May 2, 2019 9:04 pm
Updated: May 2, 2019 9:08 pm

Variety, technology on display at funeral trade show in Kelowna

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“This is a diamond made from my grandfather’s cremated remains.”

That’s right: A diamond made from human ashes.

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“They take cremated remains, extract the carbon from it and they can create an actual synthetic diamond with it,” said Rene de Diego of Remembrance Diamonds.

Memorial diamonds are just some of the many innovations on display in Kelowna at a conference hosted by the Funeral Service Association of Canada.

David Frew of Loved Remembered says demand for commemorative jewelry like this is growing.

“Jewelry is used to commemorate all of our special occasions,” said Frew. “And ours is made very discreet.

“It doesn’t actually look like an urn, it looks like a beautiful piece of jewelry, but it’s serving that function of keeping that memory close to the heart.”

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Technology is now playing a huge role in funeral services, with more people choosing to use the internet to livestream services for loved ones who can’t be there.

Jason Potter has been operating a business called Live Memorial Services for five years and is seeing steady growth.

“We’ve actually streamed to viewers in 130 countries around the world,” said Potter. “Every continent, almost every country.

“When we look at those numbers, how spread out people are, you may be in Africa, you may be in Europe but you have a close loved one who has passed here in Canada, and we want and we want to give you the ability to have that closure and process that grief.”

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As the funeral industry offers new and innovative ways to say goodbye to loves ones, perhaps the biggest change of all is how services are being customized.

“Families want something that’s personal, meaningful,” said Patrick Downey of the B.C. Funeral Association.

“The type of service that we see today has a lot more variety of where the service might take place. The components within the service, for example — if someone was an avid golfer, it may include their golf bag or you may have a lot more pictures, memory tables, videos.”

Of course, all these new funeral choices come at a cost. For instance, for a third of a carat memorial diamond, the price was pegged around $5,500.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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