For only R85,000 you can turn your pet's ashes into a 'lifegem'
Pet cemetery of a different kind
A Johannesburg woman has spent R85,000 to turn her fallen furbaby’s ashes into a 0.6ct blue diamond.
The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, is one of many South Africans who are spending thousands on “living memorials”, hand-blown glass ornaments and synthetic diamonds to preserve the ashes of their beloved dogs, cats, hamsters, rats, bunnies, birds, bearded dragons and horses.
“It is a global trend – especially in Western societies – that pets are increasingly viewed as members of the family.
“It is for this main reason that we have seen an increase in the number of people choosing to get their pets individually cremated so that they can get the pets ashes back in memorial urns or caskets and other unique items,” Legacy Pet Crematorium director Dean Webb explained.The company, which operates cremation and memorialization services in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Mpumalanga, has received “many enquiries” for LifeGems, which are created from the ashes of dead pets.
The gems are created from the pet ashes using a four-step process by international gemologists. Options available to clients include coloured diamonds ranging in price from $1000 to $1-million.
Others are opting for a biodegradable urns, which turn ashes into trees once planted; hand-blown glass nuggets or pendants carrying a sprinkle of ashes; and personalised wooden, brass or ceramic urns.“Sadly, many people rely more on pets for their social and emotional needs than they do from members of their family or friends.
“Also, pets are now viewed as members of the family and are treated as such when they die,” Webb said.Pet owner Ada Spottiswoode said she rubbed the urn carrying the ashes of her dog Oscar whenever she walked past it.
“It gives me comfort to know that he is still here. I am probably turning batty because I even talk to him too.
“My Oscar is still at my side. I still mourn you, my boy, and I will always,” she wrote on Facebook.
Robynne Greyling said her foal was “safely at home with my horse Dante”. Both animals’ ashes are preserved in wooden boxes.Yanic Klue, the founder of at Frits Dog Hotel & Daycare Centre in Cape Town, said the preservation of her pet’s ashes has been on her mind lately.
“I heard at the beginning of January that my own dog Frits’s heart condition has deteriorated and that I have only six months with him, if I am lucky.
“I then grappled with this issue because ultimately Frits is my best friend. I thought if he has to die, what would I do?”
Klue has decided to opt for a “living memorial”.
“I would go for the biotree. Because if I plant a tree to celebrate his life, oxygen will be released and I will be doing something good.
“I understand that some people will want diamonds and granite tombstones, but that’s not for me.”