What would it take to melt bones?

Knowledge series: Funeral diamond - cremation processes in Vienna and Germany


Life is so breathtaking that death fell in love with it, a green-eyed, mean love that seizes everything it can. No matter how old a loved one is, when they die, we will feel like we haven't spent enough time with them. That is why death is often viewed as a tragedy. In response to the pain of death, we then celebrate that person's life again - especially if the person has lived his life to the fullest and was loved by others. This is done in many different ways, such as a religious funeral, an intense burial ceremony, or even a cremation.


The term "cremation" is derived from the Latin word "cremo" and means the burning of a dead body. The modern cremation process is defined as the burning of a corpse using a column of flame at a temperature of around 1000 degrees Celsius in a furnace powered by natural gas or oil. When the process is complete, only bones and ashes remain, called cremation ash. Science defines the cremation process as the burning, evaporation and oxidation of corpses to form basic chemical compounds. These components include gases, ashes and mineral parts, which preserve the appearance of dry bones.

Ancient cremation in the open air

History of cremation in Germany and the world

Nobody can say exactly when the person started using the cremation process for the deceased. However, there is evidence that people in China lived in 8,000 BC. Were cremated. Most experts, however, come to the conclusion that cremations occurred around 3,000 BC. BC (early Stone Age) would have gained in importance. It is believed that this custom originated in Europe and the Middle East and later spread to northern Europe in the Late Stone Age. There is evidence of thorough funeral planning and the cremation process using ornate pottery excavated in western Russia.

Ancient cremation in the open air

In the Bronze Age, cremation spread to the areas in what is now Spain, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Ireland. Centuries later, groups such as the Freemasons, Revolutionaries, and Anarchists practiced cremation to reduce the influence of the Catholic Church. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church opposed cremation in Germany and other Christian states until the 20th century.

In Asia, body cremation was mainly practiced by Buddhists, both in China and Korea as early as AD 1300. The modern cremation process began at the end of the 19th century.

Requiem before cremation

The cremation process

There are no fixed rules for cremation in Germany. Instead, the burial or cremation process varies depending on tradition, culture and religion. Sometimes decisions will depend on the specific services and available options offered by funeral directors. However, funeral homes and crematoriums usually work closely together to meet the funeral and cremation needs of the deceased and the family.

The cremation process can be structured so that a ceremony takes place either before or after the actual cremation of the body. The ashes are sometimes displayed in an urn on the same day of the ceremony after the actual cremation process is completed. This makes it impossible to definitely say how long a cremation process will take.

A requiem or other religious ceremony can be performed either on the day the body is cremated or beforehand as part of the cremation process. Of course, a medical certificate must always be deposited with the coroner or the doctor, stating the cause of death, in order to authorize the cremation of a corpse. Once this is in place, the physical combustion process can begin.

If a formal religious ceremony such as a mass is to take place before the actual cremation in Germany, the undertakers often provide a coffin in which the deceased is kept. This coffin is not subsequently cremated with the body, so burial and cremation can be viewed as two separate parts of the cremation process. If the coffin is not cremated, the ashes from the cremation itself are also preserved. This is how you can make diamonds from ashes.

Requiem before cremation
The coffin on the way to the cremation chamber

Before any cremation in Germany, family members (or in most cases the funeral directors) remove jewelry and any medical devices (such as pacemakers and spinal cord stimulators) from the deceased's body. As part of the incineration process, a declaration is required that confirms that no potentially dangerous devices are left on the body. Medical devices can explode during the cremation process, damaging the cremator as well as injuring personnel.

Cremation chambers are designed to hold only one body at a time, which allows the ashes of each body to be collected individually. The simultaneous cremation of several corpses is illegal in Germany and many other countries. While this regulation has nothing to do with the process of turning ashes into diamonds, it is the first step in ensuring that a funeral diamond was actually made from the remains of a loved one.

In modern crematoria, the body is stored in a temperature-controlled room until it is transferred to the combustion chamber, where the actual cremation takes place. Before cremation, it is preheated to around 600 degrees Celsius. The body is quickly transported through a mechanized door to avoid heat loss.

As soon as the door is closed, the body is exposed to a strong column of flames of around 1,000 degrees Celsius. First, the high temperature dries the body (75% of the human body is made up of water), then it quickly burns and vaporizes all the soft tissues and muscles. In the final phase of the cremation process, the bones calcify. After the cremation is complete, only ashes remain. This is the ashes that will be turned into diamonds.

Cremated remains

However, the remains are not ashes as is popularly assumed, but rather resemble dry bone fragments. These are then usually processed by a cremulator - a machine that turns the fragments into ashes. This process usually takes about 20 minutes. This final step in the cremation process results in a type of dust with the texture and color of fine sand.

The weight of the cremated remains is approximately 1.8 kg for adult women and 2.7 kg for adult men. These ashes can be turned into diamonds. Ash volume varies depending on several factors and is an important consideration when turning cremation ash into diamonds.

Cremated remains

The average human body takes two to three hours to be fully cremated. After the cremation process is complete, all that remains is the cremation ashes. Not everyone decides to pick up the cremation ashes from the crematorium. Sometimes the bereaved choose to allow the undertaker or the crematorium operator to dispose of the cremation ashes.

However, those who choose to keep the ashes of their loved ones for themselves have several options. The ashes from cremation can be buried in a cemetery. Some cemeteries have special buildings called columbariums to store the ashes. Cremation ashes can also be kept in an urn at home in certain cases, or scattered at sea or on private land.

As the final step in the cremation process, the ashes can be turned into another object. Ash can be combined with other materials and made into fireworks or used as ink for tattoos. It can be added to artificial reefs in the ocean. The ashes can also be thrown into space or carried across the ocean in a helium balloon.

It is also possible - as the last step in the cremation process - to create a diamond from ashes. The transformation of ashes into diamonds creates a beautiful heirloom that is a permanent reminder of the lost person. This choice ends the cremation process and allows the surviving loved ones to cherish the memorial diamond as an expression of their love for the deceased.

Cremation in Vienna, Berlin and the rest of Germany, like the cremation process itself, have changed considerably over time. How cremation works and how to be cremated is now more than ever a matter of personal preference. For many people, however, the cremation process is still shaped by cultural and religious beliefs.

Culture and Religious Views on Cremation

Judaism - The Jewish religion has always rejected cremation. Jews believe that the dead should be buried in a coffin as soon as possible. The cremation also brings back memories of the Holocaust in some Jews. However, the cremation process is now viewed by many Jews as an alternative option. Reformed Judaism allows cremation, although it is still taboo among traditional Jews.

Major religions worldwide

Islam - According to Islamic Sharia law, the corpse must be buried underground after death. Cremation is strictly forbidden. Islam leaves very little leeway on this subject and only allows cremation in the event of outbreaks of disease and only if this is approved by clergy. The resurrection of the physical body is a major reason in Islam and burial is the only way that it is believed possible.

Christians - Christianity believes in the resurrection of the body at the return of Jesus Christ and has therefore historically forbidden cremation. Burning bodies was reserved for criminals, enemies and idols. However, most denominations in Christianity today allow cremation, and some Roman Catholic cemeteries have columbaria for burial with ashes. The early Christian church vetoed cremation as it was practiced by pagan societies such as the Romans.

Major religions worldwide

Hinduism - Unlike other major religions, Hindus have long practiced cremation as a method of disposing of bodies. Their belief in reincarnation and the concept of the soul, which develops over many lifetimes, prioritizes the spiritual over the physical body. Hindus also see cremation as a sacrifice to Agni, the Hindu god of fire, and as a way to help the soul move on to a new body.

Eastern Orthodox Christians - Orthodox Christians believe that the body is a gift from God and therefore cremation is unacceptable. However, some devotees choose to cremate after the funeral mass. In extreme circumstances this has even been punished by the Church, but for devout followers, burial is the only option.

Atheism - Atheists do not believe in one or more gods, nor in life after death. There is also no hard and fast guideline of what atheists believe. Hence, there are no established practices regarding burials or the course of cremation. The cremation process is considered a practical choice and is sometimes determined by the deceased himself. Funerals are also personalized events without a set liturgy or formula.

Buddhism - Like Hindus, Buddhists also believe in reincarnation and that the dead go through a transformation in order to be born again. Like the Hindus, the Buddhists have long practiced cremation. Cremation is part of the typical Buddhist funeral service and takes place four days after death so that the soul has time to move on to a new body.

The number of cremations in a society varies worldwide depending on culture, economy, religion and regional factors. Countries like Nepal, the only Hindu kingdom in the world, have a quota of over 95%. The cremation process is also very common in India, again due to the religious background of the country.

The availability of land also plays a role in the acceptance of the incineration process. Funeral and cremation are practically synonymous in countries like Japan. Large cities in Scandinavia have rates of up to 90%, while the national average in Norway, for example, is only 36%.

However, countries where the Catholic Church predominates have a much lower rate. The incineration process is used in around 10% of cases in countries such as Italy and Poland. The high availability of cemetery parcels can also contribute to the fact that burials are carried out on a larger scale than cremations.

Public opinion on the cremation process changes over time. For Vienna and Germany as a whole, around 50% now opt for cremation, in England the rate rose steadily from 34.70% in 1960 to 75.44% in 2015. Almost all younger people in South Korea, where cremation is already far is common, say they want to be cremated. By 2020, the cremation process is expected to be the most common choice in the United States.

Understanding how the cremation process works and how to be cremated has contributed to the acceptance of the cremation process. Attitudes towards the safekeeping, storage and conversion of cremation ashes into other objects are also changing. Turning ashes into diamonds, which are treasured as keepsakes, is a growing practice today.

An urn is not a
Must for cremation

Myths and Misconceptions

The cremation process has always been associated with various myths and misconceptions. For example, some people believe that the ashes get mixed with other people's ashes during the incineration process. The fact is that the crematorium staff is very professional from the start of the funeral planning and the cremation chamber is thoroughly cleaned after each cremation. The ashes that are returned to the family are really that of the loved one, and a diamond made from these ashes is also real.

Some people believe that family members must buy an urn and place it in a columbarium to hold a memorial service. The fact is that the funeral and cremation procedures can be handled according to the wishes of the relatives. Likewise, the ashes can be disposed of in a number of ways, including converting cremation ashes into diamonds.

Some people consider cremation to be an environmentally sound choice. However, using fossil fuels in the incineration process negates some of the environmental savings of a traditional burial. Depending on the type of burial and the disposal of the ashes, the cremation process may or may not be more environmentally friendly.

An urn is not a
Must for cremation

A final misunderstanding is that cremation involves burning the body on a pyre with wood or other combustible material. This would mix the combustion residue with the ashes of the wood. In fact, the body is burned at extremely high temperatures (between 800 and 1200 degrees Celsius) in a well-designed furnace. Cremation remains are solely the remains of the body's cremation.

Pros and cons of cremation

Aside from religious reasons, some people prefer cremation to traditional burial for a number of reasons, such as: B. for fear of the long and tedious decomposition process after burial in the ground. The cremation process, on the other hand, is very quick and results in ashes that can be stored or turned into diamonds.

Cremation is also seen as a way to simplify the burial process. Depending on the type of burial, the cremation process can be much cheaper than a traditional burial. Cremation is also popular with expatriates as the ashes can be easily transported.

Turning cremation ashes into diamonds also enables families to keep cremated remains with them, even if they move. Burials or placing ashes in a cemetery columbarium can sometimes mean separation when the family moves away.

A traditional burial is usually more expensive

Cremation costs

Cremation costs are generally much cheaper than a traditional burial, especially if the ashes are not interred. Recently, however, cremation costs have increased, in part because crematoriums are adapting their equipment to new environmental regulations.

The cremation costs in Germany are between 200 and 500 euros, depending on the funeral plan. These pure cremation costs do not yet include a funeral or memorial service.

Because cremation is often viewed as a cheaper form of burial, it is sometimes associated with low-income families. In fact, the combustion process appeals to all walks of life. The fact that diamonds can be made from cremation ashes shows the appeal of cremation for all income levels, regardless of the low cremation costs. In addition, many celebrities have also opted for cremation, including:

A typical incinerator
  • The physicist Albert Einstein
  • John F. Kennedy, former US President
  • Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Wangari Mathai, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
  • Tupac Shakur, a rapper and actor
  • Singer / songwriter Amy Winehouse
  • Walt Disney
  • K.R. Narayanan, former President of India
A typical incinerator

Nonetheless, cremation also has potential disadvantages:

  • If the family wants to bury the ashes, another grave site has to be secured.
  • Since cremation is much cheaper than a traditional burial, some funeral directors add additional costs to make up for the loss of revenue.
  • There is an additional cost to purchasing the urn if the leftovers are kept.
  • Cremation emits carbon dioxide - one of the most important greenhouse gases. In addition, cremation also uses fossil fuels.
  • Some people feel that cremation makes the mourning process more difficult because there is no body afterwards.
Modern cremation equipment

Trends and technological advances

The modern combustion process, which is used all over the world today, was invented in 1873 by an Italian professor named Brunett during the Viennese disposition. The number of crematoriums around the world has increased steadily since then, and additional technological advances have dramatically improved the cremation process.

Alkaline hydrolysis, a new technology, is currently enjoying increasing popularity. It is known as "green cremation" because it does not generate carbon dioxide and significantly reduces the use of fossil fuels. Instead of a flame, a liquid is used to burn the body in about the same amount of time. "Green cremation" only consumes about 25% of the energy compared to traditional cremation.

Green cremation is growing in popularity and is likely to be the most widespread and most energy efficient cremation method in the future. As with traditional cremation, the "green cremation" also produces cremated remains that can be returned to the family. These remains are called "bone shadows" and can be subjected to an additional process after the "green cremation".

Pets - family members

Pet cremation in Germany

Valued and loved pets such as dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, and even reptiles are often cremated. This is often done by a veterinarian in an incinerator specifically designed for the cremation of pets. The global pet cremation market is estimated to be around $ 3 billion.

However, the pet cremation industry is largely unregulated, resulting in multiple animal cremations, counterfeit cremation, and sometimes the return of counterfeit ashes to pet owners. Pet owners are strongly advised to contact reputable animal funeral service providers to ensure that the remains returned to them are truly those from the pet's cremation.

The ashes of pets can also be turned into diamonds. The volume of ash required to make a diamond can be challenging. However, the basic process of using the carbon in the ashes to make a diamond is the same - whether it's human remains or those from pet cremation.

Pets - family members
Monument of
Tri-State Crematorium

Cremation scandal

The scandal surrounding the tri-state crematorium in the US state of Georgia astonished many Americans in early 2002. More than 300 bodies were never cremated due to the incineration capacity and furnace malfunctions. The families received false ashes made from wood and cement.

The owner, Ray Brent Marsh, was arrested on over 300 criminal offenses and eventually charged by the Georgia state with 787 charges, including theft through deception, corpse abuse, funeral service fraud and false testimony. Marsh faced a potential prison term of thousands of years.

He ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Public relations related to the incident has resulted in a reassessment of the laws governing the incineration industry in the United States, Germany and the rest of the world, as well as stricter enforcement of professional rules.


The cremation process is increasingly used to bury the remains of humans and pets. Common misconceptions related to this are corrected and a more thorough understanding of cremation and options regarding how to deal with cremation ashes is emerging in cultures around the world. In general, it is noticeable that precise funeral planning is carried out almost everywhere.

Furthermore, respect for diversity in culture and religion means that it is up to the individual and their loved ones to make that final decision. This includes the decision on the cremation ashes. The decision to turn ashes into diamonds is fast becoming a heartfelt solution for people around the world.