If picturing the deceased as stars made stargazing a difficult prospect, then this is going to seriously make you question your love for jewels. According to Algordanza, it is no biggie to transform a human’s cremated remains into a diamond. I suppose that would be no surprise for those who remember the story on turning your DNA into wall art. Or maybe it still is.
Considering diamonds are essentially just pressurized carbon atoms and the human body is roughly 18% carbon, the two probably aren’t all that far apart. Or so the creative folks at Algordanza seem to think. The company is thriving on the information that carbon can be separated out from the other elements in the ashes and used to mimic the natural diamond-making process. They cannot actually guarantee what the resulting diamond will look like but its size can be up to one carat.
Frank Ripka, Algordanza’s CTO, said it is essential to first chemically analyze each sample of ashes. That done, the non-carbon elements that get mixed in with human ashes are sorted out, dissolved, and then removed. The first cleaning isn’t enough, though and the ashes are put into a growing cell. A catalyst is then added and even more contaminants are pulled out from the ashes. After all, a high-quality diamond can only form if the sample is at least 99% carbon.
According to Ripka it only takes about a week for the diamonds to form since they grow at a rate of about 0.2-0.4 carats per day in the lab. The atoms are bonded tightly together under extreme pressure and temperature in the same way natural diamonds form. How long carbon is subjected to pressure and heat determines the carat size of the resulting diamond. However, according to Algordanza’s website these “memorial” diamonds have the exact same physical and chemical properties as regular diamonds.