A Swiss company called Algordanza has for an interesting way of commemorating the death of a loved one. By taking the cremated remains of a dear one who has passed, the company is able to turn those remains into a precious diamond those left behind can treasure for years to come.
Rinaldo Willy, the founder and CEO of Algordanza, thought of the idea of turning human remains into precious stones about 10 years ago, when he was studying up on how to make synthetic diamonds out of ashes. After considering the things he had read, Willy wondered what would happen if human ashes were used.
After experimenting with the method, Willy discovered ashes from humans worked as well as any other kind and soon his new company was formed. Over the years the business has expanded so that Willy and the Algordanza company have customer in 24 countries around the world.
According to NPR, the Algordanza company see some 800 and 900 people's remains sent to the workshop and within three month, a new diamond is born. The diamonds that emerge are varied — much like the individuals from whom they were derived.
"Every diamond from each person, it's slightly different," Willy told NPR, "So, it's always a unique diamond."
Due to the trace amounts of boron found in the human body, most of the diamonds come out some shade of blue. Some of the diamonds do surprise, however, from time to time, ending up a lovely shade of white or yellow or even nearly black. While the reasons some of the diamonds vary from the typical blue color is not entirely known, in one study Rinaldo Willy did discover a connection with the white diamonds.
"We were also surprised at the beginning when every diamond got blue. And we figured out by analysis that it's the element boron who gives the diamond the bluish diamond. But one time the diamonds turned white and we were a bit irritated ... if we had done any mistake or if we got any impurity during the process. So, we repeat it and it turned again white. After we got information that this person died of cancer and was treated very aggressive with chemotheraphy ... and the chemistry was telling us, well, chemo has an influence on the amount of boron. So, we assumed that was the reason why the diamonds got white."
While some of Algordanza orders are made by people before they pass away, the majority are individuals seeking some memorable piece by whih to honor their loved one. According to Willy, nearly a quarter of all customers come from Japan and may of the resulting diamonds are used in pendants worn by family members.
To purchase a diamond made of human remains, the cost is between $5,000 and $22,000. In order to create the diamonds, the human remains or ashes must be reduced to carbon which is then placed in a machine that applies incredible heat and pressure - like the process required to create diamonds in the earth's core. This heat and pressure must go on for weeks before the diamond is ready.
"The more time you give this process, the bigger the rough diamond starts to grow."
The finished diamond in the rough is then cut and polished and can even be engraved if the buyer so chooses.
According to Willy, the diamonds bring great comfort, joy and happiness to those who remain behind after the love one has passed. The diamonds give the family members a feeling that the deceased has returned or is still there with them. In speaking with NPR, Willy shared that, "I don't know why, but if the diamond is blue, and the deceased also had blue eyes, I hear almost every time that the diamond had the same color as the eyes of the deceased."
To learn more about Rinaldo Willy, and his synthetic diamond company, Algordanza, visit the company website here.