How are Ashes Turned into Diamonds?
Turning ashes into diamonds complete process
Cremation Ashes Needed for Diamond Creation
In order to turn ashes into a diamond, we first need one pound of cremated remains in order to start the growth process, this is because the human body consists of approximately 20% carbon. The cremation ashes can be decades old, the amount of carbon in the ashes is most important. The cremated remains of an average adult weigh approximately 4 to 8 pounds. 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.
Hair consists of around 51% carbon. For the creation of one or more Algordanza memorial diamonds we need at least 5g of hair.
After cremation most elements are evaporated, only elements which are stored in our bones, nails and hair remain, such as boron. Because of the natural element boron, diamonds from both ashes and hair are normally dark blue to colorless, depending on the amount of boron in the ashes. As reported by the GIA (Gemoligical Institute of America) blue diamonds are extremely rare where as yellow, brown or amber are common and have much less value. Algordanza specializes in the creation of colorless and blue cremation and memorial diamonds.
Isolation of Carbon from Cremains
Turning ashes or hair into a diamond is a multistage process. Since carbon is the basis of everything we know, and cremation diamonds consist of almost pure carbon, with the exception of boron, the carbon needs to be separated from the cremation ashes. The first step is to chemically remove any oxidic and possible metallic elements within the cremated remains and the highly purified carbon is then isolated through filtration. Both the chemical and filtration processes take many days of constant work and observation to complete. This isolated carbon weighs only a few grams, yet contains between 50% and 90% amorphic carbon.
Increasing Purification to 99.99%
Before a diamond can be grown, we have to increase the purity of the isolated carbon. In order to increase purification, impurities such as nitrogen which turns a diamond made from ashes yellow, amber or brown, must be removed and vaporised. The distinct graphite structure is then created.
Past this stage of process, the graphite reaches a purity of approximately 99.99%. The arrangement of the carbon atoms in the graphite structure is essential to significantly advancing the subsequent diamond synthesis.
Algordanza has the highest quality processing possible, which means higher costs and time ot take to grow a diamond from ashes and hair, but also increases a diamonds clarity. Because of Algordanza’s purification process, more than 80% of all of our diamonds are VS1 or better, which means no visible flaws or inclusions. The only way to see an inclusion by Algordanza diamonds is through the use of a microscope. And less than 1% of all diamonds found in nature are flawless.
The Diamond's 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.
In order for the diamond to know how it should grow, we take a real diamond and put it in the growing cell as a type of “blueprint” for the cremation diamond’s growth systhesis. The growing cell is an isolated container which simulates the natural conditions in which a diamond grows.
Creation Process of a Diamond
The growing cell is carefully set into a High Presseure High Temperature (HPHT) press with exact pecision. Our HPHT presses are constructed in Germany specifically for Algordanza’s necessities each weighing more than 14 tons.The growing cell is exposed to an approximate pressure of 60,000 bar and a temperature of 1,800°C. Within the growing cell the graphite structure slowly turns into a diamond. The longer the growing cell stays in the HPHT-press; the longer the growth process, and therefore the larger the diamond from ashes will be.
Opening of the Growing Cell
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. Pleas note that since a diamond actually grows, the end size of the diamond may be smaller or larger than calculated, since everything grows at different rates, just like we do.
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.
The rough diamond is uncovered and cleansed from the alloy carefully through an acid bath.
Cut and Polish
ALGORDANZA does not have the means to cut diamonds, however we can recommend an expert diamond cutter. 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.
Each Algordanza cremation 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. If requested an individual message can be engraved additionally at the end of the reference number. The laser inscription is only visible under a microscope with a magnification of at least 30.
Examination and Certification
After cutting, polishing, and engraving the memorial diamond, the diamond is 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 UK from our UK representative and delivery personally back to the individual or family that ordered the diamond.