Turning Human Ashes into Beads
South Korea is a densely-populated nation, and so has diminishing room for appropriate places to bury the dead. A law passed a decade ago even requires people to exhume loved ones within sixty years of burial. Cremation has thus become increasingly popular, and one company has responded to this change by offering to turn human ashes into small crystal beads:
Bonhyang founder and CEO Bae Jae-yul says the beads allow people to keep their relatives close to them, wherever they go. He also says stored ashes can rot, a claim denied by crematoriums. “Our beads are clean; they don’t become moldy and don’t go off and smell bad,” he says.
Bae uses ultrahigh temperature to melt cremated ashes until they are crystalized and can be turned into beads in a 90-minute process. The colors are mostly blue-green but sometimes pink, purple and black.
The ashes of one person can produce four to five cups of beads, Bae says, although the ashes of young people have a higher bone density that can yield up to eight cups of beads.