Mattie Lennon Irish Author- FROM HAIR TO DIAMONDS


By Mattie Lennon

Tennessee Williams wrote, ”Man, when he burns, leaves only a handful
of ashes. No woman can hold him the wind must blow him away.”    Not
anymore. The ashes of the departed can now be converted into an actual
diamond. The word diamond comes from the ancient Greek αδάμας – adámas
meaning unbreakable.
Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure
at depths of about 200 miles underground and the process can take up
to 3.3 billion years. The raw material is Carbon-containing minerals.
But diamonds can also be created in a special laboratory.  This
involves a high-pressure  process using very high-temperature which
simulates the conditions in which diamonds are naturally formed.
There are a few companies in the world offering this service but the
best known in this part of the world is Phoenix Memorial Diamonds. All
they need is the ashes, hair or nails of the deceased (they can also
make diamonds from the ashes of your deceased pet.)    I asked
Managing Director Mike Kelly for a bit of information on their
product, “Phoenix Memorial Diamonds are genuine diamonds. They are not
synthetic or cheap imitation but real diamonds only created in a
laboratory. They possess the exact same characteristics of mined
diamonds, they are cut and polished in exactly the same way as natural
diamonds have been for centuries. . . They have all the attributes of
natural rare (fancy) diamonds ripped from huge mines – same fire, same
hardness but without the social stigma, the blood sweat and tears of
hard labour or the environmental issues having a massive impact on the

What colours can they make?
“We only grow NATURAL coloured diamonds. We do not ‘irradiate’ to

change the colour. The usual and natural outcome when using human or
animal carbon is a canary yellow diamond. It is also possible to make
diamonds in NATURAL shades of blue [and by extra processing – pink,
red and green]. We stick to two – Canary yellow and a Free-Range Blue.
Mined diamonds in these colours are called ‘fancies’ and can costs
many thousands of pounds per carat – sometimes more than the
white/clear diamonds we are all familiar with. The yellow and blue hue
does  not stop the fire and the scintillation of light sparkling

Being a man of enquiring mind I did, of course, ask Mr Kelly, “How
do you do it?” Only to be told,
“Our process is a trade secret, backed by years of expertise using
very special scientific processes, but put simply – we emulate nature
– by using fantastic heat, massive pressures, over a period of time.
Instead of millions of years it can be achieved in a few months. We
then cut and polish the created raw diamond just like mined ones have
been for hundreds of years. The human body is basically carbon (and
water and other minerals). The lab’ take the carbon, purify it and use
it in the HHHP process but instead of Millions of years the process
can be completed in about 3 months.”
Why make diamonds only from the remains of the dead? Rod Stewart
once famously said, “There is no point in getting married; just find a
woman you don’t like and give her a house.” What put that into my
head? Well . . . since Phoenix Diamonds can also make diamonds from
hair why not take the hair of a woman that you don’t like and have it
made into a diamond for a woman that you do . . .?
Mr Kelly and his team of experts don’t make diamonds only from the
remains of the dead. Francis L. Cornford said that nothing should ever
be done for the first time. Phoenix Memorial Diamonds certainly didn’t
take his advice; the company has several “firsts” under its belt.
They made the first diamonds from umbilical cords, dead bees (“that
died from natural causes but from the deaths of  2500 honey bees they
will live-on, because from their bodies we extracted their unique
carbon, compressed it at 10,000 tons/sq.ins. and heated it to 1300c
for some time, to produce a raw diamond which we cut and polished with
58 facets in a brilliant cut.” ) And . . .wait for it; Glasgow artist
– Teresa Margolles – asked if it was possible to make a Blue diamond
from the detritus of the ‘London Riots’ (using carbon extracted from
various bits of wood, sweepings and other debris) The result? Mike
Kelly tells me, “After extensive processing, we are proud to show the
actual diamond featured in the exhibition.”
Mr Kelly also told me about another “first” Promessa Diamonds but
being a low-tech animal I wasn’t able to grasp the finer points of the
process. But you dear digitally-included reader will find all the info
on their website;
Phoenix Memorial Diamonds, Hulley Road, Macclesfield, SK102LP, UK.

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