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Turning Human Ashes into a Diamond: the Biggest Challenge of the Funeral Industry?

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

In Korea, as in China, Due to the Influence of Confucianism, Burial Was the Main Custom
In Korea, as in China, Due to the Influence of Confucianism, Burial Was the Main Custom


  1. Korean Views on Life and Death

  2. Burial and Mourning for the Dead in Korea

  3. Unique Burial Customs in Korea

  4. Views on Memorial Diamond in Korea

This article introduces the Korean view of life and death, unique burial customs in Korea, and how Korean people think about the memorial diamond.

At first glance, traditional Korean funerals might be very different from those in other countries. Korean funerals are rooted in Chinese Confucianism, which shows how one should live. Will this traditional Korean funeral practice have any impact on alternative ones such as memorial diamonds?

Korean Views on Life and Death

Confucian principles define a person's status within a family or community. Confucianism has no explicit belief in an afterlife. Confucianism is centered on ancestor worship and filial piety. Some people are Buddhists or Protestants, and more than 50 percent do not identify with a religion in Korea. Many people believe that their deceased relatives depart from this world to the next. People believe that it is their duty to help the deceased make a smooth transition to the afterlife in case their loved one becomes a wandering ghost called a “객귀(客鬼)” in Korea.

Burial and Mourning for the Dead in Korea

Choosing whether to be buried or cremated is a typical choice that people face before they die. There is also the consideration of whether the remains should be placed in a burial mound or in an urn or even under a tree.

Burial(土葬) was the most common custom among Koreans. The coffin is filled with soil, and the grave is not deep and remains visible to remind the family of their loss. The coffin is made of wood and other natural materials to decompose quickly.

However, in recent years, cremation has been increasing in Korea due to the problem of less space for burial. According to new research released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, South Korea’s cremation rate will reach almost 92% by 2023. The growing demand for cremation in Korea is due to the lack of space above ground. Furthermore, under South Korean law, it’s required that anyone who buries a deceased person after the year 2000 must remove the grave 60 years after the burial.

Along with this fact, unique burial customs have also emerged in Korea.

Unique Burial Customs in Korea

Burial Beads

In Korea, People Choose to Turn the Ashes of the Deceased into Shiny Beads Instead of Placing Them in an Urn
In Korea, People Choose to Turn the Ashes of the Deceased into Shiny Beads Instead of Placing Them in an Urn

These beads are not generally worn, but they are very beautiful. The beads come in a variety of colors, including shiny blue-green, pink, and black, but the most common color is soft blue-green. These beads are not usually worn but are usually displayed in a clear glass container or dish. This is a way for Koreans to keep the deceased close to them and cherish their memory while obeying the law.

Home, House of Memory and Eternity

A lab-grown diamond In this method of memorial service, the remains and ashes of the deceased are kept in a library-like facility. In this unique method of mourning, the ashes and personal belongings of the deceased are placed in a box inside a leather hardcover-shaped book.

It signifies that a deceased person’s life is like a book. Each person is offered two books, with one for their remains and one for their personal effects. These include photos, glasses, pens, cell phones, rings, or letters that a person left behind when they died. Letters written to the deceased from loved ones can also be included. Family members safeguard the keys and can come open the book whenever they wish.

Memorial Diamond

A memorial diamond is a lab-grown diamond made from carbon extracted from the remains, ashes, or hair of the deceased.

The brilliance of a memorial diamond is reminiscent of the brilliance of the deceased before their death, and keeping and wearing the remains diamond close to you will make you feel as if you are always near your loved one. You can also create elegant and well-designed rings, pendants, earrings, and other jewelry with memorial diamonds.

Views on Memorial Diamond in Korea

A Memorial Diamond Is a Real Diamond, Just like a Natural Diamond
A Memorial Diamond Is a Real Diamond, Just like a Natural Diamond

In recent years, a variety of burial customs have emerged. In addition to the well-known burial, ossuary, and natural burial, there are more and more burial customs that are special and beautiful for the deceased, such as the nitrogen-cooling method that rapidly cools the body and the space burial that launches the body into space. In particular, memorial diamonds are attracting attention as new burial customs.

The technology for manufacturing synthetic diamonds has been in practical use since the mid-1950s when the American company GE developed it as a small industrial diamond. Over time, the business of creating brilliant diamonds from the ashes and the hair of loved ones has flourished in Switzerland.

Will This Memorial Diamond Business Be Accepted in Korea?

Older people may be resistant to this idea. This is especially those who value burial customs in Korea.

Having said that, the reality is that the demand for cremation is increasing every year in Korea, and at the same time, the attention to memorial diamonds is also increasing.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are placing more emphasis on cremation, and Korea is one of them, so cremation and diamonds made from ashes will attract more attention in the future.

Korea has achieved very rapid industrial development. However, in the field of funerals and burial services, it is still far behind developed countries. Koreans are very reluctant to discuss death itself because of their traditional Confucian views. Many people care a lot about well-being, but there is a lack of awareness about well-dying.

The acceptance of new ways of mourning, such as memorial diamonds, in Korea, will change funerals for the better and allow more families to feel closer to their loved ones in a beautiful and honorable way.

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