From Ashes To Diamonds

Have you ever had a makeover? Well, it's really never too late. Now you can even plan your own post-mortem makeover and turn into a diamond.

A few years ago, Swiss-based Algordanza made headlines worldwide with their novel offer of turning deceased loved ones - family members or pets - into scintillating 'memorial diamonds'. My 4 kids have even started joking about which of them will inherit me (in the shape of a diamond) and which color I should become. To be honest I think it's a risky idea. What if a thief were to make off with me - or if some day I were to end up at auction and simply become just another synthetic gemstone in someone's bank box.

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Nonetheless, memorial diamonds are already a thing. Whether they will spark a whole new jewellery trend remains to be seen, but a host of laboratories have recently emerged to provide ashes-to-gemstone transformations. Every year, ash samples from 800-900 cremations arrive at the Algordanza laboratory, which are subsequently returned to sender in the form of glittering gemstones, allowing the bereaved the chance to preserve the memory of their loved ones and feel that they are still present among us.

How it works
It has long been known that diamonds can be artificially created by mimicking nature's own processes. Indeed, the first successful attempt to create what is known as a synthetic diamond took place as far back as 1940. In nature, the diamond-making process takes place about 200km below the Earth's crust where carbon is transformed into diamonds under constant heat and pressure over the span of up to 3 million years. Laboratory diamond-making speeds up this process to just 70-120 days. The larger the stone, the longer the wait. Enough near-purified carbon can be extracted from a single cremated person to synthesise up to 50 diamonds weighing one carat (200mg) each - or up to 100 gems of smaller size - while still allowing the family to keep the remaining ashes. The process includes subjecting the carbon to constant pressures of 5.0-6.0 Pascal and temperatures of 1,600-2,000 degrees Celsius.

Follow the whole process in this presentation video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZNyGrkFo4w

You will never be forgotten Algordanza promises, which in addition to turning you into a diamond also offers to cut and laser-engrave you after your transformation at a price of between US$ 4,000 and 18,000. Whether you are deciding the colour, size or cut of a diamond made entirely from the cremains of a loved one (such as your mother-in-law) - or are whimsically planning your own post-mortem makeover into a gem heirloom - then your color choices will include white, orange, yellow, blue and red. Amazingly, your default diamond color is blue since the human body contains a good measure of Boron, which is a chemical element produced entirely by supernovae and cosmic ray spallation. To change the color from blue, the diamond needs to undergo radiation. But whichever color of the spectrum takes your fancy, your newfound sparkle will inevitably last until the end of time.

How to do
  • Choose a laboratory
  • Choose the size, colour and cut
  • Select the piece of jewelry you want to be embedded in (optional)
  • Find someone willing to submit your ashes to the laboratory
  • Wait for the transformation to take place
  • Now you are a diamond