People have been turning human and pet remains, including hair, into diamonds for 11 years now, but one new company aims to appeal to the living who have lost their hair in the fight against cancer.
The company is called SKY and LIVI, and allows women who’re undergoing radiation to turn their fallen hair into a lab-grown diamond, which is then set into a pendant necklace. Finished pieces, available in five different styles in 18k white and yellow gold (though custom designs are available), serve as “symbols of her endurance to beat this dreaded disease,” according to company founder and CEO—and industry veteran—Anjanette Sinesio.
Hundreds of thousands of women are diagnosed with cancer each year, and statistics show that about a third undergo chemo or radiation therapy to minimize tumors. But one of the side effects—hair loss—is particularly demoralizing to women, some of whom even opt not to receive treatment for fear of losing their locks. “In the book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr, the first thing the author asks when told she had cancer was ‘Will I lose my hair?’” recollects Sinesio. “The second question—second!—was ‘Will I die? That’s how important hair was to her.”
Sinesio’s own losses from cancer—including her aunt, father and grandfather, all within two years—gave her a painful firsthand look at the role emotional state plays in survival. In a tribute to those who are fighting or those who have lost their fight with cancer, Sinesio channeled her energy and the industry’s current lab-grown diamond technology into a way to possibly help women heal by turning their lost hair into beautiful diamonds. Of course, Sinesio’s 17-year experience marketing and selling stones through Diamond in the Rough and LEVIEV Jewelers, among others, also inspired her to combine tragedy with track record in the launch of SKY and LIVI. Invoking the nicknames of nieces Skyler and Olivia, to whom she serves as a role model, honors the role that Sinesio’s own Aunt Barbara, lost to cancer, played in her life.
“SKY and LIVI exists to help women transcend hair loss from chemotherapy—to transform a heartbreaking circumstance into an uplifting experience, creating a symbol of strength and beauty,” notes Sinesio. “I see the diamond and pendants I designed as an outward symbol of a woman’s unwavering strength to fight cancer. It’s her chance to tell cancer, ‘You can take my hair, but you can’t take me.’
“Being focused in the diamond sector, I was privileged to learn so much about diamonds,” she explains. “And when lab-grown diamonds began being manufactured at gem quality I was a part of so many meetings with the DIC about what this meant for our industry. I read about memorial diamonds and the fact that the lab-grown diamonds could be made with ashes (the carbon taken from the ashes) and years later read about how they had figured out a way to do this with hair and it all just came to me. I could focus on the living—I can help women who have lost their hair to chemo and these diamonds could actually help play a role in saving their lives. And because it’s 100 percent my business, I can also donate a portion of every sale to charity.”
From start to finish, the process of creating your own diamond necklace takes several months. Prices start at $2,500 for orange diamonds from 0.10 ct. t.w.–0.19 ct. t.w. [Rocks as large as 2 ct. t.w. can be made in colorless, blue, red, yellow, and orange hues.] The diamonds, though made in a laboratory in Russia (“by the source who owns the patents, the HPHT machinery, and has been in the lab-grown diamond industry for 10 years,” says Sinesio), are guaranteed to be chemically, physically, and optically identical to a diamond mined from the earth; are certified by the International Gemological Institute in Los Angeles; and are laser engraved with your own unique IGI Identification number, the SKY and LIVI logo (a modified V, standing for victory over a dreaded disease), and a SKY and LIVI certificate of authenticity stating stones are made from the buyer’s own carbon.
Plus, in a commitment to give back and do more, SKY and LIVI will donate $100 from every diamond sale to its charity partner Look Good Feel Better, a organization dedicated to improving the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer. Friends and family can also show their support through the purchase of a silver and lavender macramé logo SKY and LIVI bracelet accented with a micro diamond, from which $10 of every $150 sale also benefits the nonprofit.
Considering the deeply personal story behind Sinesio’s new firm, it seems fitting that the most significant stone made to date was for a friend: a $16,000 0.76 ct. t.w. blue diamond for “True Blood” star Ryan Kwanten; it was made out of his hair in honor of his mother Kristine, a breast cancer survivor.
There is no wholesale component (all sales are direct to consumer), and purchases can be made on skyandlivi.com.
“We all know diamonds help us celebrate some of the most incredible moments in our life, but can you imagine a diamond actually helping save a woman’s life?” Sinesio adds. “I truly believe it can!”
Silver and lavender macramé logo bracelet from SKY and LIVI is accented with a micro diamond and retails for $150, from which $10 goes to benefit Look Good Feel Better, a charity dedicated to improving the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer.