that one plot point you told absolutely no one about because you want to retain the shock factor
but at the same time you desperately want to share so whenever you think about it you just squirm anxiously and are always on the verge of blurting out
Rinaldo Willy’s job is to transform dead people into precious stones.
Willy, 33, is the founder and CEO of Algordanza, a peculiar funeral home based in the lovely town of Domat/Ems in western Switzerland. Algordanza—which in the local Romansch language means “remembrance”—is one of the leaders in the production of so called “memorial diamonds.” If you fancy a blinged-out eternal sleep, Algordanza will put the latest technologies at your service to convert your ashes into a synthetic diamond.
The price for this transfiguration 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 shiny remains into what the firm’s website describes as a “noble wooden box.” But it will then be up to your loved ones to decide whether to leave you in your noble box or put you on a ring or pendant so they can carry you around with them.
Every year, 850 former-people enter Algordanza’s laboratory to emerge some years later as a precious gem. While shortage of land and increasing population are calling the traditional cemetery model into question, perhaps the future of corpse management could lie in this unusual blend of mortuary science and jewelry.
To further investigate, I caught up with the man himself, Rinaldo Willy.
So, can you tell us how you got the idea of making diamonds from corpses?
The idea first struck meten years ago, when I was a student of economics. One of my teachers gave me an article by a Russian scientist to read; it was about the production of synthetic diamonds to be used in the semiconductor industry. The article explained how such diamonds could be made from ashes, and I misinterpreted it, thinking it was referring to human ashes–while in fact it was talking about vegetable ashes.
I liked the idea, and I asked my teacher for more information on that process of transforming human ashes into diamonds. He quickly told me that I had got the whole thing wrong. But he found that my mistake was quite intriguing, so he got in touch with the author of the article, who just happened to have some diamond-making machines here in Switzerland. Together, we started to set up what would become Algordanza.
What was so compelling about turning human ashes into diamonds?
Diamonds are precious, pure, clean. They couldn’t be more different from today’s cemeteries, which are places crammed with too many graves, very often neglected, and where you can’t have a real relationship with the dead. I loved the idea of dead people becoming something you can touch and enjoy the sight of. I also like the fact that a diamond remains, can be kept and passed down from generation to generation. It’s not something that you just scatter away at some point, like sometimes happens with ashes from cremation.
In other words, you think that “diamonds are forever.”
I don’t want to use that term, since “forever” recalls the concept of eternity, which belongs to the Church’s terminology. We prefer the word “unzerbrechlich,” which in German means “indestructible.” Our diamonds are indestructible tools of remembrance, but, at the end of the day, it depends on a person’s loved ones to keep their memory alive.
Let’s get a bit technical. What is the procedure to transform human ashes into a synthetic diamond?
The whole process takes place here in Switzerland. After a person is cremated, we receive their ashes; according to the legislation of the country the dead person is from, we either receive the ashes in a single urn or in two urns shipped at two different times to avoid the situation where, in case of accident, all the ashes are lost.
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. After some weeks, or months, we obtain the diamond.
How big are the diamonds that you can create in your laboratory?
Usually they are four carats when they are rough and 1 carat after they’ve been cut. There have been diamonds as big as 1.6 or 1.8 carats, but they were exceptional cases.
Why do some people become bigger diamonds than others?
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. For example, 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.
Such things can also influence the color of the stone. For example, people who have been treated with chemotherapy usually wind up being diamonds of lighter colors. But we still don’t know what determines the color of the gem: our diamonds are usually blue because of the presence of boron traces in human body, but every person changes into a different and unique diamond, ranging from crystal-clear to almost black.
What’s the difference between one of your diamonds and a real diamond?
Our diamonds are real diamonds. They have all the physical and chemical properties of diamonds. Obviously, synthetic diamonds are less valuable than natural ones, since they’re man-made. But you can’t tell our diamonds from natural ones with the naked eye. Not even a jeweler could. The only one way to distinguish between them is a chemical screening – a gemologist may help you with that –which will find out that the stone was made artificially.
So hypothetically, nobody but gemologists could guess that the diamond ring I am wearing is actually, say, my late fiancée?
There’s no apparent difference. It would most likely look like a natural blue diamond, which costs in the neighborhood of $40,000.
Don’t you think that it may give rise to a new fashion of “body snatching”? I mean thieves, who aren’t usually very knowledgeable about gemological screenings, could take my diamond in the belief that they’re just stealing a precious stone, when in fact they’re snatching my grandpa.
Natural diamonds always go with a certificate proving their authenticity; therefore it could be difficult for a thief to resell our diamonds. But the possibility of this kind of theft does exist, since more or less 80 percent of our costumers treat their memorial diamonds as jewels, often mounting them on rings.
And indeed, a similar case has happened some time ago in Germany: police called us after finding one of our diamonds in a thief’s hideout, together with jewels, money and stolen TVs. Luckily, in that case the diamond had a laser inscription—which we provide at an extra cost—and the police could get in touch with us.
Is it possible to make more than one diamond from the same person, in order to avoid a scenario in which you lose the diamond, thereby losing your dead relative forever?
Yes, it is possible, since just two grams of carbon are sufficient to produce a diamond. In fact, some of our customers, especially in Japan, ask to make many memorial diamonds from the same ashes, one for each member of the family. Theoretically, and depending on the quantity and quality of the ashes, we could churn out up to 50 diamonds for every person; practically, the best we’ve done so far is nine diamonds.
How big are you in Japan?
We are huge in Japan. It accounts for 25 percent of our sales. I think that it’s mainly for two reasons: in the first place, they have a much stronger cult of ancestors than we have in Europe; they have a very close relationship with their dead. Secondly, it’s a question of numbers: more than 99 percent of Japanese people are cremated after death. That means that there are many more ashes to be transformed into diamonds.
In general, why do people resorting to your services decide to be transformed into diamonds?
In many cases they don’t decide, since it’s their relatives—usually their mothers or wives—who come to us. The reason given by the relatives is typically that they want to keep the deceased always with them. But there are also people who choose to become diamonds while they are still alive. Often they are people who are aware that they’ll die soon, like for example someone with a terminal illness.
One of the reasons they give us is economic—they want to avoid the costs of burial in a cemetery. In other cases, they’re people living alone and very far from the place where they were born, who are afraid that nobody would properly care for their grave if they were buried.
Are you going to become a diamond, too?
I don’t know. Hopefully it will be up to my relatives, to my wife and children, to decide whether I will. They’re the ones who will have to choose the best way to cope with the grief and loss.
the creator of tumblr looks like hussies long lost brother
What if they’re ectosiblings?
or what if
someone needs to turn down that sass level
Two things to know about Canada!
- We are smart enough to know hot things should be hot.
- We are sorry if you don’t
fun story about the reason they do that (at least in America)
once this lady spilled her McDonald’s coffee on herself and ended up getting like 3rd degree burns and since there was no warning on the cup she was able to claim she didn’t know it would be hot (or at least that hot) and won a lawsuit against McDonald’s for $1 million
That’s what the media smear campaign against her would have you believe, anyway. The truth of the matter is that the McDonald’s in question had previously been cited - on at least two separate occasions - for keeping their coffee so hot that it violated local occupational health and safety regulations. The lady didn’t win her lawsuit because American courts are stupid; she won it because the McDonald’s she bought that coffee from was actively and knowingly breaking the law with respect to the temperature of its coffee at the time of the incident.
(I mean, do you have any idea what a third-degree burn actually is? Third-degree burns involve “full thickness” tissue damage; we’re talking bone-deep, with possible destruction of tissue. Can you even imagine how hot that cup of coffee would have to have been to inflict that kind of damage in the few seconds it was in contact with her skin?)
Yeah I’m tired of people joking about either the “stupid” woman who didn’t know coffee was hot or the “greedy” woman making up bullshit to get money.
She was hideously injured by hideous irresponsibility, it was an absolutely legitimate lawsuit and the warning on the cups basically allows McDonalds to claim no responsibility even if it happens again. Every other company followed suit to cover their asses.
So they can still legally serve you something that could sear off the end of your tongue or permanently demolish the front of your gums and just give you a big fat middle finger in court. “The label SAID it would be HOT, STUPID.”
obligatory reblog for the great debunking of the usual ignorance spouted about this case
obligatory mention that the media smear campaign to twist teh facts on this case and get public opinion against the victim was deliberate and fueled by the right wing tort reform movement
it was seized upon to limit the rights of consumers to hold giant corporations accountable for wrongdoing
watch the documentary Hot Coffee, it lays out all of the facts and examines the response to this case and explains why everything you think you know about this case is bullshit, and explains why tort reform is bullshit in an entertaining and informative manner
The woman injured in Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants was 79 years old at the time of her injuries, and suffered third-degree burns to the pelvic region (including her thighs, buttocks, and groin), which in combination with lesser burns in the surrounding regions caused damage to an area totaling a whopping 22% of her body’s surface. These injuries that required two years of intensive medical care, including multiple skin grafts; during her hospitalization, Stella Liebeck lost around 20% of her starting body weight.
She was uninsured and sued McDonald’s Restaurants for the cost of her past and projected future medical care, an estimated $20,000. The corporation offered a settlement of $800, a number so obviously ridiculous that I’m not even going to dignify it with any further explanation.
The settlement number most often quoted is not the amount that the corporation actually paid; the jury in the first trial suggested a payment equal to a day or two of coffee revenues for McDonald’s, which at the time totaled more than $1 million per diem. The judge reduced the required payout to around $640,000 in both compensatory and punitive damages, and the case was later settled out of court for less than $600,000.
Keep in mind that at the time, McDonald’s already had over 700 cases of complaints about coffee-related burns on file, but continued to sell coffee heated to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit (around 90 degrees Celsius) as a means of boosting sales (their selling point was that one could buy the coffee, drive to a second location such as work or home, and still have a piping hot beverage). This in spite of the fact that most restaurants serve coffee between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 71 degrees Celsius), and many coffee experts agree that such high temperatures are desirable only during the brewing process itself.
The Liebeck case was absolutely not an example of litigation-happy Americans expecting corporations to cover their asses for their own stupidity, but we seem determined to remember it that way. It’s an issue of liability, and the allowable lengths of capitalism, and even of the way in which our society is incredibly dangerous for and punitive towards the uninsured, but it was not and is not a frivolous suit. Please check your assumptions and do your research before you turn a burn victim’s suffering into a throwaway punchline.
#don’t fricking get me started on Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants the level of misinformation floating around is staggering#I know that it’s an older case but it still makes me really mad that people treat it as this big dumb thing?#the fact that the media took a serious case and turned it into what it is to us today should piss people off#the level of distortion of facts is astonishing and upsetting and nobody seems to hear about it?#sorry I’m done I just#it upsets me when a legal travesty like this is just dragged out for some#’haha americans are sOOOOOOOo dumb!!1!’ humor#I MEAN GODDAMN IF YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE FUN OF AMERICANS AT LEAST MAKE FUN OF US WITH FACTS OKAY
jesus, i actually didn’t know about any of this, thanks for clearing that up
*reads the last line again*
*closes the book*
*throws book out the window*
*jumps out the window after it*
*writhes in pain while clutching the book*
*cries and rocks it back and forth*
*puts it back down on the shelf*
*Calls friend* “read this book”
Body Language Cheat Sheet for Writers
As described by Selnick’s article:
This is something I have always encouraged people to consider when writing. If you can afford it, and you have one in your area - TAKE A BODY LANGUAGE CLASS. It will open your eyes to a whole new world of subtleties you never knew existed. SO worth it as a “Real Life” skill and for all those times when you’re writing and you need your character to react nonverbally.
There is also, in addition to these others, the writer resource book: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
This is how you show, not tell what your character is feeling.
i’m sorry but can we just take a moment to appreciate disney genderbending
at the perfection
in all of this
and let’s not forget the best one
i’m so satisfied
I’m not bc those will never be real movies and it breaks my heart