About Diamond Polishes
It is important to understand that finer diamond particle size does NOT always mean a finer finish. At larger diamond particle sizes, the diamond plows through the softer stone being cut, scratching a furrow and removing material in an abrading process. However, at smaller diamond particle sizes, the scratches stop scraping material off the gem, and begin instead to shove it out of the way in a ductile manipulation process.
Ductile manipulation induces strain in the very thin layer being operated upon. That strain may invite microscopic cracks or may make the surface more vulnerable to tiny scratches, which can relieve the strain a bit. This is why some materials (or individual facets of individual gems) may show a cleaner sharper finish when polished by larger-particle-sized diamond polish than when polished with smaller-particle-sized polish – and why they may appear nicer yet when polished with Oxide polish.
This kind of behavior is most obvious in Quartz, but may be noticed in other materials as well. If you want to create the best polish, experiment by polishing every other facet with one polish and then finishing the others on a different one, and compare them under a loupe. In my experience, many materials will polish more nicely (as well as more quickly) with 14k diamond than with 50k or 100k. In my work, I will usually test the larger diamond first and work my way down to a finer grade if necessary.
Diamond-based Voodoo polishes will work on almost any gem material from hardness 4 to hardness 9+, and Voodoo Oxide polishes will work on a wide range of gem materials as well – including some of the more exotic ones. I hope the following details will help you select the Voodoo products that best suit your needs. If, after reading this information you still have questions, shoot me a question and I’ll be happy to give my recommendations.
Voodoo 1200 / 15-µm carving & concave-cutting paste: This SUPER FAST AND SMOOTH paste, used on a Copper mandrel, will cut almost as fast as a 600 metal-bonded lap, while leaving a very smooth finish, so you can get quickly to polish. I use this paste for both gemstone carving and as the primary grit for concave cutting. Use on Copper, Corian, BATT, etc.
Voodoo 2,000 / 9-µm prepolish: This INCREDIBLY FAST prepolish cuts as fast as a 600 (red) Newbond, but leaves an even slicker finish on most materials, requiring very little work with any of the Voodoo polishes to complete a competition-grade finish. This prepolish won’t under-cut on finicky materials like Corundum, Spinel, or YAG.
Voodoo 3,000 / 6-µm prepolish: A VERY FAST and FINE prepolish that cuts about half as fast as the 2,000 – still way faster than a 1200 (blue) Nubond lap, and leaves a finish good enough for girdle polishes. It requires so little touching with any of the Voodoo polishes that you can cut the meets “on” with this and the final won’t usually visibly move them.
Voodoo 14,000 / 1-µm polish: This is my VERY FAST polish that makes it easy to adjust meets, moving them almost as fast as a 1200 Nubond (blue) on many stones. This is the work-horse of Voodoo Diamond polishes, and will leave a very nice finish on most gem materials between hardness 6 and 8. For most polishing tasks, I recommend this one first.
Voodoo 50,000 / .5-µm polish: This is a VERY FINE polish, still fast and can move meets around. It can still be used directly after 600 metal-bond cutting on smaller stones, and can still drift meets in easily. This compound will polish most materials hardness 4-6 and 8+ without leaving any haze or drag marks.
Voodoo 100,000 / .25-µm: This is an ULTRA FINE polish for those stones that require super-fine diamond. This polish is recommended only for faceters experienced withi 100,000 mesh.
Voodoo BLACK MAGIC 14,000 / .75-µm polish: This is a very special formula polish using ultra-sharp friable diamond. It cuts and polishes very fast, yet leaves a really premium finish on most gem materials between hardness 6 and 8. I use BLACK MAGIC on finicky stones, or when polishing on cleavage planes of stones like Topaz or Spodumene, or when polishing really large facets on precious materials.
Voodoo BLACK MAGIC 50,000 / .375-µm polish: This is a very special formula polish using ultra-sharp friable diamond. It remains fast and can move meets around and will polish most materials hardness 4-6 and 8+ without leaving any haze or drag marks. This BLACK MAGIC was my “secret weapon” polish for several years, available only in very limited quantities and for a very premium price. Due to many requests, I’m making it available as a standard product.
About Oxide Polishes
Oxide polishes operate in a chemical rather than abrasive fashion to manipulate the surface of the facet. For this reason, they do not induce surface strain associated with ductile manipulation by sub-micron-sized diamond particles. This is especially important in Quartzes, but may also show superior appearance in other materials.
Oxide polishes have traditionally been very messy to work with – and challenging for faceters, who almost universally tend to use too much polish and water – resulting in a variety of undesirable results from balling-up of polish and scratching, to drag marks and rounding, to simple failure to polish.
There have been a variety of strategies to try to address those issues, including embedding oxide polishes in resin laps. Voodoo Oxide polishes use a special Voodoo base that is used to coat the surface of a lap, holding the polish flexibly in place, preventing it from slinging off, including a lubricant to prevent heat build-up, and allowing just the right amount of water to cling to the lap so the chemical process is properly catalyzed.
Use Voodoo Oxide polishes with a very light mist of water applied with a hand pump mister like a hairspray bottle or a perfume atomizer. Mist a nice cloud above the lap and let it settle onto the lap – just enough to feel the friction increase dramatically. Maintain a very light dampness in this way, and experiment to discover the optimal amount. Polishing with Oxides is more complex and challenging than polishing with diamond, but it is an essential skill if you cut Quartz.
VANILLA VOODOO: This is a new oxide-based Voodoo that is used very sparingly on all the same kinds of laps that you usually use Voodoo on. As an oxide, it requires water – in a very light mist – to activate the magic between this polish and the gems. This is the result of years of research and development for a “magic bullet” for polishing Quartz quickly and painlessly. Use at slow speed.
VOODOO WET CHROME: This is a special Voodoo base with a rich charge of Chrome Oxide. It offers all the advantages and versatility of Chrome polish, without the usual mess. The Chrome remains trapped in the base and locked to the lap, while you apply a very light mist of water to facilitate the chemical polishing. Voodoo Wet Chrome can be used on a huge variety of materials (including Moissanite), and due to the unique formula, can even be used at high lap speeds.