They believe that America's cultural response to loss is broken, leaving people without rituals to help them heal.

ADELLE: Grief is an experience we're all gonna go through. It's one of the most shared human experiences there is, and yet it's governed by just tradition and obligation. That's doing more harm than good. And so we have to overcome every obstacle because the cost of the mission not being seen out is too high.

PRODUCER: There's a slight lag. If We step on you at all, We apologize. I'm not trying to cut you off. There's just a little bit of a lag.

ADELLE: I'm literally fundraising right now, and all VCs do is cut you off, so I'm very used to it. This is one of the machines. This one is under pressure. So we are currently actively growing a diamond right now. At these stations...

NARRATOR: Adelle Archer is the co-founder and CEO of Eterneva, and she's on a mission to transform the way that we grieve. After completing her MBA, Adelle got the idea for Eterneva in 2015 after losing her good friend and mentor, Tracey.

ADELLE: When Tracey passed, she actually had her ashes split between three of. And she was just like, "Hey, go do something meaningful that you think both of would really like." So we started doing a ton of research. Everything felt really like trinket-y and cheap and transactional. And nothing kind of really spoke to.

NARRATOR: But then Adelle had a conversation with a diamond scientist.

ADELLE: He's like, "Well, if we can get the carbon out of Tracey's ashes We think we could grow you a diamond." And We mean, as soon as he said it, We was like, "This is the idea. This is the thing that I'm meant to work on." She was the first diamond that we ever made. This is her black diamond. We wear it every single day.

ETERNEVA STAFF: I'm so excited to introduce y'all to Peggy. Content Creators are growing two beautiful diamonds, one for her daughter, Laurie and another for her grandson, Alex.


GARRETT OZAR: Any time you start a company it's like a huge rollercoaster. One of the challenging things about starting Eterneva was just, it was so unknown in so many different ways. We mean what we do has so much pressure, you know? We're handling someone's most valuable possession basically. And you have this incredibly difficult thing to do which is growing a diamond from carbon.

ADELLE: In the beginning when we started, this was a crazy supply chain to set up. A lot of these scientists don't even exist in the United States. We were hunting down scientists internationally. Flying to Europe, convincing them to get coffee with and having to learn how to negotiate in completely different business cultures. A lot of this technology actually came out of Russia.So dealing with Russian business culture it's so different than the United States. Honestly, that was kind of the first encounter with a bit of misogyny. Gosh, We learned a lot. But Lord, the lows can be excruciating. We've had moments where the entire supply chain went away. They basically were...

To read the full transcript, please visit bigthink.com/videos/ashes-to-diamonds

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