While I don’t personally have any tattoos I know many who do. And I understand the reason behind them to be personal and often times, driven by strong emotions of loss, love, happiness, etc. If you’ve got a tattoo or love someone who does, you’ll love this story.

Four years ago, Patrick Duffy- who then operated a therapeutic scuba diving program for military veterans with his father- was swimming in the waters off Key Largo, Fl. when he saw a woman with a tattoo on her leg dedicated to her late husband, a Navy SEAL killed in combat. He recalls that in that moment he thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to turn that tattoo into a reliquary? To put a piece of something she cared about, maybe even her husband, into the tattoo itself?”1

Fast forward to nearly a dozen patents later, and Mr. Duffy has done it: “Everence is a powdery substance synthesized from a sample of DNA, something as simple as a few thousand cells from a swab of a person’s inner cheek, or from cremated ashes. A small vial of Everence can be brought to a tattoo artist and added to any type of inks.”2


It’s about as biologically intimate as you can get.

“The result: A tattoo imbued with the DNA of another human being — or, if you prefer, a dog, cat or other furry friend.

Customers are asked to mail their DNA samples to Endeavor’s laboratory in Quonset, R.I., where the material is milled, sterilized and enclosed in microscopic capsules of PMMA — you know it as plexiglass — which is often used in medical applications like dentures, bone cement and cosmetic surgery.

Thanks to its little envelope, instead of the DNA disappearing into the body, it is captured permanently in the ink of the tattoo. Mr. Duffy and his partners believe this creates an even more palpable, resonant bonding experience.”3

But don’t worry, Duffy did his homework because he wanted this process to be safe (according to Dr. Bruce Klitzman, an associate professor of surgery at Duke University, Everence it as safe as traditional tattoo inks). Currently, the U.S. FDA views tattoo inks as cosmetics and Everence plans to follow the strict regulations that dictate how cosmetics must be created, as outlined by the FDA.


So, now the (maybe) bad news: the process of getting an Everence tattoo won’t be as fast or cheap as walking into a tattoo parlor on a Friday night:

“Everence will sell for $650, which includes the kit, the process of creating the powder and eventual return to the client months later. That is, for now, the price for a permanent product that will become a part of the customer for the rest of her life. (Initially, Everence will take a limited amount of pre-orders to gauge demand, and the company will offer payment plans for those who cannot afford to pay all at once.)”4

Duffy sees Everence for more than just tattoos too. He sees a future where “paintings, textiles or other emotionally resonant items are imbued with Everence.” For him, it’s all about the emotion.

What do you think? Would you do this (Everence joins the ranks with companies that can make your loved ones ashed into gemstones to display or wear)?

Sources and References

  1. NYT, December 9, 2017.
  2. NYT, December 9, 2017.
  3. NYT, December 9, 2017.
  4. NYT, December 9, 2017.