Memorial diamond in heart cut from Algordanza

History and Facts About Memorial Diamonds

The Complete Diamonds from Ashes Guide

The idea to isolate carbon from human cremation ashes and then create from the carbon a cremation diamond arose in 2003. The creation of synthetic diamonds from industrial carbon sources has been possible since the 1960s.

The first memorial diamond facility was started in Switzerland in 2004 with the idea of bringing a new and unique way to remember our loved ones who have passed away. ALGORDANZA Memorial Diamonds are certified by expert Gemologists and their creation process officially notarized.

In an ever changing world where visiting and maintaining a grave is becoming more difficult and expensive, the memorial diamond lets you keep your loved one with you, without having to maintain a grave.

Whether you call them Ash Diamonds, Memorial Diamonds or Cremation Diamonds, a genuine concern about quality, care and service for your loved one’s ashes or hair has been ALGORDANZA’s top priority since 2004.

Amount of cremation ashes needed

A memorial diamond is grown purely from the carbon extracted from cremation ashes of which a minimum of 500g is needed to grow. If a company needs less than 500g of ashes, another carbon source is being used in order to grow the size of diamond needed. ALGORDANZA guarantees that your diamond is made of 100% of your loved ones cremated remains.

Age of ashes does not matter

The age of a person’s cremation ashes is irrelevant, rather the carbon content which does not diminish over time is important. ALGORDANZA has created diamonds from ashes that are decades old.

Traditional urn for cremation ashes
3 diamonds from ashes - due to boron, cremation diamonds are dark blue to colourless

All memorial diamonds should be blue

ALGORDANZA does not influence the colour of their diamonds.

The element boron makes diamonds blue, a small amount of boron may make the diamond almost colourless. A large amout of boron will make the diamond dark blue. Since our bodies naturally contain the element boron, all diamonds made from ashes or hair should be a shade of blue. Boron is primarily stored within our bones, nails and hair which also contain the largest amount of carbon.

The addition of nitrogen from industrial carbon or poor processing will make a diamond yellow, amber or even black.  Although our bodies also contain nitrogen, it is completely evaporated during cremation as it is not stored in our bodies, rather used for DNA, RNA and amino acids found in blood.

Exposing the diamond to radiation turns them green, pink or red and breaks down the diamond lattice, making a diamond weaker. Also, thin-film coatings are sometimes used on diamonds to make them green, pink or red.

Diamonds made from hair cost less

Extracting the carbon from hair is much easier and less time consuming than extracting carbon from ashes. Sometimes there is not 500g of ashes available in order to grow a cremation diamond or the deceased wished out of personal or religious reasons, a traditional burial. Since hair contains approximately 51% carbon, a much smaller amount of hair can be made into a diamond, approximately 5 grams of hair is required.

Since hair comes from our bodies, diamonds created from hair will have the same blueish colour naturally. As a general rule, the younger a person is, the more boron they have in their bodies, the older a person is, the less boron they have.

Diamond made from hair, an Algordanza Hair diamond - Round Cut
Opening of a growing cell to reveal rough diamond

Rough diamonds, a sign of authenticity

Rough (uncut) diamonds are unique, no two diamonds grow the same, just like the loved individual they are made from. Only ALGORDANZA offers rough diamonds, because only we produce our own memorial diamonds in Switzerland. Rough diamonds also cost less and contain all of the individual they are made from because nothing is cut off in order to make a specific shape.

It is possible to set rough diamonds into beautiful jewellery. The most popular choice is to set a rough diamond into a pendant or necklace,  showing off the unique texture of the rough diamond.

Cremation diamonds help with grief

A memorial diamond is simply the compressed form of the cremation ashes they once were. Some individuals keep the ash diamond in a case on display at home, just like an urn would be displayed. However, many people have their memorial diamond made into jewellery, this allows an individual to take their lost loved one to places they couldn’t go before they passed away as well as being able to keep them as close as possible.

 

Memorial diamonds are a unique form of remembrance
Turning ashes or hair into diamonds with special HPHT presses

The manufacturing process: This is how a memorial diamond is created

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.

Measuring carbon concentration in ashes and hair

The human body consists of around 20% carbon or carbon compounds. During cremation most of the carbon escapes as gaseous carbon dioxide. The remaining amorphous or chemically bound carbon (carbonates) accounts for approximately 0.5 to 3.0% of the cremated remains, which can be proven by any laboratory having the necessary equipment.

Hair consists of around 51% Carbon. For the creation of one or more ALGORDANZA Hair Memorial Diamonds we need at least 5g of hair. If not enough cremated remains or hair are available, a third carbon source such as personal letters, a diary or photos of the deceased can be used to isolate enough carbon for the synthesis of at least one Memorial Diamond. Please contact us in this case.

Determining carbon content in cremated remains
Algordanza has the highest quality processing available

Isolation of 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-rich, insoluble residue is 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.

Graphitization of carbon

Before a cremation diamond can grow, we have to increase the purity of the isolated carbon. In order to increase purification, impurities must be removed and vaporised. The distinct graphite structure is then created.

This is achieved by heating up the amorphic carbon from 2,500°C up to 2,700°C in a vacuum environment.

Past this stage of process, the graphite reaches a purity of approximately 99%. The arrangement of the carbon atoms in the graphite structure is essential to significantly advancing the subsequent diamond synthesis.

Diamonds are made of 99% carbon, our bodies contain approximately 21% carbon
Putting an Algordanza growing cell into a HPHT press

The diamonds' growing cell

In the following step the graphite from the cremated remains is set into a specially made container we call a growing cell.

The growing cell consists of 22 components, which are all manufactured and assembled by hand by our staff of professionals in Switzerland. This task requires the highest precision, otherwise the diamond growth may be stunted or even impeded.

The growing cell is an isolated container which generates the growth of a cremation diamond, simulating natural conditions.

Growth process of a diamond

The growing cell is carefully set into a High Presseure High Temperature (HPHT) press with exact precision. Our HPHT presses are constructed specifically for ALGORDANZA’s necessities and weigh more than 14 tons each.

The growing cell is exposed to an approximate pressure of 60,000 bar and a temperature of 1,400°C. Within the growing cell the graphite structure slowly grows into a diamond.

The longer the growing cell stays in the HPHT-press; the longer the growth process, and therefore the larger the cremation diamond will be.

German engineered HPHT presses for Algordanza, highest quality
Opening of a growing cell to reveal rough diamond

Opening of the growing cell and removal

At the end of the calculated growth phase, which is determined by the desired diamond size, the growing cell is removed from the press.

The growing cell is then opened layer by layer, revealing the rough diamond within. Single components of the growing cell are collected, refined and recycled when possible.

The rough diamond

Inside of the cell’s core, embedded in solid metal, the newly grown cremation diamond is located at its center. It has the distinct, consistent crystalline facets typical of an uncut or rough diamond.

Cutting and polishing

Either the diamond will be handed over to the family as a rough diamond or per request taken to a diamond cutter to be cut from the 6 most popular cuts available. Cutting and polishing a diamond is a real craft and only made by experienced experts by hand.

If the cremation diamond is requested as a rough diamond, the ALGORDANZA staff only polishes the abrasive facets created through diamond growth.

Laser inscription

Each ALGORDANZA cremation diamond is engraved with a laser inscription on the diamond’s girdle consisting of the ALGORDANZA signet and the unique reference number of the order. If requested an individual message can be added at the end of the reference number on rough diamonds only. The laser inscription is only visible under a microscope with a magnification of at least 30.

Close examination of finished memorial diamond
Gemologist examining ash diamond

Examination and certification

After cutting, polishing, and engraving the memorial diamond it is carefully inspected and extensively documented.

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

Delivery of your cremation diamond

The finished ALGORDANZA Cremation Diamond can either be personally picked up by family members in Switzerland or it will be taken back to ALGORDANZA South Africa. It is at the family’s discretion to either keep the Memorial Diamond in its diamond case or have it set into a piece of jewellery.
Memorial diamond secured in a beautiful oak box
Team Admin, Switzerland

How to order your ash diamond

3 steps to order your diamond from ashes or hair

  • First, contact ALGORDANZA in the UK for current ashes to diamonds pricing and information
  • After you have decided on the carbon source, size and cut , sign our contract and pay 50%
  • As soon as the contract is signed, we will secure the ashes from you or your funeral home

That’s all there is needed, a memorial diamond is just as easy to arrange as any other burial, we help you through the process. Once the order is placed, we will give you an approximate time of completion and update you on each phase of the process.

Why a cremation diamond as a unique burial alternative?

Memories to cherish and hold on to – By creating cremation or memorial diamonds from the ashes or hair of a loved one, you capture the essence of that special person and instead of a traditional urn stored at home or at a cemetery you can remember that special person in a more unique and close way.

More affordable than traditional funerals – A cremation or memorial diamond will still cost less than a standard burial, which can cost up to £7,500 or more (Average traditional funeral in the SE of England).

Ethically better diamonds – Many natural diamonds are still obtained through severe human rights abuse as well as the exploitation of children, workers and whole communities. It can cause devastation and severe damage to the land as well as the local water supply.

Contact

ALGORDANZA Ltd.
The Chapel
11 Seale Hayne
Newton Abbot
Devon
TQ12 6NQ
United Kingdom

Telephone: 01392 581012
uk@algordanza.com

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