Diamond paste is a finely powdered abrasive that’s used to polish smooth surfaces and sharpen metal blades. It contains millions of microscopic diamond particles that gently scrub and smooth the surface, which makes it more effective and easier to use than sandpaper or other polishing tools.
There are several different types of diamond paste, each with a specific grit to help polish or sharpen various materials. The grit size is measured in microns, with a lower grit number meaning a coarser finish and a higher grit number providing a finer finish.
For example, a grit of one micron is considered very fine, and is suitable for finishing or sharpening metal blades and other metal products. It’s also useful for lapidary, the art of cutting, shaping and polishing stones and other hard materials to create jewellery, decorative objects, or sculptures. Lapidary is usually done by professionals, but it’s possible to do simple projects at home with a rotary sander and diamond compound.
Diamond polishing compounds can be used on a wide variety of surfaces, including metal, gemstones, and glass. For metal, a low-grit diamond paste is typically used to remove scratches and burrs from the surface before it’s polished with a higher grit. This can be done by hand or with a power tool, depending on the project and its complexity.
Some polishing compounds are formulated with non-volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to make them safer and more environmentally friendly. These are often called non-toxic or low-VOC polishing compounds, and are designed to be used by craftspeople without damaging their skin or causing air pollution in the workshop. Other diamond pastes are designed to meet strict environmental standards and be safe for users of all ages, making them suitable for children to use.
Another type of diamond paste is a water-soluble or hydrophilic diamond compound. This is ideal for use on delicate materials, and can be diluted with water or an extender to achieve the right consistency. Water-soluble diamond paste is also suitable for use on DLC coatings, as it can easily remove contaminants from the surface of the coating.
Lastly, there are a number of high-concentration diamond pastes available for use in the lapidary industry. These are available in disposable syringes and can be used on felt or wooden laps to create a high-quality finish on gemstones, metals, or other mineral-based materials.
For those who are interested in learning more about the lapidary process, a number of videos and tutorials can be found on YouTube. These videos demonstrate the proper techniques for using a variety of tools, including the rotary sander and diamond paste, and offer advice on how to get started in the field. Once a person has mastered the basics, they can progress to more advanced techniques and create a wide range of beautiful pieces. Then, they can share their work with others and enjoy the satisfaction of creating something by hand. This is a rewarding and fun hobby that anyone can participate in.