Rinaldo Willy transforms dead people into precious stones. Willy is the founder and CEO of Algordanza, a funeral home based in western Switzerland.
Algordanza is one of the leaders in the production of “memorial diamonds.” If your eternal wish is sleep in a diamond, Algordanza is at your service to convert your ashes into a synthetic diamond.
The price ranges between 4,500 and 20,000 Swiss francs ($5,000-$22,000), depending on how big a diamond you want to become. That includes the packaging of your carbon into a “noble wooden box.”
After that it will then be up to your heirs whether to leave you in your noble box or put you on a ring or pendant.
Every year, 900 bodies enter Algordanza’s laboratory to emerge later as a diamond.
"We treat the ashes with particular chemical agents to extract all the carbon from them. Next, carbon is heated to high temperatures and converted into graphite. Finally, we place the graphite in a machine that essentially reproduces the conditions that are given in the depths of the Earth, where natural diamonds form over thousands of years: extremely high pressure and temperatures around 1500 degrees Celsius."
We prefer the word “unzerbrechlich,” which in German means “indestructible.” Our diamonds are indestructible remembrance, but, at the end of the day, it depends on a person’s loved ones to keep their memory alive. "
Most stones are four carats rough and 1 carat after cutting. There have been some diamonds as big as 1.6 or 1.8 carats, but they are the exception.
In general, the dimension of the diamond depends on how long you keep the graphite in the machine: the longer the process, the bigger the diamond. But it also depends on the quality of the ashes.
If a person used to wear dentures, or a prosthesis, or they used to take certain medicines, their ashes would be less pure and the quality of the diamond would be inferior.
Some things influence the colour of the stone. People who have been treated with chemotherapy usually wind up being diamonds of lighter colours. Most diamonds are blue because of the traces of boron in the human body, but every person changes into a different and unique diamond, ranging from crystal-clear to almost black.
"When a man of 80 kilos is cremated, he becomes 2.5 kilos of ashes,” Rinaldo Willy explained. “With these ashes, we make a diamond of 0.2 grams, smaller than a button on your shirt.