A Santa Fe, New Mexico start-up company partnered with Los Alamos National Lab to develop a new way to remember and honor loved ones who have died.
The company turns cremains, or ashes, into memorial stones.
When faced with the loss of his grandfather, Justin Crowe looked at how others went through the grieving process.
“After he died, I started to look at how other people were dealing with loss and I found that everyone was keeping cremated remains in their closet, their basement or their garage,” Crowe said.
An artist, Crowe started thinking of a way to create a new form of human remains that you can easily touch and hold and share among loved ones — solidified remains.
“I came up with the stone concept because I realized ashes were really gross and messy and uncomfortable and they started to feel kind of meaningless in people’s lives,” he said.
Crowe worked with scientists at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico to create the technology needed and start the lab process of transforming ashes into stones.
“We filter out contaminants like staples, screws and medical implants, and then, we turn that ash into a clay-like material,” he said. “The whole process looks a lot like ceramics.”
The stones are then crafted, fired and polished before returned to loved ones.
The only service of it’s kind at the moment, it’s already becoming an option in funeral homes across the country for those choosing cremation.
One customer says it’s more meaningful to have his father’s remains in his daily life.
“I travel a lot for work and so it’s nice to have small things that I can carry with me,” said Trevor Bahnson who lost his father.
Crowe hopes parting stone will serve as a source of healing for those grieving.
“With solidified remains, cremation and receiving the remains of your loved one really becomes this platform for healing and growth and engagement and community,” Crowe said.
Once the lab receives the ashes, the entire process of turning them into memorial stones takes about three weeks.
The cremains of a 100-pound person produces about two dozen stones.
The company also offers the service for deceased pets.
The service costs $595 for human remains, $395 for dog remains and $295 for cats.