The death care industry has remained the same for many years, with most people following the same funeral and grieving processes. Yet, despite the traditional entrenchment, there have been efforts to create a more personal memorial experience to help people heal and grieve better after loss. An excellent example of such people is Adelle Archer of Eterneva.
Archer was searching for a fresh way to commemorate a great life after losing a dear friend and mentor, Tracy. Following the death of her mentor, she realized that the concept of ashes, a common alternative, was underwhelming for some. To her, there was no meaningful way of honoring remarkable people. So she and her partner Garrett Ozar set out to develop a more meaningful experience, one based on the idea of reconnecting with your loved one.
What she did then was remarkable in the death care industry and has introduced a unique way of memorializing the dead, especially for millennials who always have a perspective on life and death. As the guardian of her friend’s ashes, Archer decided to turn them into a black diamond to represent her sparkling spirit and legacy.
The idea was widely accepted, although some found it to be “weird.” However, as the global Covid-19 pandemic brought death closer to home, many people’s perceptions started to change, and many were open to the idea of memorial diamonds.
Archer and Ozar earned a coveted spot on the television show Shark Tank in 2019 by capitalizing on their youthful marketing skills. They demonstrated the beauty of memorial diamonds by using carbon from Archer’s grandmother’s cremated ashes, fashioned into a yellow diamond necklace. They also showcased the black diamond ring made from the ashes of Archer’s mentor.
Their presentation saw Mark Cuban interested in their revolutionary idea and purchased a 9% stake with a $600,000 initial investment. This was just the beginning of Eterneva’s fortune as the company received an additional $4.2 million in financial support via three rounds of seed financing thanks to the exposure from Shark Tank.
The concept of memorial diamonds
Eterneva uses its website to establish long-term connections with potential clients and to help to meet them where they are. They begin by guiding everyone through the process of producing a diamond from the ashes of a loved one.
They then go above and beyond by providing them with a page to invite their whole community to observe and participate in the eight-month diamond creating process from afar through video and photo updates. This is commonly referred to as the “death journey.”
After the process is complete, the recipient gets the precious gem and a complete legacy project packed with everyone’s memories of their loved ones. This also comes with a page featuring the words of condolence and support messages from family and friends, so they may look back on to remember who was by their side when it mattered the most.
The diamond making process
If the diseased family chooses the Eterneva experience, they are provided with a kit with details of the process. Once they give the go-ahead for the ashes to be turned into a memorial diamond, they are requested to provide a small amount of the ashes, a few hair strands, or even pet fur from the deceased’s pet. They even have a mobile team that can go to client’s houses and helps them, especially for those who need a helping hand handling the ashes.
Once the remains arrive at Eterneva’s headquarters in Austin, The carbon is extracted from the ashes and used to create a diamond seed coated in pure carbon. The synthetic memorial diamond is then produced using a High Temperature-High Pressure (HTHP) technique. Colorization may also occur throughout the growth process, and the final memorial diamond is then fitted into a ring, necklace, or other desired piece of jewelry.
The unique thing about this diamond-making process is that not everyone’s carbon is not the same, and it takes expertise and technology to find a perfect combination of heat and pressure required for each person.
After the process is complete, the diamond is assessed for quality and to ensure proper integration with a raw diamond without any visible inclusions.
A long-lasting legacy
Eterneva has changed the death care landscape, and the future is still promising. Millennials prefer the direct-to-consumer approach introduced by Eterneva to the death care industry over more conventional ways of memorializing a loved one. The “death journey” concludes with a “homecoming,” in which the completed product is returned to the family.
Even though Eterneva is a direct-to-consumer company, they have found that funeral homes are their most valuable partners on this journey. Funeral homes have long been a source of comfort and advice for those who have lost loved ones.
They assist them in planning memorials, locating suitable burial or cremation choices, and seeing the process through from beginning to end. As a result, they are often the greatest at linking bereaved people to alternative ways to memorialize their loved ones. Although many funeral homes struggle to stay afloat and current with innovation, those that partner with Eterneva see a new path ahead, which benefits everyone involved.
Since its appearance on “Shark Tank,” Eterneva has serviced roughly 700 families and grown its workforce. According to Adelle Archer, the consumer demographic is about 60 percent humans and 40 percent pets.