The charred locks of hair from Michael Jackson’s disastrous Pepsi commercial shoot are being turned into diamonds. Chicago-based jeweler LifeGem, which specializes in creating high-quality diamonds from individual hair samples, has announced plans to release a limited collection made from the King of Pop’s hair. “Our plan is to give people an opportunity to own a diamond made from Michael Jackson’s DNA,” said Dean VandenBiesen, founder of LifeGem, in a statement.
The hair was first obtained by executive producer Ralph Cohen during the now-infamous 1984 Pepsi shoot for Pepsi when Jackson’s hair caught on fire. After helping extinguish Jackson’s hair with his Armani jacket, Cohen scooped up the hair and put it into the jacket’s pocket, where it remained until Jackson’s death 25 years later.
After Jackson’s passing, collector John Reznikoff received the hair from Cohen and reached out to LifeGem about turning the hair into diamonds. The company had collaborated with Reznikoff in 2007 when they created diamonds from Beethoven’s hair. “The provenance and authenticity of this lock of hair is impeccable, including the highly publicized video showing the original owner of the hair using his Armani jacket to extinguish Jackson’ hair,” said Reznikoff in a statement.
Reznikoff is experienced in collecting celebrity hair, having gathered locks from figures including Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe. The actual number of diamonds that can be produced from the hair is still unclear. “We are currently evaluating the sample to determine how many diamonds can be created,” said VandenBiesen. “This will be a limited collection and we anticipate great interest.”
Alex Palmer, July 27 2009