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Polishing on the molecular level


#1

Was: Blue jade

With all due respect, other experts disagree. Google on Dick
Friesen's article titled "Polishing Compounds" in which he says "The
polishing mechanism is still poorly understood at the
chemical/molecular level". Other googleable material has to do
with polishing as a stone metamorphic process and surface
"crystallization" as the polishers call it, as a chemical reaction

I do have a lot of respect for Dick Friesen’s opinions, but he’s a
practical lapidary and gem-carver; I don’t think he makes any claim
to being a materials scientist. That quote sounds like his way of
side-stepping an old controversy over the long-discredited (but
passionately debated) “Bielby effect”, which posited an amorphous
melt layer forming as the result of polishing action on crystalline
surfaces. Examination of these surfaces with scanning electron
microscopes has since debunked this theory, since they showed
micro-scratches from the abrasive, not the melted surfaces the theory
predicted.

I suppose you can find anything you want on the web, but that
doesn’t mean it’s true. If you want some “googleable” but reliable
on the subject, look up the Bielby Layer in this ASTM
glossary: http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1hu

“Beilby layer, n an altered surface layer of supposedly
amorphous material formed on a crystalline solid during
mechanical polishing, whose existence was proposed in Sir George
Beilby’s writings. The existence of such a layer is not supported
by recent research, and the use of this term is therefore
considered archaic and is strongly discouraged.”

This is important in the context of gemological prospecting along
fault lines. In 1994 an amazing 8 inch shift was measured for the
LA quake. The friction and heat must have been enormous at some
places along the fault. What sorts of metamorphic mineralization
accompanied it... some of gemological interest no doubt. 

The metamorphic action of earth shifts on sub-surface minerals is an
entirely different subject. I wasn’t saying that rocks can’t
metamorphose deep in the earth under tremendous heat and pressure,
just that it doesn’t happen when you polish them.

Andrew Werby
www.unitedartworks.com
(visit this site for some more of Dick Friesen’s lapidary tips)


#2
That quote sounds like his way of side-stepping an old controversy
over the long-discredited (but passionately debated) "Bielby
effect" 

Quite right. And even Bielby didn’t claim a chemical change in the
material being polished. There is evidence, on some materials, of
chemical action during polishing, but again, not a chemical change
in the material. A fair amount of research has been done on a few
important industrial materials, but not on gemstones in general. Dr.
Stephen Attaway wrote a good article

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1hx

a while ago. I seem to remember that he wrote something more recent
in the US Facetor’s Guild Newsletter, but it would take me a while to
locate it.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#3

Hi

I have questions about firescale. Is it possible to prevent it? Is
it really possible to get rid of it once it happens? this also is
probably something at the molecular level.

Thank you
Sally Pataky


#4
That quote sounds like his way of side-stepping an old controversy
over the long-discredited (but passionately debated) "Bielby
effect", which posited an amorphous melt layer forming as the
result of polishing action on crystalline surfaces. Examination of
these surfaces with scanning electron microscopes has since
debunked this theory, since they showed micro-scratches from the
abrasive, not the melted surfaces the theory predicted. 

Beilby instincts were correct, but he has been guilty of
over-generalization. To use scanning electron microscope to disprove
his theory is akin to use the same microscope to prove that flawless
diamonds do not exist. Abrasion alone does not explain polishing!
Presence of micro-scratches does not in itself contradict Beilby.

Here is an excerpt on the subject by Finch:

The Beilby Layer on Non-Metals 

G. INGLE FINCH 

of page
Abstract

IT is now generally accepted that the polish layer on metals is
amorphous. The observations which led Beilby to formulate his
famous conception of the vitreous nature of this layer were not,
however, confined to metals, but had also been made with
non-conducting crystals such as quartz, fluorspar, calcite and
others. But Hopkins1, working in G. P. Thomson's laboratory, has
shown that the polish layer on Iceland spar cleavage faces is
crystalline; and Raether's2 electron diffraction patterns from
polished natural faces of rocksalt, fluorite, calcite and pyrites
are also wholly characteristic of crystalline structure.
Nevertheless, the directness and simplicity of his experiments,
in particular the exposure by etching of scratches eliminated by
polishing, seem to speak convincingly in favour of Beilby's
views. 

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#5

Over-generalization is surely a key point since the chemistry of the
stone must have a differential relationship to the heat and pressure
of polishing and any metamophic effect. Leaming says you can drive
the water bonds from nephrite jade in the microwave. So I cooked some
up and though I cannot attest to the chemical change, the colour did
change. What if the minerals polished are zeolites (though lots of
minerals are bonded with water)? The water may be driven off more
easily.

Glazing/polishing itself is highly variable. I tried some glazing
tests on stones in my backyard volcano (kiln) and had variable
success. In one case, I had some 9% sulphur stones and they puffed up
so much I could float them in water… and I got an excellent
glossly glaze as well. Is there a market for high gloss, synthetic
bubble stone (scoria family)? Maybe some day there will be, eg for
house sidings etc. Just think of how big King Tut could have made his
pyramid if he knew how to puff up the local sandstones and marbles
like this - Was I born in the wrong era?

Polishing entails heat/pressure/water (as well as adding a chemical
coat of polish - sometimes I plasticize stones). If we generalize,
this is a formula for the whole range of metamorphic processes
(surface and sub-surface) and the research on stone metamorphism will
surely give us stones not yet discovered in nature and far beyond my
humble backyard kiln experiments.

Nature polishes as well. If I could simulate some of the polishes I
have seen in the field, that would be wonderful. So far I only sent
in one surface polish for assay. I think it was created only by water
action but it was spectacular. I sent it in because of what appeared
to be native gold flecks in the otherwise crystal-clear gloss. I
assayed only the gloss where there was no visible gold but still got
the highest gold assay I have so far as well as high mercury. Can
anyone simulate a gold-mercury clear polish?


#6
Here is an excerpt on the subject by Finch: The Beilby Layer on
Non-Metals G. INGLE FINCH 

Finch was in 1936. A lot more more work has been done, with advanced
tools, in the last 75 years.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#7

Sally,

I have questions about firescale. Is it possible to prevent it? Is
it really possible to get rid of it once it happens? this also is
probably something at the molecular level. 

Read the archives looking for Prips flux. It works although it can a
pain to apply. Other suggestion is a big bushy reducing flame as fast
as possible despite the scare factor. No O2 flames enriched period.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#8

When studied as a thin film in a transmission electron microscope
mechanically polished samples invariably have a thin amorphous layer
on them. To actually get a diffraction pattern described in the
quoted paper you need a slightly thicker foil or film otherwise you
dont get the pattern. Too thick a film and you cannot get to see an
individual lattice plane. So, what to do. Usually samples are
electrochemically polished or polished with an ion beam. This is
usually done at liquid nitrogen temperatures to minimise the damage
done by heat. (chemical polishing done at -25 deg C or cooler)

However, with mechanical polishing you see different efffects
(damage) done with different polishing compounds and laps because of
the physical properties of the combinations used. Fixed abrasives
basically shear fracture the surface and leave subsurface fractures
through the material. This is much worse in brittle materials as with
very plastic materials you get dreadful plastic
deformation/distortion. With loose abrasives it is more of a
percussive impact and the surface fractures are almost nonexistent.
Friction is the reason the polishing occurs, plastic deformation and
low angle shearing does remove layers of atoms and leave a surface so
smooth that even the highest powered scanning electron microscopes
will not see theevidence of polishing but this is also because of how
the SEM generates an image. You tend to get a certain amount of
signal cancelling due to the working distance (focal length) from
the sample to objective lens.

So how thick is this amorphous layer? Depends upon material and
preparation method but a typical mechanically polished sample will
have a layer of less than 15 nanometres. This is about 300 atoms
thick. With elecropolishing or standard ion beam milling the layer is
down to a tenth of that. Low energy ion beam milling will leave no
visible amorphous layer, so less than a couple of atoms thick and
therefore to all purposes not there. When you get down to that sort
of level, quantum mechanics start playing tricks on you anyway. I
have seen gold atoms apparently diffuse through holes in a carbon
lattice that are smaller the the atoms themselves.

Purpose of this jotting? Really to say that you can polish so far
with certain abrasive materials and no further. After that you have
to use something else and it doesnt matter how it works, only that it
does. Colloidal silica works brilliantly on aluminium because it
reacts and chemically polishes the metal without needing nasty acids
or explosive mixtures. For gemstones I prefer fine diamond on a soft
lap but polish quartz well with cerium on a plastic lap, lubrication
and lap speed being the critical factors here. Diamond polish on silk
works well for silver, diamond on a napped rayon works for gold.
Everyone will have a favourite combination for polishing so dont
dismiss it because it isnt one listed in a book. You can polish with
water alone given enough time.

Nick Royall


#9
I have questions about firescale. Is it possible to prevent it? Is
it really possible to get rid of it once it happens? this also is
probably something at the molecular level. 

Sally, go through the Orchid archives looking for posts on the
subject of Prips flux (sometimes misspelled Pripps).

Fire scale is fairly simple to deal with, since it’s a surface oxide
that comes right off in the pickle. The real problem is fire STAIN,
which is that pinkish/greyish “shadow” that shows up on the silver
just as you’re getting to a final polish.

The conjecture that it’s “something at the molecular level” suggests
you don’t fully understand how this happens.

On heating sterling silver, oxygen in the air becomes able to
diffuse somewhat into the silver surface, and to oxidize the copper
in the silver. The copper within the silver is also somewhat mobile
when the metal is hot. Copper oxides too can migrate some, and that
which reaches the surface oxidizes further (the black oxide of copper
rather than the red). It’s then trapped at the surface. That means
there’s something of a one way street going on, and with some
sustained heating and continued exposure to oxygen, you end up with
a four layered surface. At the top is the black copper oxide. Then is
a layer from which the copper is mostly gone, since it was close
enough to the surface that it reached the surface and did not return,
so this zone is then almost pure silver. Below that is a zone where
oxygen reached, forming the red oxide of silver, but here, it did not
manage to migrate (diffuse) out of that layer, being too deep to make
it out. This is the layer that gives you the fire stain problem.
Below it, of course, is the depth to which oxygen did not reach, so
there are no more oxides, and it’s clean silver. When you take this
metal after heating and pickle it, the surface black oxide layer is
removed, leaving you with a matte white surface. it’s the fine silver
layer. If, when you polish the end piece, you don’t cut through this
layer, then you’ll not have a problem with the finish, but it can be
thin, so this is difficult. If you polish into the fire stained
layer, then it contrasts with the fine silver layer, and even more,
with the un oxidized sterling silver below it.

The solution to all this trouble is simple in theory. You simply
have to prevent oxygen from reaching the surface of the metal while
you’re heating it to solder or anneal. The answer is the right type
of fluxing agent.

With gold, a simple coating of boric acid, left by a slurry of
alcohol and boric acid powder into which the metal is dipped, is
enough. But gold doesn’t form the fire stain layer, so it’s less of a
problem anyway, since simple pickling gets you back to clean metal.

With silver, it’s a bit more complex. plain boric acid is also the
fluxing agent most effective at blocking atmospheric oxygen from
reaching the surface, but though some jewelers will use the above
simple boric acid/alcohol dip by itself, boric acid alone is not
fully effective since the surface tension of the silver can prevent
the boric acid from properly coating the silver. And the boric acid
doesn’t, by itself, fully cover the whole temperature range you wish
to protect the silver through. Mixing borax with the boric acid
solves that temperature range proglem. Mixing in other wetting agents
allows the flux to properly cover the metal. Prips flux uses
trisodium phosphate (TSP) to do this. There are other commercial
fluxes, such as cupronil, or firescoff, that also are effective at
protecting the silver during heating. Note that many soldering
fluxes by themselves, are not totally effective. The highly active
white paste fluxes, such as Handy flux or Dandix, for example, do not
seem to properly block oxygen from the metal, even though they are
dissolving oxides from the surface. So with them, even with the flux,
fire stain can sometimes form. The less active Prips flux or
similarly acting fluxes, do not do this.

If you learn to properly apply and use Prips flux (which you make
yourself. Its very cheap. Using it takes a little practice, as it’s
best used by spraying it on, not just brushing), your problems with
fire stain, and fire scale, will be gone. When I first learned silver
work back in the 70s, in an undergraduate metals course, Fred Fenster
taught us to use Prips flux, with the same statement, that it would
never be a problem. And he’s been right, at least for me. The only
times I get fire stain in fabrication, is when I’ve been too lazy to
use the Prips. Casting is another issue, though. Here, fluxing isn’t
something you can do to prevent fire scale or fire stain on the
castings. There are other ways that help, but the simplest is to use
one of the newer fire stain free casting silver alloys.

Peter Rowe


#10

I’ve actually seen this molecular level polishing take place and
have proof that it has.

Some might disagree. You’re welcome to do so. But here’s what
happened. I am a lapidary artist. I do a great deal of carving so I
have to watch very carefully when I work a stone to make sure I
don’t over lap into an area that I don’t want to touch with that
particular grit. That means that at times I have to work dry too.
For that I use a resin belt and diamond compound. One day a few
years ago, I was carving a piece of agate. I was working a 1200 grit
prepolish into a 3000 grit prepolish.

For anyone who does this, you know that 3000 at a fairly fast speed
with just a little bit of pressure can heat up quite a lot so you
not only have to pay close attention with your eyes, but also your
hands.

It was a darker colored material but very uniform in texture.
Suddenly I saw what looked like a mist spreading across the stone
where I was working, but more importantly this sort of mist was also
running slightly ahead of the belt on the wheel, perhaps 2 or 3 mm.
I had to increase and decrease pressure to keep it working without
too much heat.

What was nice was I got a glassy smooth finish out of it. And you
don’t get that with 3000 on most chalcedonies.

Why do I know that it was molecular?

Because when you get the molecular change, it’s a lot more difficult
to break down the polish. You have to go back to around 240 grit to
do it. Even 325, which is normally a cutting grit will take a long
time to break through. Sometimes you have to even put quite a lot of
pressure on 240 to break through.

And when it does, you’ll frequently have to break down the whole
surface before repolishing. It’s very hard to blend the surfaces
after a break down of the molecular polish. You tend to get an inner
and outer layer with a thin skin of difference between them.

There is definitely a harder surface layer than there would be with
merely a mechanical polish.

Truth is however, all the variables of pressure, speed, heat and
receptive material has to be right in order to see it. But I’ve done
it many times since.

Derek Levin
Gemmaker.com


#11

Why do I know that it was molecular?

Because when you get the molecular change, it's a lot more
difficult to break down the polish. 

A well-known phenomenon, actually. However, if you do some research,
you’ll find other explanations. Search the archives of
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1ip or the writings of Stephen
Attaway, for example.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#12
I've actually seen this molecular level polishing take place and
have proof that it has. 

Thanks for an interesting and helpful essay on polishing. In this
Bielby-yes and Bielby-no debate could it be both ways?

IOW, is it possible that there is an optical effect which is the
result of a lot of microscopic ridges and furrows reflecting and
refracting light close to the stone surface and also a
metamorphic-chemical change in the stone surface due to heat,
pressure, water?


#13
Thanks for an interesting and helpful essay on polishing. In this
Bielby-yes and Bielby-no debate could it be both ways? 

It is always useful to understand thinking of the person making a
conjecture. I believe that there are a lot of truth to what Beilby
suggested.

It is well known fact that if we raise temperature of a material,
which is in solid state, comprising atoms shall move with larger and
larger degree of freedom. If we add pressure to the equation,
existing molecular structure can be modified. Both components exist
in polishing process, so it is very logical to come to the same
conclusions as Beilby did.

The objections come from direct examination of surface layer. Beilby
predicted that it will have amorphous structure, but in some cases
crystalline structure was observed. Beilby’s mistake was granting us
more intelligence than we apparently posses. He assumed that process
will be carried until the ultimate transformation took place. If we
polish one spot let’s say non-stop for a year, the resulting layer
will be amorphous, but short application simply results in minor
modifications to existing crystalline structure. Beilby assumed that
it implies that process to be carried indefinitely, but some
scientists, nearsightedly focusing on semantics of what he said and
buttressing their arguments with ill designed experiments, gained
some notoriety in refuting his conjecture.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#14
IOW, is it possible that there is an optical effect which is the
result of a lot of microscopic ridges and furrows reflecting and
refracting light close to the stone surface and also a
metamorphic-chemical change in the stone surface due to heat,
pressure, water? 

No, you get interference fringes on things that are almost perfectly
flat but that has nothing to do metamorphism, heat or water or
reflection either.

Metamorphism isnt a chemical change in the sense of adding or
subtracting things, it is a remix of what was there.

Nick Royall


#15

Raising the temperature of the stone as you note is certainly
important in getting a lot of “colour” on the surface (I use the old
prospecting term here). One of my mineral claims consists of about 50
metamorphosed strata over an igneous body which may have been the
original source of heat for the metamorphosis. I thought it was
quartzite but the geologist who did the petrographic analysis said it
was igneous. Initially I think these were fine loose sediments of
various kinds in the age of the dinosaurs so I expect they have some
residue/transformation of organics in them.

Some are as suitable for carving as the Haida argillite so I did
kiln experiments on coating pieces I sliced up to see if I could get
some ceramic gloss on them. In some cases I did get a nice polish to
increase the colour parameter of “brightness” and there was also some
change in hue. BTW there seems to have been an exothermic reaction in
some pieces. The water bath of the diamond saw used to cut them shows
small “blobs” which look like oil on the surface of the water bath.
They puffed up so much in the kiln into a synthetic scoria-pumice
sort of stone that I can float them in water. And the gloss was nice.
But the heat melted the kiln shelf and almost wrecked the whole
machine. (At least my backyard volcano did not explode).

On another claim I found a surface gloss/glass which contained fine
flakes of what looked to me like native gold. I painstakingly ground
off a gram of material from 20 samples which had no visible gold and
still got one of my highest gold assays. My guess? The surface gloss
came by water (hydrothermal) because of major nearby faulting and
perhaps was then “baked” by nature’s kiln from nearby
igneous/volcanic action. (I also found some gold-bearing quartz veins
nearby). It amazes me to think that maybe water alone could have made
that polish even without heat or pressure. It’s the old "Neptunist"
and “Plutonist” debate in the evolution of stones. If water alone,
why could there not even be microdiamonds from ancient
alluvial/glacial sources embedded in the surface gloss/glass as
well? And do you think even GIA could identify diamond dust at let us
say 2,500/carat instead of the 250/carat Dave Phelps talked about in
his work? Probably, because that is Bhavani-sized. What about
25,000/carat?

At the very least such diamond dust is as important to prospectors
establishing vectors as flour gold (which BTW produces a nice
glitter as well in a prospecting pan. Ask Rock9). Maybe he can
estimate the number of gold microstones (which is what flour gold is)
per carat of 200 mg.

There are many ways to get surface polish. How about coating some
jewelry pieces with plastic? That protects them from scratch and adds
a gloss. It is very strong. Then, my thread about microdiamonds…
and other stony microsparkles. Why not embed tiny stones in the
plastic? Would that give the required effect? In the end it is about
increasing the brightness (more than hue and saturation) of the
surface is it not? Isn’t that what the “flash” of a diamond gives? It
seems from what Dave Phelps posted that the cost per carat is
inversely proportional to the size of the stones. At what stone size
might the sparkle/unit of area be maximized for the dollar spent?
Bang for the buck becomes sparkle for the buck… and sparkle in a
surface area rather than 3D as for set stones with ajoure work etc.

The starry sky of the prospector teaches us that pinpricks of light
can be awesomely aesthetic and aesthetic effect is certainly a factor
in fine jewelry. And does it matter if the microdiamonds are
facet-cut or simply crushed into dust-sized stones? What kind of
surface brightness will they yield embedded in plastic? Help me out
ladies - isn’t there a kind of nail polish which is sold with
multi-coloured glitter in the plastic-like polish? Nail polish is
plastic-like. It coats and protects a mineral-like substance produced
by the body, ie the finger nail. Maybe some nail polish is literally
(chemically) plastic as in vinyl nail polish.

Why not take a walk on the wild side, further to Charles Anderson
comments about “tomorrow’s fine jewelry”. If John Lenon’s ivory
(tooth) can fetch $31,000 and may dangle from a necklace some day,
along with the hard tissue outgrowths of elephants, walruses and
narwals and bug chitin in amber why not Martha Stewart’s gilded
finger nail clippings? I hope her manicurist is on Orchid and sees
the opportunity as did the Lenon employee. Does anyone know how much
a finger nail grows in a year? Harvesting celebrity finger nails is
a renewable resource and potentially a multi-billion dollar
tomorrow’s fine jewelry industry. But seriously isn’t someone who
does fine manicures for fashion trying to achieve the same objective
as someone doing fine jewelry for fashion… and in principle there
is nothing wrong with fashion.

The other day I stopped in at the Michael Hill (fine) jewelry store.
The shelves of diamonds give a massive display of glitter and that is
deliberate. I asked the clerk to put a small gold cross, just a few
cm long on the table and I could barely see the tiny History Future.
Thus we come to Future Jade. Fine jewelry is like a box of fine
chocolates says Forest.

Perhaps Comrade Charles Anderson from the thin red line in our fine
and glorious jewelry revolution has the moxie to walk into Michael
Hill or Peoples’ further down the mall and ask if those pieces are
any more “fine jewelry” than the competing Future Jade jewelry at
Walmart or the Dollar Store which is carved by mechatronic artists
and coated with bejewelled plastic glitter on an assembly line.


#16
It seems from what Dave Phelps posted that the cost per carat is
inversely proportional to the size of the stones. At what stone
size might the sparkle/unit of area be maximized for the dollar
spent? 

Pardon my dyslexia but that should have been - the cost per unit of
glitter appears to be directly proportional to the size of the
stones. (Also some of the essay was mistakenly deleted by moderator).
A diamond paragon will cost more per carat than the equivalent
carat-weight of Bhavani microdiamonds but the thousands of Bhavanis
will yield far more glitter. I wish to maximize glitter for the
dollar spent and I consider stones other than diamond for that
glitter including the tiny stones which constitute gold dust. Set in
plastic they may get an extra boost from the “ajoure effect” with
lots of light coming into the plastic polish from sides and bottom
and hitting the stones. Don’t know for sure yet how to do it - maybe
I will have to rely on my own testing. I make the rounds of cosmetics
stores to see what manicure aestheticians do with sparkle set in nail
polishes.

My objective is to maximize NPV (net present value) for a proposed
line of mechatronic jewelry, using jade, argillite, granite etc. as
the foundation stone and surface microstones for glitter and
patterning. I do not want anyone on this planet to have a credible
argument that this is other than “fine jewelry” no matter how low or
high the price so I make notes on all of the postings of the FJ
thread.

If I go into Gastown, the Vancouver tourism mecca, I will spend
$10,000+ for a First Nation carving in wood and shell. They use cedar
for the main/foundation material and shell for glitter and patterning
effects.

Now what if I can make a deal with a skilled FN carver and he has
his $10,000+ work in a gallery but I sell x number of mechatronic
jewelry miniatures? The sales booklets show both. Both are fine works
of art.

I want to specially thank Michael Johnson and his comments on
finance in FJ. There are works on cosmicfolklore.com which IMO are
stunningly beautiful.


#17

peters taradiddles

Peter,

you cannot hijack a word or phrase because you wish it to apply to
your circumstance. Fine Jewellery has a well defined prescription
and your jewellery will fall outside those terms and limits. Likewise
fine art, carving etc.

1 carat of 0.5 micron diamond coats about $7.50 wheras a 1 carat
diamond will cost $1000-$20000 according to quality. reason-supply
and demand. There is demand for $10000 carvings beacuse of how they
are made and who by. I can put paint on a canvas and no-one will buy
it but Damian Hirst does the same daub as I did at infant school and
he gets $100000 each for them.

If you make things in bulk then they must be attractive and give
customers value for money. This is a subjective measure but best
illustrated by automobile manufacturers’ specification and price
levels. I have yet to see a granite or argillite sample that would
look good in small scale carvings as required for jewellery. (for
the non-geologists, argillite is basically a hard sedimentary rock
that has all the attractiveness of mud). the same goes for your
amphibolite, it wont be accepted as jade unless it has the
properties of jade and it is of no use arguing about its bulk
chemistry as mud will again have those elements in the same
proportions. If you want to find the base value of anything put one
up for sale without reserve on ebay and see what it sells for. Of
course, you will nedd a finished article and this it seems is a long
way off as yet as it isnt obvious what it is you are trying to
achieve other than try and persuade the world that it is wrong and
you are the only truly enlightened one. Please keep this as a hobby
and try to avoid putting any serious money into your experiments as
it will only lead to financial pain but no gain. While we are at it,
what were your kiln shelves made from if you managed to destroy them?

Nick Royall


#18
1 carat of 0.5 micron diamond coats about $7.50 wheras a 1 carat
diamond will cost $1000-$20000 according to quality. 

I am amazed. Where can I buy a carat of diamond dust for $7.50?

Has anybody tested it out to see what kind of glitter it gives as a
surface coating (eg embedded in plastic)?

Polishing has to do with getting shine/glitter/brightness from the
surface. That is what nail polish does. Some nail polish kits are
sold as a clear, plastic-like liquid with tiny simulated stones to be
added according to the user’s preference. I do not apologize for
using the word “polish” in a way which is not given the approval of
Nick Royall. Rather I look at the purpose of polishing so the only
grammatical correction needed is that I could talk about "polish-like"
effects.

His other comment that fine jewelry has a "well defined prescription"
seems to have evaded all the discussants of this thread with such
diverse (and interesting) prescriptions. I have made notes on all of
the highlights and I will put them together in a summary when the
subject is exhausted. I do not have any ideas about what fine jewelry
is beyond what others have dealt with already so the comment that I
am somehow misusing termninology is totally wrong except that my
comedic routine on the “glorious fine jewelry revolution” may be
taken too literally.


#19
there is a saying in the UK that you cannot polish a turd 

The British are very wise, Mr. Royall.

But the newly formed Society of Proctogemologists started by myself
and Dr Anderson may disagree.

All you have to do is fossilize it like Amolite or embed it in amber
first.

How “fine” the resulting jewelry is depends on whether it meets the
various criteria of gemologists who have posted so far on the FJ
subject. As I said previously I will try to summarize them later
though there is much disagreement. That is not surprising. When 9
judges on our Supreme Court opine, they usually end up with a split
decision like 5-4 and even with 1-8 we may find that future history
proves the 1 to be validated. I have no opinions on FJ beyond those
posted by others to date.

Call it glitter, polish, gloss, brightness or whatever. There are
surface effects which are similar (not identical) and the similarity
has to do with “catching the eye”. I visited about a dozen shopping
mall jewellers recently. Michael Hill gets the prize IMO for using
massive glitter to attract the buyer. I am sure it is deliberate.
Nobody would dispute that MH offers much FJ. If they attract more
buyers this way regardless of where they rank on the overall FJ
scale, they boost themselves on the criterion expressed by Michael
Johnson, ie “protecting and showcasing the stones of investment
grade”. Those stones may or may not be “up front” where snatch and
grab thieves can steal them. The investment value of MH and ALL of its
holdings depends on the effectiveness of the glitter marketing
strategy.

Putting FJ issues aside, would you call it cynical for some to say
that there are only two kinds of stones - those that make money and
those that do not?

As a prospector I play a game which is not jewelry. I am required to
go by the rules, laws and business ethics of the game but I am not
required to give full disclosure of my hand, plans or strategy any
more than a Vegas poker player. There are “gems of wisdom” as well as
gems in the showcase. When a mine inspector on site for a claim
maintenace visit for example tries to trick me into laying out my
hand (plan of development) I am angered. Any physical gems in the
showcase can be devalued to zero by a disclosure error either way. A
fine mineral claim with high financial NPV and potential for fine
future jewelry can become no more valuable than one of your “polished
turds” if I make a mistake.

Thank you for the on sources of diamond grit in
polishing paste. Does anyone else have experience with the glitter
effect from micro-diamonds the size Dave Phelps referred to (ie.7 mm
or smaller) UNCUT and EMBEDDED IN PLASTIC which allows space for
bottom light or will I have to run some original tests by
brush-layering the plastic with cosmetic brushes and setting some
diamonds in the strata?


#20
It seems from what Dave Phelps posted that the cost per carat is
inversely proportional to the size of the stones. At what stone
size might the sparkle/unit of area be maximized for the dollar
spent? 

It really has to do with the labor involved. From my experience, the
cost per carat/size ratio, “sparkle/unit of area” as it were, bottoms
out at around two to five pointers (1.8 to 2.3mm). Smaller diamonds
cost more per carat because of the “pita” (pain in the derriere)
factor, larger diamonds because of their comparative rarity. Sparkle
to cost ratio is best maximized using three pointers, or 2.0mm
stones. Usually.

Dave Phelps