Once upon a time, human beings were biodegradable. But with modern-day corpses shot full of embalming chemicals before being sealed inside metal coffins, it will be a long time, if ever, before those bodies go back into the earth.
The alternate method of cremation, of course, turns human bodies into ash; and now Swiss company Algordanza has taken it a step further, by figuring out how to compress that ash into diamonds. For US $5,000 to $22,000, your remains, or those of a loved one, can be turned into as many as nine diamonds, presumably depending on the volume of ash. And what's fascinating is that there is some color variation:
Most of the stones come out blue, [Algordanza CEO Rinaldo] Willy says, because contains trace amounts of boron, an element that bone formation. Occasionally, though, a diamond pops out white, yellow or close to black - Willy's not sure why. Regardless, he says, "every diamond from each person is slightly different. It's always a unique diamond."
Bling not your thing? Spanish industrial designer Gerald Moline can help you spend your next life entwined with a tree. Moline invented the Bios Urn, a kind of biodegradable pot created from coconut shell, peat and cellulose. With your ashes and the seed of your choice placed inside, the entire thing can then be buried. Once germination takes place, your soul is now in a position to provide some shade—or perhaps lumber—for the next generation.
The Bios Urn's default seed is for pine, but we know you design snobs will want to go for mahogany, walnut or maybe teak. (Extra points for irony: Stipulate in your will that the lumber be used to make a coffin for a future descendant.)