From our ‘believe it or not’ files… someone has found a way of converting cremated remains or hair from living humans or pets into a tattoo ink so you can feel close to your loved ones – even when they are gone.
US company Endeavor Life Sciences says Everence, the powdery substance it creates from cremains (that’s short for ‘cremated remains’, a word we had not heard before, either) or hair can be taken to any tattoo artist in the world for application as a new or existing tattoo. They’re referred to as ‘DNA tattoos’.
Everence was founded by Patrick Duffy and Boyd Renner as “a powerful new way to stay connected to the people and places that inspire you”. Its patented technology was inspired by military families who are often separated from their loved ones for long periods of time and was developed by a team of scientists from Brown and Duke Universities, along with some of the world’s top tattoo artists.
“Everence is about giving people the ability to stay physically connected to what inspires them,” explains Duffy.
“We started out by enabling customers to turn DNA from a loved one or pet into Everence, but quickly recognised that we needed to do more for those whose loved ones are no longer with them.”
He says the concept is far from new. “For thousands of years, human beings have been adding cremated ash from loved ones into tattoos, but Everence is the first to patent a state-of-the-art process that makes it suitable for the body and practical for any tattoo artist. Everence is made from medical-grade materials and is produced in its ISO 9001 certified and GMP-compliant facility here in the US. Every step of the production process from start to finish is held to the strictest quality control and safety standards in the world.”
In an article headed DNA Tattoos Are the Final Frontier of Love, The New York Times described Everence as “about as biologically intimate as one can get”.
The paper reported that Duffy joins “a winding list of biohackers, artists and technologists dabbling in the world of biogenic tattoo artistry”.
“Many have mixed ash, hair or other material with inks to include organics in tattooing for years.
But that practice has long been left to underground artists, a subculture unto itself with a dark, self-aware nickname: morbid ink.”
Everence takes the concept a step further by its patented process ensuring the powder remains on the skin’s surface – in the tattoo – rather than being absorbed into the body.
The patented process for processing hair or cremation ash involves micronising (reducing the particle size from the sample down to an ideal size to go into a tattoo), purifying it and then microencapsulating it in a medical-grade polymer material which protects it from being destroyed by the body, and will keep it within the tattoo forever. The entire process involves more than 20 individual steps and uses a variety of highly specialised ‘mini-mills”.
Here it gets a little more technical: Jet vortex mills using high-speed airflow mimicking the conditions inside a tornado reduce particle size. Cryomills continually cool the substance using liquid nitrogen before and during the grinding process. Then precision wet mills convert the ash or hair into a form which can be turned into Everence.
The kits are priced from US$350. Once you collect the samples you send the kit to the company which after processing the contents returns it to you to take along to your preferred tattoo studio.