Jackson's hair made into diamonds -- for real

Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:54pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Since Michael Jackson's sudden death on June 25, the rumor mill over details of his bizarre personal life has ground away nearly non-stop, and on Friday, one company said it was turning his hair into diamonds. That one is true.

The claims this week included a report in Rolling Stone magazine that a prosthetic nose he wore apparently went missing when he was taken to the morgue, and a British tabloid trumpeted a headline that he fathered a secret love-child.

In one by-product of the "Thriller" singer's death, a Chicago company said on Friday it had obtained some of the hair Jackson burned while filming a 1984 Pepsi commercial and planned to create a limited edition of diamonds from it.

"Absolutely this is for real," said Dean VandenBiesen, founder of LifeGem, which has a patent on a process that extracts carbon from hair, turns it into crystals and then into high-quality laboratory diamonds.

VandenBiesen told Reuters he thought the company could make about 10 diamonds. No sale price has been set but VandenBiesen said LifeGem created three diamonds from locks of Beethoven's hair in 2007, and sold one of them for around $200,000.

Separately, the August 6 issue of Rolling Stone magazine reported that not only was the left arm of Jackson's dead body "scored with needle marks" -- claims that have arisen before -- but he wore an artificial nose that was missing when he was taken to the Los Angeles county morgue.

"The prosthesis that he normally attached to his damaged nose was missing, revealing bits of cartilage surrounding a small dark hole," the magazine said in an unsourced report.

While that report could not be confirmed, Los Angeles coroner's officials did say earlier this week they were probing security breaches in their offices.   Continued...

<p>Michael Jackson waves to supporters outside the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, June 13, 2005. REUTERS/Gene Blevins</p>