Turn Your Pet into a Diamond

Think taxidermy is the only way to memorialize a deceased pet? Think again. A Chicago-based company can literally turn Fido into a prized jewel.

Started as a way to memorialize human family members, LifeGem made national headlines when it announced it could extract carbon from cremated remains and produce a lab-created diamond keepsake.

It’s a four-step process: The cremated remains are heated to 5,000 degrees Celsius, which reduces them to purified carbon. The carbon then goes into a diamond press, where heat and pressure are applied at the same time to create the gem. The entire process can take up to nine months.

While the company was started with humans in mind, it soon discovered an untapped market. “Immediately, from day one, we had plenty of pet owners calling us,” Greg Herro, the CEO of LifeGem, tells MNN. “That appealed to me as well. I’m a big pet lover.”

Herro practices what he preaches. He turned his own dog — a 150-pound bull mastiff named Root — into two diamonds. One ended up in a ring for his wife. The other is in a bracelet he wears. “It was a comfort to me, and that’s how I knew it was a comfort to everyone else.”

The company produces between 700 and 1,000 diamonds per year, about 20 percent of which are for pet owners. A doggy diamond can cost between $2,500 and $25,000 depending on its size and color. According to the American Pet Products Association, U.S. pet owners are expected to spend more than $55 billion on their pets in 2013.

LifeGem has now expanded beyond pet memorials and into conservation education. London’s Royal Academy of Arts, as part of an exhibit on polar bears and global warming, had Herro’s company produce a diamond from a deceased polar bear’s arm. The finished product ended up in the museum. And Herro is quick to point out: “No polar bears were harmed during this process.”

More From Mnn
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How to Tell If Your Cat is Depressed
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What to Say (& Not Say) to Someone Who Lost a Pet
10 Weirdest Ways to Remember Your Pet
6 Myths About Grieving


Sandra I.
Sandra I4 years ago

That's weird. I do have my pets ashes but when I die I want all our ashes released back to the earth where our remains belong.... Not as trinkets hanging off someone. And then is the diamond precious or is your loved one precious? I think this is an unhealthy thing to do....

Tim C.
Tim C4 years ago


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R4 years ago

I'm not too interested. I do have most of my dogs' ashes but I wouldn't want to spend that much money for the process. I'd prefer to donate to a shelter in my pet's name.

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert4 years ago

I kinda want my son to to this with MY cremains.

Melinda K.
Past Member 4 years ago

I think all we keep is the love, hanging on to a diamond, not sure about that.

tin leng lim
tin leng lim4 years ago

Thank you for sharing. Interesting.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

Patricia H.
Patricia H.4 years ago

thanks for posting

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan H4 years ago


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe4 years ago

I'm not sure I could do that to my babies!