There is nothing quite like the pain of a lost companion. Whether human or pet, the attachment, and feelings formed around those relationships don’t just go away. That’s why more and more people look to new ways to properly memorialize what those feelings mean. Eterneva is a young company that’s looking to fill that void by providing solutions to those who are grieving any loss.
For Brittany Stanton, her bond with her dog Ollie was that special kind of momma/pup relationship that deserved something unique to commemorate what Ollie meant to her. Brittany took her dog on all kinds of adventures and loved him as a dear friend and dependent. It was beyond heartbreaking when she lost her sweet Ollie to a shocking encounter with toxic algae. But her bond was forever commemorated when she discovered the diamond creation process of Eterneva.
The Tragic Loss of Ollie
Brittany Stanton had a two-year-old retriever that LOVED the water. She is a non-native of Austin, but she did know that Lady Bird Lake was a must-see spot for those in the area. Brittany decided to pack him up one day with her kayak and hit the lake. This wasn’t an unusual kind of trip for her to make with her dog, and he was beyond excited to be there.
While there, Ollie jumped out of the kayak to go swimming several times. After exactly an hour on the lake, the duo headed to the park for a little fetch. Just 30 minutes after being out of the water, Ollie started having trouble. First, he lost strength in his legs, and then his breathing got shallow and his pulse weakened. In a panic, Brittany found the nearest emergency vet. Another dog owner rode in the back with Ollie as she sped him towards care. But, Ollie didn’t make it.
It wasn’t until days later that Brittany’s boyfriend found a news article about the toxic algae in Lady Bird Lake. Brittany had no idea that there was any possibility of toxicity in the lake. She was in a state of shock—heartbroken and crushed.
Remembering Ollie Through Eterneva
Her boyfriend was also the one that made the off-handed remark about turning Ollie into a diamond. Since Brittany had never heard of this, she had to look into what that process entailed. “I started looking into how the process works,” she says. “I knew that I could have him with me in a way that wasn’t just in an urn. This was an option where I could actually have him on my physical person.”
Brittany discovered Eterneva and read into their diamond lab and creation process. She knew that she wanted to set her ashes-filled diamond into a ring. This made it easy to look at him and keep him with her most of the time. She chose a one-carat yellow diamond to match his golden retriever coat. “Him being with me and it being his actual colors makes it feel a little more alive and vibrant,” she decided. She included some of her hair and her other dog’s fur (Ollie’s big brother), so they could all be together.
The Eterneva options are all in place to let loved ones make their pieces as personalized and memorable as possible. Ollie’s ashes were sent to the Eterneva lab where they would begin a nine month process to become a diamond.
First the ashes are prepped and turned into pure carbon, which is then placed into a unique diamond growth machine. This device has the capability to replicate the heat and pressure reaction required to create natural diamonds within the earth.
Once the process is complete, the diamond is assessed for quality and cut, and then colored and engraved. This is the last step before Ollie finally returns home as a beautiful yellow diamond ring.
Eterneva: Diamonds from Ashes
There is no true replacement for loss. Nothing can make it right. But, as Eterneva founder Adelle Archer knows, there are meaningful ways to commemorate loss and celebrate memories.
Archer lost her close friend and business partner, Tracey Kaufman, to a difficult battle with cancer. In her search for a way to remember her friend, she struggled to find solutions that weren’t cheap-looking or trinkety. She was already planning to start a lab-grown diamond company with Garrett Ozar, and then it hit her—why not use the carbon of cremated remains to grow a diamond?
It was an idea she kept working over until she had a good grasp of the entire picture.
From start to finish, the experience was carefully planned to be meaningful and personalized. The process takes eight months and Eterneva prices start at $3,000. The grieving person can choose color, size, and setting for their diamond. And pet owners are no different.
“A loved one is a loved one,” Archer says. “When we talk to our pet parents, the relationship that they had with each other a lot of the time was closer than any human connection that they had. We know that they’re grieving just as much as somebody who’s grieving a person.” Pet parents get the same experience through Eterneva. “For a lot of our pet parents, they view the diamond as that continued connection and bond with their pet,” she says.
And when it came to Ollie’s story, this was exactly how Brittany felt. “I don’t even know if there’s a word for it,” Brittany says. “I honestly just wanted him to be back with me.”
The Homecoming of Ollie
At the start of the process, words are shared about the loved one being commemorated. Brittany wrote a very emotional and touching letter about Ollie that was later shared at the Homecoming. This event is when the special commemorative diamond is revealed and champagne is enjoyed to celebrate the life being remembered. Brittany couldn’t have been happier with the result of Ollie’s diamond.
“I broke down in tears,” she says. “It felt like a sense of closure in a way that is really hard to find through an experience that started off so terrible. It means everything to be able to have done that and know that he is always with me.”