A unique diamond is created from ashes or hair.

The creation of a memorial diamond

In addition to the traditional burial in the earth, cremation is becoming increasingly popular and in many countries is the primary form of burial. The ashes of the deceased are usually kept in an urn in a cemetery or scattered in nature.

If you want to keep your loved one close to you after death, then the creation of a memorial diamond is a means of close, personal remembrance, this is the reason ALGORDANZA creates memorial diamonds. The memorial diamond can be chosen to supplement the classic urn burial or replace it.

If you are looking for an individual addition to the traditional burial in the earth, the ALGORDANZA hair memorial diamond is the right choice. Just like the cremation diamond made from ashes, the ALGORDANZA hair memorial diamond is a wonderful and individual keepsake made from the hair of the deceased.

Unique, priceless and immortal

The ALGORDANZA memorial diamond is a synthetic diamond and has identical chemical and physical properties to natural diamonds. In order to grow the memorial diamond, we have to replicate the conditions under which a natural diamond is formed over thousands of years in diamond synthesis.

Gain an insight into the creation process of an ALGORDANZA memorial diamond in our video on Vimeo. An ALGORDANZA memorial diamond is an imperishable, unique form of remembrance to commemorate a person over generations.

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The creation process explained

Carbon is the element of life and the basic material that makes up 99.9% of every diamond. Diamonds are formed by nature in the earth’s interior under tremendous pressure and enormous heat. In order to be able to create diamonds from human ashes or from hair, we must simulate the same conditions found in nature.

To do this, the carbon is first isolated from the ashes or hair of the deceased, then transformed into graphite and finally pressed into a diamond.

1. The cremation and the cremation ashes

Cremation is a type of burial known since the Bronze Age. Nowadays, the cremation of a human body in Switerland takes place at a temperature of over 850°C. The full process can take several hours.

When a deceased adult is cremated, around 2 to 4 kg of cremation ashes are produced, consisting of numerous different chemical elements.

2. The carbon content in the ash

About 20% of the living human body consists of carbon or carbon compounds. During cremation, much of this carbon escapes as gaseous carbon dioxide. A small portion of the carbon remains in the cremation ashes, which is distributed in various forms.

The proportion of carbon left in the ashes is usually between 0.5% and 2.5% by weight of the dry cremation ashes.

3. Receiving the cremation ashes and legal conditions

Due to legal situations which differ in every country, dividing up cremation ashes may or may not be legal in your country. Your local funeral home will be able to give you further information as well as separate the cremation ashes if possible.

ALGORDANZA here in Switzerland also offers the possibility to separate the ashes and return the urn to the family, please contact us.

At least 500g of cremation ashes are needed for the process so that a sufficient amount of carbon can be extracted for the growth of one or more diamonds.

The family decides what to do with the remaining cremation ashes in excess of 500g when the order is placed.

4. The carbon content in hair

If there are no ashes or an insufficient amount available due to the desired type of burial, a memorial diamond can also be made from the hair of the deceased person.

Hair consists of about 50% carbon. For the creation of one or more ALGORDANZA hair memorial diamonds only 5 grams of hair is needed.

If there are insufficient ashes or hair from a deceased person, other sources of carbon such as personal letters, diaries or photographs can also be used to obtain the carbon needed for a memorial diamond. In such a case, please contact us directly.

5. The isolation of the carbon

A multi-stage chemical process is necessary to create a memorial diamond. Inorganic, oxidic and metallic components within the cremation ashes are removed through a chemical process and the carbon is then isolated by filtration.

For a hair diamond, the hair is first charred, then through pyrolysis, the carbon is separated from the other elements and isolated. The remaining amount of carbon is usually a few grams and contains between 50 and 90% amorphous carbon.

6. The graphitization

Before a memorial diamond can be created, the purity of the carbon to be used must be further purified. In addition, the disordered arrangement of the atoms of the amorphous carbon must be converted into an ordered graphite lattice structure of pure carbon. This graphitization takes place in a vacuum at 2,500 °C to 2,700 °C.

This process step results in a graphite with a purity of approx. 99.9%. The arrangement of the carbon atoms in the graphite structure increases the subsequent diamond synthesis considerably.

7. Transfer to the growth cell

In the next step, the newly created graphite is transferred to a special growing cell.

This growing cell consists of 25 components that are handcrafted and assembled by our employees. The highest Swiss precision and cleanliness are observed, otherwise diamond growth is diminished or even halted.

The growing cell offers a perfectly isolated environment for the undisturbed growth process of a memorial diamond as it simulates the natural formation conditions found in the earth.

8. The growth process

The growth cell is now carefully put into the HPHT press. HPHT stands for “High Pressure High Temperature” The HPHT presses made in Germany are precision machines specially designed for the needs of ALGORDANZA and weigh more than 14 tons each.

The growth cell is exposed to a pressure of around 60,000 bar and a temperature of around 1,400 °C in the HPHT press. Under these conditions, the lattice structure of carbon changes from graphite to diamond.

The size of the memorial diamond is determined by the length of time it is contained in the HPHT press, The larger the diamond should be, the longer the growing cell remains in the HPHT press.

9. Opening of the growing cell and removal

After the growth time calculated for the respective diamond size has elapsed, the growing cell is removed from the press and opened layer by layer.

Individual cell components are collected, cleaned and reused to protect the environment.

10. The rough diamond

In the growing cell’s nucleus, embedded in molten metal, is the newly created memorial diamond. It has the well known consistent and precise crystal facets associated with a diamond and is referred to by ALGORDANZA as a rough diamond.

After the cell has been opened and the rough diamond removed, it is carefully cleaned.

11. The polishing stage

Depending on the customer’s wishes, the memorial diamond can be given a special cut or handed over as a polished rough diamond. If the memorial diamond is to be handed over as a rough diamond, ALGORDANZA only polishes its rough surfaces.

If the memorial diamond is to be given a certain cut, this is done by our expert gemcutters(Lapidarist) and long-standing partners of ALGORDANZA in Europe. Cutting and polishing a diamond is an art that requires a lot of experience and talent.

12. The laser engraving

Every diamond made from ashes or hair is then laser engraved at ALGORDANZA.

This laser engraving consists of the ALGORDANZA signet and the individual reference number of the order. In addition, your own message can be engraved on rough diamonds (max. 30 characters). The laser engraving can only be read under a microscope with at least 30x magnification

13. The certificate and the control

After the memorial diamond has been cut, polished and engraved, extensive documentation is created about it.

Each ALGORDANZA memorial diamond receives a certificate that provides information about the origin of the carbon source, the authenticity of the diamond and other specific characteristics of the memorial diamond. The certificate is then signed by Rinaldo Willy, the founder of ALGORDANZA.

14. The handing over of the diamond

Depending on the wishes of the bereaved, the now finished memorial diamond can either be picked up by the relatives in person in Switzerland or sent by courier to the undertaker.

The relatives are free to either leave the diamond in the diamond case or have it set in a piece of jewelry.

Just one more step to a Memorial Diamond

Whether you are currently looking for an ALGORDANZA partner who will carry out the burial of a loved one or would like to take the first precautionary measures for yourself: Request our Price list for a diamond here and we will send you all the information for the next steps .

Free of charge and without obligation by e-mail and, if desired, also by post.

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