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Thursday, November 5, 1998 Published at 16:48 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Korean bodies-into-beads technique developed

A South Korean scientist has developed a technique for making decorative beads out of cremated human remains.

The ashes are subjected to ultra-high temperatures which produce a jewel-like object of blueish-green colour.

The research was prompted by an acute shortage of cemetery space in South Korea, which has a strong tradition of burial rather than cremation.

The aim is to persuade people that converting a loved one's remains into an easily-stored bead will allow the Confucian custom of revering ancestors to be carried on just as effectively as if the deceased is in a grave.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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