Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities. It is a hard material. Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometers (87 to 118 mi) in the Earth’s mantle. Carbon-containing minerals provide the carbon source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). Diamonds are brought close to the Earth’s surface through deep volcanic eruptions by magma.
But there are synthetic diamonds too. A much cheaper alternative. They are made using high pressure or chemical vapor distillation method.
Willy, 33, is the founder and CEO of Algordanza, a peculiar funeral home based in the lovely town of Domat/Ems in western Switzerland. Algordanza—which in the local Romansch language means “remembrance”—is one of the leaders in the production of so called “memorial diamonds.” Algordanza will put the latest technologies at your service to convert your ashes into a synthetic diamond. The price for this transfiguration ranges between 4,500 and 20,000 Swiss francs ($5,000-$22,000), depending on how big a diamond you want to become.
After a person is cremated, they are sent urns with their ashes. Then the ashes are treated with particular chemical agents to extract all the carbon from them. Next, carbon is heated to high temperatures and converted into graphite. Finally, graphite is placed in a machine that essentially reproduces the conditions that are given in the depths of the Earth, where natural diamonds form over thousands of years: extremely high pressure and temperatures around 1500 degrees Celsius. After some weeks, or months, the diamond forms.