Another smoothing and polishing system involves the use of diamond compound which is applied to various types of work surfaces. This compound consists of diamond grit suspended in a carrier of creamy consistency. It is put up in plastic syringes that are used as applicators. One of the surface to which diamond compound is applied is the resin treated pad. These pads are circles of special cloth impregnated with some form of plastic resin. They are attached to discs which ae mounted on machine shafts.

There are variety of the backing discs. One type consists of a metal or plastic circle faced with a rubber cushion. To attach a pad to a disc with the feathering or wheel cement, faithfully follow the manufacturer’s instruction on the adhesive container, and be sure to get a good bond. Also, be certain the cement is fresh; it an dry out and a pad can fly loose from the disc during operation.

Many craftsmen do this, but here are some precautions in order. First of all, when putting a pad back on the disc, avoid touching the abrasive surface with your fingers. Lay some wax paper or similar substance on this surface, set the pad on the disc cushion with its adhesive coat and press on the pad.

Follow the disc and pad manufacturer’s instructions on operating speed. For these discs and pads with feathering cement, it is better to put the speed of your machine between 1,100 and 1,750 rpm. Caution against going faster than 1,750 because the pad might fly off.


Although you can use just one disc, interchanging is a good idea to have a separate disc for each grit, if you can afford it.

The first step in using one of these pads is to charge it with diamond compound. Considering that these pads and discs are supplied in different diameters, varying amount of compounds are required. Next use a polished cabochon to spread the compound around. Start with a light pressure, then increase it. Work from 1 to 2 minutes to thoroughly embed the diamond in the resin.

Finally, a silicone fluid must be added. It helps to further distribute the diamond abrasive in the pad, and acts as a coolant.

Heating up is especially noticeable when you are working with the very fine grits, such as 50,000 and 100,000. These are the grits that we mentioned previously for working soft stones, and some of these soft materials, like opal and turquoise, are quite sensitive to heat. So with these fine grits, polish the stone for just a few seconds, let cool, then work a few seconds more, etc.

Always wash the gem and your hands between grits.

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