Michael Winter, USA TODAY
Two "memorial" diamonds made from the cremated remains of a 25-year-old Australian man were stolen after being shipped from Houston to his parents, a Texas TV station reports.
The $15,000 gemstones, made from the ashes of Kyle Thomas, apparently were stolen somewhere between Singapore and Australia, says KPRC-TV. Thomas died from an unspecified injury while playing Australian football.
The diamonds were made by Switzerland-base Algordanza and shipped via UPS from its Houston office. When the package arrived in Australia -- KPRC did not say where -- Thomas' parents found only two empty jewel boxes.
The company's founder said it was the first such theft in his firm's eight-year history. Australian police are investigating.
"I was devastated," Veit Brimer, founder of Algordanza, told the station. "This is just not happening. I thought it was not real, this is a bad dream."
Algordanza explains how its "absolutely unique" gems are made:
- The human elements (cremated remains) go through a chemical analysis.
- All non-carbon elements are dissolved leaving only raw organic carbon with variable traces of boron. (Boron levels dictate the color of the diamond.)
- The organic carbon is then converted into graphite. The graphite is then placed into a Diamond Press with a started diamond crystal. The graphite and starter crystals are subjected to 2700 F and 1,000,000 psi. The graphite then crystallizes off of the diamond recreating the same molecular structure as the starter diamond.
- Once crystallized to the desired carat weight the contents are then removed from the press and the natural diamond crystal is cut from the rough diamond. The rough diamond is then cut down to the desired shape and then polished.
- If selected, the diamond is then sent for laser engraving. If not, the diamond will be delivered.
The company says 1 pound of ashes (500 grams) can yield up to three, 1-carat diamonds that show "the same physical, chemical and optical properties as a dug diamond." The "synthesis" takes about three months.
Algordanza said it had begun making replacements from Thomas' remaining ashes.