January 19, 2014

"I don't know why, but if the diamond is blue, and the deceased also had blue eyes..."

"... I hear almost every time that the diamond had the same color as the eyes of the deceased."

For the annals of Emotional Science. 

22 comments:

St. George said...

Don't it make your brown eyes blue? Shine on, you crazy diamond. Suite Judy blue eyes. Behind blue eyes. Blue eyes crying in the rain. Pale blue eyes. Blue eyes.

St. George said...

It's all over now baby....

Rusty said...

If my children ever wasted their inheritance(hah!)to do that to my rotting corpse the resulting diamond would be blacker than hell and twice as hot.
Girls. Just toss me in a hole and head for Disneyland. I assure you I won't give a damn.

chickenlittle said...

I wrote what I thought was a nice explanation of why blue diamonds are blue link. Later on, a commenter named "Blue Diamond" wrote and said as much in a comment. Then a third party emailed and demanded that blue diamond's comment be deleted. I deleted blue diamond's comment but pasted it beneath it to preserve it. Result? Everybody happy.

The Godfather said...

I was going to say that the idea of turning the deceased into a diamond is grotesque, but then I thought: It's no damn business of mine. I won't do it to anyone I love, and I doubt that anyone I love will do it to me, but if for others this makes a loss easier to bear, go for it.

Ann Althouse said...

It's not as if the whole body is compressed until it becomes a diamond. They're just taking the 18% that is carbon. What ghoulish process strips out the carbon and what happens to everything else?

How do they do that? And do you really trust them to do it as opposed to hand you some generic processed diamond?

Ann Althouse said...

If people believe the diamond is blew because the eyes were blue, seems like they're inclined to believe whatever seems pretty.

Ann Althouse said...

When you get "cremains" back after a cremation, it's obvious that you're just getting some bones, ground up, but that's not all carbon, in fact, it's not carbon at all, if what I saw by googling is correct. The chemical composition of cremains is:

Phosphate 47.5% Calcium 25.3% Sulfate (Sulphate) 11.00% Potassium 3.69% Sodium 1.12% Chloride 1.00% Silica 0.9% Aluminum Oxide 0.72% Magnesium 0.418% Iron Oxide 0.118% Zinc 0.0342% Titanium Oxide 0.0260% Barium 0.0066% Antimony 0.0035% Chromium 0.0018% Copper 0.0017% Manganese 0.0013% Lead 0.0008% Tin 0.0005% Vanadium 0.0002% Beryllium <0.0001% Mercury <0.00001% -

chickenlittle said...

Althouse, if a person had old school dental fillings, they might have some silver or gold too. Or do the routinely remove such fillings at crematoria?

Ann Althouse said...

From the Wikipedia article on cremation:

"Cremated remains are mostly dry calcium phosphates with some minor minerals, such as salts of sodium and potassium. Sulfur and most carbon are driven off as oxidized gases during the process, although a relatively small amount of carbon may remain as carbonate. The ash remaining represents very roughly 3.5% of the body's original mass (2.5% in children)."

So I ask, how does this diamond-making operation extract the carbon from the body? The diamond is so clean and clear, but what mangling of the corpse does it represent?

chickenlittle said...

And that litany of elements is just a list of what's not volatile. The carbon, the nitrogen, the oxygen, the hydrogen, etc. all drift away into the ether. Carbon dioxide has some special physical properties which allow its easy separation from other gases.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's a discussion with a lot of detail about gold teeth and other stuff.

I think the key point is that gold teeth have very little and very low quality gold in them, so it's not worth much. But some people get their loved one's gold teeth and keep them as souvenirs.

Slightly related: I kept the baby teeth my sons lost.

Ann Althouse said...

"And that litany of elements is just a list of what's not volatile."

Those numbers come (supposedly) from a study of actual cremains, not a calculation based on knowing what would leave as a gas.

But if all the carbon goes because it becomes a gas, what method do this diamond-sellers use to get out the carbon?

chickenlittle said...

Once sequestered, the carbon dioxide can be reduced back to elemental carbon or even to hydrocarbons. I came up with a formula to calculate how big of chunk of dry ice your body sequesters here (approximately 2/3 of your body weight). It seems trivial to come up with a conversion factor of how big of diamond we each could be in carats.

Ann Althouse said...

My link goes to NPR.org, which links to the company's website, which says: "The first step of production is to extract the different potassic and calcium compounds (about 85% of the ash volume) from the carbon by means of chemical and physical procedures. In this process the salts are solubilized, chemically cut, admixed with inert gas and afterwards anew ignited. The carbon gained in this procedure forms the basis for the subsequent synthesis in that especially constructed synthesis facility. For the synthesis the whole cremation ashes can be used, however there is only an original amount of 500gr of cremation ashes needed - independent of the weight of the subsequent diamond. During the preparation process the remnant can be steered, hence more than one diamond can be produced. According to the general conditions the cremation ashes not used in the process can be retained in order to entomb it in an urn or to scatter it. In either case the requests of the bereaved as well as the last will of the deceased will be regarded."

Can anyone explain this? I'm seeing that there is no carbon in the cremated remains.

Ann Althouse said...

"500gr of cremation ashes needed - independent of the weight of the subsequent diamond"

???

Ann Althouse said...

"Once sequestered, the carbon dioxide can be reduced back to elemental carbon or even to hydrocarbons…."

But the company seems to be receiving standard cremains, not any sequestered gas.

I don't see how the diamond is composed of the carbon from the dead body.

chickenlittle said...

CO2 reduction to pure diamond may be a proprietary process but the reduction of CO2 to useful hydrocarbons is commercially interesting but economically moot compared to finding pre-existing stocks. I know you're asking how to get the reduction to stop at elemental carbon not continue on; these things aren't magical, but they all involve an input of energy. Nature accomplishes the reduction of CO2 using electrons and protons with water and sunlight as raw materials.

chickenlittle said...

I don't see how the diamond is composed of the carbon from the dead body.

Similar to the way a routine CH analysis is done for any new organic compound. The sample is exhaustively burned in O2, and the amounts of CO2 and water produced measured. This is essentially what Lavoisier discovered and what the Germans turned into a routine practice. I could self-link even more but that's crack-like behavior. As I said, collecting CO2 and separating it from other elements is pretty easy. But you're asking why bother -- why not cheat and provide a diamond with carbon sourced elsewhere? I don't have an answer for that one.

chickenlittle said...

OK, I see your point now. The company isn't doing the cremating. I agree, it sounds bogus.

chickenlittle said...

Calcium carbonate would be a nice carbon source if we were talking about cremating shellfish.

chickenlittle said...

Maybe the calcium phosphate present in bones is converted to carbonates.