The Funeral Business Reinvents Itself with Online Cremation and Ashes Turned into Diamonds

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    The possibility of turning ashes into diamond is another option offered, thanks to an agreement with the Spanish subsidiary of the Swiss multinational Algordanza.

    Requesting an online cremation process for a deceased, with a single price, return of the ashes in 72 hours, and with the option of transforming them into diamonds is the innovative proposal of a Portuguese company that wants to open up to Europe and explore more ecological business channels. “We wanted to do something simple, at a fair price, and make it the same for everyone”, explains in an interview with Efe Vitor Oliveira, CEO and founder of CRE-MAR, the first online cremation company in Portugal and winner of the Road 2 of the Web Summit, one of the most important technological events in the world.

    The process is itself “very fast” in order not to prolong the client’s grief. Once the interested client fills in all the data and requests the service through the website, the company approaches in less than 2 hours to sign the release of the body.

    After this step, the body is transferred to the cold room of one of the local mortuaries with which they work, where it remains for 24 hours, to later incinerate it and deliver the ashes to the client in an urn.

    The entire procedure, from the removal of the body to the return of the ashes, costs € 895, “the cheapest at this time”, and is carried out in a maximum period of 3 days or 72 hours. “It is a business that is here to help people. It has a social aspect which is what makes me happier and happier; the fact of helping. I did not go against the funeral business, I wanted to improve it”, explains Oliveira, who emphasizes that the procedure also seeks to pollute less.

    Paradoxically, it is a very “live” market

    The start-up company was born last September of this year and, so far, it has carried out 9 cremations, but its goal is to grow. He even plans to change his name to give it a more “international” perspective.

    Before the end of this year, they will be able to perform in the main Portuguese cities and, by the end of 2022, they aspire to have a presence throughout the Portuguese territory and advance in the local market.

    According to estimates by CRE-MAR, cremation is used, on average, in Portugal in 40% of deaths. “We have a goal of close to 20% of the market, 8,500 cremations per year (…) in the upcoming years, that is what will ensure that there is sufficient turnover to supply the business”, adds Oliveira.

    Cremations are increasing in many countries. For this reason, CRE-MAR wants to make the European leap by creating franchises in Spain, France, Italy and Finland -where the percentage is around 50%, according to company data- and Sweden -where it is higher than 70%- with the purpose of achieving, in the long term, 5% of the local markets. “The funeral business is ceremonies, while for us it is volume of business, so that is the only way to grow”, sums up the Portuguese executive.

    From ashes to diamonds

    The possibility of turning ashes into diamonds is another option offered, thanks to an agreement with the Spanish subsidiary of the Swiss multinational Algordanza. CRE-MAR delivers the ashes to the Algordanza headquarters, where they are subjected to a complex chemical treatment that includes the extraction of carbon from the remains, its transformation into graphite, crystallization and, finally, diamond sculpting.

    Each procedure depends on the carbon concentration, and each diamond has its own natural bluish tone due to the presence of boron in the body, as well as due to the reflection of light depending on its own physical structure. “We have a waiting list because each diamond process is slow, treated personally”, explains the CEO of CRE-MAR. Diamonds range from € 3,900 to € 32,000, depending on the carats, whether they are rough, or according to the different types of cut.

    The next step for the Portuguese company is to launch an investment round to implement alkaline hydrolysis, a much more ecological method, which is already legal in places such as Washington, D.C. A formula that reduces carbon emissions and that, says Oliveira, will be one of the alternatives for the funeral business in the future.

    Resonance Costa Rica

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