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.