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Wet Polishing Guide for Gem Stones

Polishing Steps:

  1. Cut or shape material to the desired surface or pattern using either a diamond blade or diamond cup wheel.
  2. Using a clamping device, secure material to be polished to a proper work surface.
  3. Remember, polishing is a process which takes time and requires that each grit size pad be used properly to achieve a quality finish.
  4. Using the 30, 50, 120, or 220 coarse grit pads, remove all rough scratches and cut marks. Smooth the surface as much as possible with these specific grit pads. The smoothing of the surface during this stage of polishing will determine the quality of the finish that will be achieved. After working the area, dry the surface to determine if all large scratches have been removed. Using a lumber crayon or pencil, mark the surface to determine the depth of the scratches remaining.
  5. Once all large scratches have been sufficiently removed, the finer grit pads can be used to achieve the quality finish. The fine grit pads consist of 400, 800, 1800, 3500. If more luster or color from the polished surface is desired, use the extremely fine 8,500 and13,000 grit pads.
  6. Should glazing or a "film" appear after polishing with the 13,000 grit resin diamond pad, consider using distilled water for the cooling of the pads rather than tap water as some hard water can create swirl marks or a glaze/film due to suspended solids or salts in hard water. In some cases certain materials like obsidian, jade and fortification agate may require additional polishing using cerium, tin, or aluminum oxide to obtain an improved final polish.

After completing the polishing process, the following steps must be followed if a mirror finish is desired:

The surface should have a high luster or finish. If the surface appears to have small scratches, repeat step 5. In some cases it may be necessary to repeat steps 4 & 5.

Important Points in the Polishing Process: