As a third-generation funeral director, Paul Baue for years has helped the grieving put their finger on just the right tribute to a lost loved one. Now, he's helped a widower literally do just that.

Proving that diamonds indeed are forever, a client of his St. Charles County funeral service got a gem of a keepsake this month a 0.35-carat, round yellow diamond made from his late wife's ashes.

LifeGem needs 8 ounces of human ashes to make a diamond the company prizes for its "closeness and mobility," leaving the rest of the cremains to the family. Depending on size, LifeGem prices vary from about $2,500 for a quarter carat to about $14,000 for a full carat, VandenBiesen said.

"These remains are very precious and special to people, but they don't just have an aesthetic form and look," VandenBiesen said. "People actually really enjoy these, and that's really different from what you'd expect in the funeral profession."
The synthetic stone, ordered by a man in his 40s shortly after his wife's death from heart disease in May, is the handiwork of LifeGems.

"It was beautiful, really pretty," Baue said of the stone ordered by the widower, who requested privacy and declined to be interviewed for this story. "It's a great way to pay tribute to someone's life."

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