Turning the Dead Into Diamonds

It may sound a bit dark, but it’s now possible to transform the ashes of the cremated deceased into a diamond–a jewel truly to remember.
By Sunaina Rajani 

It may sound a bit dark, but it’s now possible to transform the ashes of the cremated deceased into a diamond–a jewel truly to remember.

Using “Russian technology,” Algordanza Memorial Diamonds are created in a similar fashion to the way natural diamonds are formed.

Here’s how it works: a diamond is composed of pressurized carbons. Conveniently enough, human bodies are about 18 percent carbon. Using about a pound of ashes, the firm is able to distill out the carbon and use it to form a man-made diamond in a mold under high pressure in about a week. The diamonds created this way are often blue because of certain chemicals in the human body.

Algordanza, headquartered in Switzerland, offers a variety of diamond sizes and cuts that can be placed on a ring or other jewelry pieces. Prices run higher than conventional diamonds, starting from about $3,000 depending on the size and cut.

The resulting diamond will be “an everlasting keepsake, remembrance, or heirloom to pass to future generations,” Frank Ripka, CTO of Algordanza, told BusinessInsider.

LifeGem, based in Elk Grove Village, Ill.,  calls itself the original inventor and says it holds the U.S. patent for memorial diamonds. In a year, the company has “generally about a thousand customers worldwide,” a spokesperson from LifeGem told ABCNews.com.

LifeGem’s popular products, the company says, include the colorless LifeGem because it looks like the diamonds to which the public is accustomed. Blue diamonds are also in demand, the company says, because it is “difficult to get a blue diamond from nature.”

Diamond prices have fluctuated in recent years. From 2011 through 2012, overall prices for rough and polished diamonds declined by 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively, according to Bain & Company’s Global Diamond Report 2013.
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