HOUSTON - A Houston company that makes diamonds from cremated ashes is looking for answers after $15,000 worth of diamonds went missing while they were being shipped to the family of a loved one.
"This is pretty much what we consider priceless," said Vincent Campise, one of the company's employees. "These diamonds are made from the cremated remains of the family's loved ones which would be invaluable to someone else but priceless to the family."
The company is Algordanza, based in Switzerland since 2004. It's founder and owner opened an office in Houston. They make specialty diamonds out of ashes that allows family members to keep the memory of a lost loved one forever.
The company's most recent client is the Thomas family from Australia. They lost their 25-year-old son Kyle in an Australian football accident. The Thomas' ordered two, one-of-a-kind diamonds and paid $15,000.
"They were packed here, shipped and sent to Australia," said Campise. "We were hoping the diamonds would make it to the mother of the deceased son."
But they didn't. The Thomas family opened their package only to find two empty boxes. The diamonds had been removed.
"I was devastated," said Veit Brimer, founder of Algordanza. "This is just not happening. I thought it was not real, this is a bad dream."
It's unclear what happened to the diamonds but Algordanza employees believe they were stolen somewhere between Singapore and Australia because they were able to track the package for awhile.
They sent it using UPS. A spokeswoman for the company told KPRC Local 2 it is protocol to work with the local authorities to investigate any allegations of theft. The spokeswoman wasn't familiar with this particular incident but said she would look into it.
Algordanza employees said the Australian police are looking into the situation as well.
"We take a lot of care to make sure the diamonds make it to where we ship them to the families," said Campise.
They've been in business since 2004 and said nothing like this has happened before.
"We're looking to make sure this never happens again," he said.
Algordanza has already started making replacement diamonds for the Thomas family out of their son's remaining ashes.
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