Hong Kong (CNN) — Eva Wu has kept her son's room unchanged ever since he died in January of 2011. Cornald passed away from a rare form of cancer, known as PEComa, at age 17. Divorced and single, Wu recalled his optimism even in his final days.
"He always comforted me. He said 'Mummy, I know what's going on. I'm not afraid of dying. I know where I'm going to. I have Jesus in my heart so don't worry about me'."
To keep him close in death as he was in life, Wu had his ashes made into a diamond. "I feel peace. I feel he's near me. And it's 100% him. Nothing else but him," said Wu, who keeps the diamond on a cross necklace. "And I can recall his smiling face, and I can recall his gentle character."
How you make diamond out of a dead person:
The ashes-to-diamond process is fairly straightforward... 200 grams of cremated remains [is sent to a] laboratory in Switzerland. The carbon from those ashes is then filtered out to more than 99% purity and refined into silky, black graphite. A machine then applies volcano-like pressure and temperature: Nine hours later, a synthetic diamond — which has a bluish rather than clear tint, owing to boron found naturally in the body — is born.But the diamond is not the person. A human is not a thing but a process. The diamond only shows the process at the time of death. Because of turnover, the soft parts of a person you haven't seen in 6 or more months are mostly made of different elements. The human is ultimately a "passing through," to use the language of Bruno Latour. Meaning, we are images maintained by entering and exiting elements. A picture of person is much closer to the truth than a diamond composed of their elements.