Memento Mori. Remember you must die. Memento Mori is a reminder for the living that life is fleeting. It morphed into the practice of remembering the dead using architecture, paintings, photography, even jewelry featuring symbols of death, or locks of hair elaborately woven into brooches, bracelets, and rings—mourning art (1). The Victorians probably did it best, photographing their dead loved ones in artificial poses, standing up, playing with their favorite toys, or together with their live brothers and sisters—quite creepy (2). The symbolism and art of memento mori are still around, for example, in the Día de los Muertos—Day of the Dead—celebrations found in Mexico, New Mexico (3), and other Latin Catholic cultures. We have Memorial Day in the U.S. to remember our soldiers lost in wars, but many families take the time during the holiday to visit cemeteries and lay wreaths on their loved one’s graves. (I’m a huge fan of cemeteries and like to visit old ones for fun. Just ask my husband and kids. Heh.)
And it’s not like we don’t collect hair and tissue for remembrance now, is it? That dried piece of umbilicus mashed into a baby album (I don’t know why I did that), the lock of baby hair from the first haircut. The Tooth Fairy teeth exchanged for cash under the pillow. And I’m pretty sure my wisdom teeth are tucked away somewhere at my dad’s house. But I wouldn’t wear them as jewelry. Because, why when there’s something MUCH better that you can do with your dead one’s remains: Memory diamonds. That’s where carbon comes into play because diamonds are made of pure carbon.
The carbon in your body—about 18% by weight—as well as the rest of the chemicals that make you you are literally worth about a buck ($1) on the open market. But die and get cremated, and there are lots and lots of companies out there (actually, it was kind of disturbing to find so many) who will take a cup of shorn hair or half a cup of ashes, extract the carbon, and create a diamond out of your dead loved one that will last forever (4, 5). And that less than a dollar for the carbon contained in your body can be worth thousands of dollars as a memento mori set into a bracelet, a brooch, or a stunning solitaire ring, the gem cut to your specifications.
And for those of you who always liked the dog or cat more, don’t despair. You can make a diamond memento mori out of your beloved pet, too (6).
I’ll leave you with some diamond entertainment and another question: Who rocked the dress best—Marilyn or Madonna? Watch the videos then click on this link to vote.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knLd8bfeWtI&t=74s (skip the first minute)
Bonus: Eartha Kitt and Santa Baby https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppYGHqxwCuk
As always, these are my own opinions based on my biases, knowledge, and understanding, and the websites I’ve linked are in no way a product endorsement.