Sure, diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but now these diamonds on this girl’s lovely neck might be her relatives. You say it sounds gory? Of course it does, and it yodels, too.
NPR reported today about the Swiss company Algordanza, which takes cremated human remains, applies high heat and pressure that mimic the Earth’s, and compresses them into diamonds.
Rinaldo Willy, the company’s founder and CEO, says he came up with the idea a decade ago, and people loved it. His customers, he says, span 24 countries.
I know you’re tempted to bring up the past, as in, roughly, 1942-45—I am, too. I suppose the Swiss who stashed away the deposits of Jewish customers who perished in the camps, would have been delighted to also put their ashes to good use. There, I said it, so you won’t have to.
Each year, Mr. Willy processes the remains of between 800 and 900 people. It takes three months, and, presto, there’s grandma on a necklace.
Willy says human ashes turn out as bluish diamonds, because our bones contain trace amounts of boron. But once in a while these human diamonds come out white, yellow and even black.
“Every diamond from each person is slightly different,” Willy says, sounding almost poetic and not at all ghoulish. “It’s always a unique diamond.”
Willy says about 25 percent of Algordanza’s customers are from Japan.
Why am I not surprised?
The turn-mom-into-jewelry process costs between $5,000 and $22,000, more than a funeral, but also shinier. And it takes the average natural diamond millions of years to transform from charcoal to gem—here you get it in 12 weeks.
“The more time you give this process, the bigger the rough diamond starts to grow,” Willy says.
An American company called LifeGem offers the same services, but, somehow, you trust a Swiss person to turn expired people into wealth.