You have a lot of options as a dead person. Burial and cremation are popular ones. You can opt for a “green” burial, where the body is not embalmed and buried in a biodegradable container. You could also have a “sky burial,” where you’re left out as a snack for scavenging birds. (Really. This is a thing. Look it up.)
One Swiss company is taking a more glamorous approach to human remains. Talk about saving space!
Algordanza provides a service where the cremated remains of a loved one convert into a diamond. The diamond can then be used in jewelry or kept in a collection.
How is this done? First, the carbon is extracted from the cremated remains. The human body is about 18% carbon, and about 2% of that remains after the cremation process. This is the carbon Algodanza uses to make their diamonds, and filters out of the other materials via a chemical process. The carbon is heated and turned into graphite, the material found in pencils.
These are the machines that exert pressure onto the graphite, mechanically transforming it into a diamond
The graphite is heated to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit and subjected to as many as 870,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. The result of this process, which mimics a process deep in the Earth, is a diamond that ranges from white to dark blue in color. The color variation depends on the amount of the element boron in the ashes. The diamond is cut and polished, and many opt to have it set in a ring or another piece of jewelry to keep their deceased loved ones close.
A completed diamond.
Turning someone’s ashes into a diamond is not a cheap process, but it’s comparable with the cost of an average funeral. This process is about $4,500 (USD), not counting the prior cremation. A burial can run almost $10,000 in total.
The process is pretty fascinating on a scientific level, when you consider that what was once a human is now a beautiful gem. I still don’t know how I’d feel about someone wearing my remains everywhere, but it sounds better than the alternatives.