The Creation of a Memorial Diamond

Ashes or hair are turned into a unique Memorial Diamond.

memorial diamond

Next to the traditional burial the demand for cremation is increasing steadily worldwide. The cremated remains are then often stored in a graveyard or, where the law allows it, the ashes are scattered in nature. An ALGORDANZA Pure Memorial Diamond is a unique alternative or addition to the traditional urn interment.

In cases where a traditional burial in a grave is desired or even (religio-)culturally required, the ALGORDANZA Hair Memorial Diamond is a unique addition.The ALGORDANZA Hair Memorial Diamond is a beautiful remembrance in case of a traditional burial on a graveyard.

In order to create one or more memorial diamonds consisting of 99.9% carbon, we extract the carbon from the cremation ashes or hair handed over to us.

An ALGORDANZA Memorial Diamond is a memorable heirloom over generations for the remembrance of a beloved family member.

The Making of a Memorial Diamond

The ALGORDANZA Memorial Diamond is a synthetic diamond and features the same chemical and physical properties such as the hardness grade as natural diamonds. To create a Memorial Diamond, we have to simulate the natural conditions, under which a natural diamond forms itself over decades, in our diamond synthesis.

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Process: From Ashes or Hair to a Diamond

Carbon is the element of life and the foundation each diamond consists of to 99.9% . Diamonds have been created under vast pressure and enormous heat naturally in the bowels of the earth. To create a diamond from human cremains or hair we have to simulate the same conditions. For this we need to isolate the Carbon from the cremated remains, transform it into Graphite and finally turn it into a Memorial Diamond.

1. Cremation and Cremated Remains

Cremated remainsThe Cremation is already known since Bronze Age.

Today cremation of a human body generally is done in two phases: after the first phase with a temperature around 900°C the temperature is increased up to 1'200°C for the second phase. The whole process of cremation can last up to three hours.

Following cremation an adult will on average produce around 2 to 3kg cremated remains. The cremains consist of a vast number of chemical elements.

2. Carbon Concentration in Cremated Remains

Carbon concentrationThe human body consists of around 25% Carbon or Carbon Compounds. During cremation most of the Carbon escapes as gaseous Carbon Dioxide.

In the ashes still remains a small amount of Carbon. The remaining Carbon accounts for a weight portion of around 0.5 up to 2.5% of the cremated remains, which can be proven by every accordingly equipped laboratory.

3. Reception of Cremated Remains

Reception The Swiss company ALGORDANZA is liable under Swiss law and the diamond burial is lawfully permitted in Switzerland.

For the first step in the process at least 500g of cremated remains are requested, in order to make sure to being able to isolate enough Carbon for the diamond synthesis of at least one diamond. For the rest of the cremated remains the family can decide how it should be handled.

4. Amount of Carbon in human hair

Hair consists of around 50% Carbon. For the creation of one or more ALGORDANZA Hair Memorial Diamonds we need therefore at least 5g of hair. If not enough cremated remains or hair are available, a second Carbon source such as a personal letter, diary or a picture of the deceased can be used to isolate enough Carbon for the synthesis of at least one Memorial Diamond. 

5. Isolation of Carbon

Isolation of CarbonTo create a diamond, a multistage chemical process is necessary.

Oxidic and possible metallic constituents of the cremated remains are removed wet chemically and the high-carbon indissoluble residue is isolated through filtration.

This residue weighs only a few grams, yet contains between 50 and 90% of amorphic Carbon.

6. Graphitization

GraphitizationBefore a Memorial Diamond can grow, we have to increase the purity of the isolated Carbon. In order to receive an increased purity Carbon Dioxides must be removed, metallic impurities vaporised and a distinct Graphite structure generated.

This is achieved, through heating up the amorphic Carbon up to 2'500 to 2'700°C in vacuo.

Past this process stage the Graphite reaches a purity of around 99%. The arrangement of the Carbon atoms in the Graphite structure facilitates significantly the subsequent diamond synthesis.

7. Growing Cell

Growing CellIn the following step the Graphite from the cremated remains is set into a specific growing cell.

The growing cell consists of 25 components, which are all manufactured and assembled by hand through our staff. This task requires the highest – Swiss – precision, otherwise the diamond growth may be aggravated or even impeded.

The growing cell creates the perfectly isolated surrounding for the undisturbed growth of a Memorial Diamond, while the natural conditions are simulated.

8. Growth Process

Growth Process The growing cell is meticulously set into the HPHT-press. HPHT signifies High Pressure High Temperature. Our HPHT-presses are constructed specifically for ALGORDANZA's necessities and weighs more than 14 tons each.

The growing cell is exposed to a pressure of around 60'000bar and a temperature of 1'400°C inside of the HPHT-machines. Here the Graphite structure converts slowly into a diamond.

The bigger the diamond should become, the longer the growing cell stays in the HPHT-press; the duration of the growth process determines the requested size of the Memorial Diamond.

9. Removal and Opening of the Growing Cell

Removal and Opening of the Growing CellAt the end of the calculated duration of growth for the requested diamond size the growing cell is removed from the press.

The growing cell is opened layer by layer. Single components of the cell are collected, refined and recyclet within the scope of the environment.

10. Rough Diamond

Rough Diamond Inside of the cell core, embedded in molten metal, the newly grown Memorial Diamond is located. It has its distinct and consistent crystal faces and is called Rough Diamond by ALGORDANZA.

The Rough Diamond is uncovered and cleansed from the alloy carefully through an acid bath.

11. Cut and Polish

Cut and PolishAccording to the family's request the Memorial Diamond will be cut or handed over as a polished rough diamond. Cutting and polishing a diamond is a real craft and only made by experienced experts by hand.

The diamond cut will be made by external experts. If the Memorial Diamond is requested as rough diamond, the ALGORDANZA staff solely polishes the abrasive start face of the diamond growth.

12. Laser inscription

Laser inscription Each hair or ashes rough diamond is engraved with a small laser inscription on the diamond's girdle.

The laser inscription consists of the ALGORDANZA signet and the unique reference number of the order. On request an individual message can be engraved additionally to the reference number (max. 30 characters). The laser inscription is only visible under a microscope with a magnification of at least 30 times.

13. Certificate and Check

Certificate and Check After cutting, polishing, and engraving the Memorial Diamond, the diamond is extensively documented.

Each ALGORDANZA Memorial Diamond is handed over with a certificate, giving information about origin of the Carbon, authenticity as well as other specific characteristics of the Memorial Diamond. Each certificate is signed by Rinaldo Willy, founder of ALGORDANZA.

14. Handing Over

Handing Over The finished Memorial Diamond can either be personally picked up by family members in Switzerland or it will be shipped by courier to your ALGORDANZA partner. It is at the family's discretion to either keep the Memorial Diamond in its diamond casket or have it set into a piece of jewellery.

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