For $595, a company will transform a dead person or pet into smooth 'parting stones' that slip into your pocket
The remains of the average person can be converted into 40 to 60 "stones" using the Parting Stone method. Courtesy Parting Stone
Parting Stone, a New Mexico-based company, offers an alternative to storing the ashes of your loved ones: turning them into "stones."
For $ 595, you can turn the remains of a dead loved one into smooth objects that look and feel like river stones.
The average person gets 40 to 60 stones after they die.
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The coronavirus has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States and has seen cremations surge to alleviate stifling demand for a funeral industry unprepared for a deadly pandemic. Traditionally, traditional burials took a nosedive.
In fact, in 2020, about 37.5% of the U.S. deceased could be buried, down 7.7 percentage points from 2015, and about 56% will be cremated, up 8.1 percentage points from five years ago. This emerges from a July report by the National Funeral Directors Association.
However, this is an acceleration of an ongoing trend: around 2015, more deceased were cremated than buried for the first time in the US, and NFDA data suggests that there will be two cremations for every burial in 2025, down from five cremations to one Burial through grow 2040.
In this shift, entrepreneurs and technologists have seen the opportunity: instead of keeping the cremated remains of a loved one in an urn for perhaps one day scattering, bodies can now be composted, turned into vegetable food bowls, turned into diamonds, or more recently, by the dozen pressed by smooth, stone-like objects.
"Getting these was transformative in some ways," said Garth Clark, who turned his parents to stone, in a video for Parting Stone, the company that "solidifies" cremated remains. "I use them as a kind of worry pearl."
The company developed the technology in partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and later worked with more than 200 funeral directors across the country to convert ashes, bone fragments and other materials found in cremated remains into "dividing stones".
Dividers founder Justin Crowe told Business Insider about the technology his company developed, why people might choose dividers instead of urns, and how he holds the remains of his own grandfather in his hand.
Note: The following answers have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
How do you make the stones?
The process of solidifying remains requires only a few basic steps after cremation. Upon arrival at the stone laboratory, all of the granular cremated remains are gently refined into powder. A small amount of binder is added to create a clay-like material from which the solids are formed. The solids are carefully placed in an oven to solidify, then polished and returned to the family.
Parting Stone claims its product can "outlive us on earth". Courtesy of Parting Stone
How much does it cost to turn a person into stones? How about a pet?
Our freezing service is $ 595.00 for a human, $ 295.00 for a dog, and $ 245.00 for a cat.
How do the stones feel?
The solidified remains look and feel very much like normal river stones. The material is clean and durable like ceramic. The solids do not dissolve in water and do not scratch with your fingernail. They will survive us on earth.
How many stones does an average person get after death?
Solidification in an adult results in about 40 to 60 solids. Alternatively, suppose we receive 8 cups of conventional cremated remains after cremation. Our process yields roughly the same amount, 8 cups of solidified remains.
What do people usually do with their stones? Do you distribute them among family members or do you keep them in a container like ashes?
One of the most exciting parts of developing this technology has been seeing all of the new ways people can keep in touch with loved ones. Many people will share the solidified remains with friends and family, travel with them, leave them in meaningful places, or carry the solidified remains in their pockets every day.
A customer held an "reveal party" with his family where they met, poured champagne, and together opened the box of solidified remains. Everyone could see for the first time the shape and natural color of the remains of loved ones. They passed them around the kitchen table, telling stories about the lives of their loved ones, and at the end of the night everyone was allowed to take home the stones they liked best.
For $ 595, Parting Stone will turn the remains of loved ones into pocket-sized "stones". Courtesy Parting Stone
How does a family planning a cremation find out about this alternative to traditional ashes?
When planning a death with one of our funeral homes, families have the option of receiving either cremated remains or frozen remains after the cremation.
If a family is already living with ashes, they can request our consolidation service directly on our website. We will then send you a collection kit to start the process.
What is the return guarantee?
If a family is not satisfied with the frozen remains, Parting Stone can turn them into an ash-like material. We know that this form of remains is new to many people and that remains are often among our most prized possessions. That's why we want to make sure every family we work with feels safe choosing this option.
Isn't it a little strange - maybe even creepy - to turn people into stones?
As a person who has lived with ashes, I find cremated remains creepy and uncomfortable. You can see fragments of bones, you are always nervous when you spill them or attract you, and sometimes embarrassing to get them out when people visit your home.
Solidified remains are beautiful to live with and have enabled me to feel a meaningful connection with my grandfather's remains - something I have never felt compared to traditional ashes.
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