Cremated Loved Ones Turned Into Diamonds

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Just as many Americans make their own funeral arrangements, to spare their families that dreaded task, Jack French is planning a final resting spot on his wife Jackie's neck — as a necklace.

"Like everyone, I thought the idea was crazy at first, but now it's a great comfort," says the 69-year-old former plasterer from Joliet, Ill., who is suffering from emphysema.

And if French should survive his wife, she would live on as a diamond ring.

"The doctors gave me two or three years to live, but that was back in 1993," said French, who blames his illness on working with asbestos for more than 40 years, although he also says he regrets having been a smoker.

But if your late loved one wasn't the jewelry type, check out these ash alternatives:

Ultimate Frisbee: When Frisbee inventor Ed Headrick died last August at 78, family members announced that they would honor his wish and mold his ashes into a flying disc. That's great news for kids. Even after the memorial service, they can play catch with grandpa.

Sponging Off Relatives: Eternal Reefs in Georgia is putting a new spin on burials at sea for ecologically minded baby boomers. The company mixes cremated remains with cement to form seabed habitats for sponges and ocean coral. Costs range from $1,500 to $5,000.

The Final Frontier: In September 1999, the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, along with those of LSD guru Timothy Leary, boldly went where no urn had gone before — into orbit, via a U.S. satellite. After two years, the satellite was expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, where it would be smashed to fiery bits.

Painted Love: The Eternally Yours company promises to make everlasting art of a loved one's ashes. For prices ranging from $350 to $550, your dead husband will hang around forever.

A Comic Ending: Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald was a creative force behind such classics as Captain America and Quasar. In 1996, his wife honored his final request and mixed his ashes with ink during the printing of a comic book. There's a little piece of him in Squadron Supreme, a limited-run poster of Marvel characters that's popular with collectors.