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Friday, January 24, 2014

From Ashes to Diamonds

Have you ever contemplated over a phrase “from ashes you came, to ashes you will return”? It sounds fatal and lifeless. But there is actually life after death not only in a way of a soul, but in a form of a gem when it comes to diamonds made of ashes.

Swiss company Algordanza is known for making diamond gems from cremated human remains. They take ashes, put it into a diamond-growing chamber and compress into diamonds under high temperature and high pressure that resembles conditions deep under the Earth mantle. Algordanza have offices in 24 countries worldwide and each year from 800 to 900 people address them with request for diamonds.

The process of diamond growing is rather sophisticated and it takes about three month to turn ashes into a real diamond stone. In fact, most diamonds come out blue. In nature this is boron element that tints diamond in blue and as it turned out human body contains a large amount of boron, too. 

However, like every person is unique, every diamond stone is one of a kind too. Sometimes it may turn yellow, white or even black. No one can predict what color it will be, it's a surprise for both customers as well as for lab engineers. Most of orders (about 25 per cent) come from Japan.

The price for a lab-grown memorial diamond is about the same as the cost of some funerals – from $5,000 to $22,000. It usually depends on how much time you give a diamond to grow. It lasts for weeks but the longer it lasts, the larger the stone will be. Once the rough stone is ready, it is ground and cut to a shape to customer's taste. At extra charge the gem may be engraved with a laser.

The diamond made of ashes can later be kept in a box or be set into a mounting. Algordanza's customers often make a ring or a pendant out of grown diamonds.

Algordanza is not actually the only company that turns ashes to diamonds. There's also LifeGem, an American company based in Chicago.

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