by anthonylloydrees on November 5, 2009

A recent post from Kevin Kelly regarding an American law for a bloggers requirement to divulge receiving free products was the inspiration for this endorsement and blog entry. I probably wouldn’t have made my comments to Orchid readers as this is a lapidary related product and will probably be of little interest to the majority of jewellers.

It’s quite easy to dismiss this legal requirement as an “high class problem” in as much as “who is going to give me free stuff anyway”. I’m sure that many Orchid readers quickly moved to the next message with little more than a minor pang of envy. It was a bit of a brick wall for me though.

Much to my delight and surprise I had recently received a parcel which contained a new diamond formulation designed for gemstone polishing that was developed by Jonathan Rolfe, arguably the lapidary industry’s leading innovative inventor and manufacturer of useful gem polishing products.

As you might well imagine I was both thrilled and flattered and with no surprise at all I discovered quickly that Jon had indeed produced another winner. Naturally I didn’t hesitate to proclaim my findings of its virtues to the faceting community. Then I saw Kevin’s post.

Maybe I am a tad more shallow and maybe I have a more easily inflated ego than you, but let’s face it, if an important manufacturer considers my opinion to be relevant then I’m going to feel pretty proud of myself….and I certainly want to brag about it…in spite of the fact that it may now be required.

The following are my comments which as I mentioned above have already been made to some faceters forums.

Many of you know Jonathon ‘Gearloose’ Rolfe for his BATT lap and his newer Darkside polishing lap.

Jon has now developed a formula for suspending diamond in a lubricating paste and the result is his DIASTIK. I was extremely fortunate to be chosen to test this new product and I have had very encouraging results so far.

My first stone testing this was an included Emerald with surface reaching cracks and fissures that needed restoration. I applied the DIASTIK to a Darkside lap and after spreading and ‘burnishing’ the compound a rapid polish was achieved without the use of any extra lubricant or cooling. The Emerald barely got warm in the process.

Emerald polishing can be a trying experience as it is as hard as Beryl of course but also very friable because of the ‘acceptable jardin’. Surface reaching cracks and veils will compact lap material, polishing oxides, swarf and soiled lubricant as far into themselves as they are able. The results are anything from ugly black stain filled veils and cracks to veining of bright shiny burnished lap material across the surface. Either way a tedious time consuming pain to remove.

I have to add that I normally use the Jade procedure with Emeralds which is to heat the stone slightly and rub beeswax into it before polishing. Most of the time this helps the removal of offending debris from any surface cavities with hot soapy water afterwards. In this case I took no such precautions yet I could not find any detritus in the cracks afterwards even with a microscope.


I then repolished a damaged SiC (moissanite) without having to add any further compound. A feature that will appeal to the frugal. Jon’s explanation is that because of the formulation and built in lubricant his diamond doesn’t ‘fling’.

I also used the DIASTIK on a BATT lap and was very pleased with the results on a CZ and a couple of Sapphires. The Sapphires were particularly interesting as I expected them to heat rapidly with no coolant present. To my surprise the polish arrived with hardly any heat build up at all, certainly not enough to soften wax.

I haven’t tried it yet but I do intend a test with a ceramic lap and I’ll post my results then.

I understand that Jon will be making the DIASTIK available from his website soon and it will be available in pre-polish and polishing grades only.

The biggest problem with faceting is invariably the polish. Experienced faceters have discovered the combinations of laps and compounds or formulas that work well for them but are not necessarily universally transferable without the rest of the required information. This can be a frustrating experience for a new cutter.

The problem being that an appropriate lap has to turn at the correct speed with the correct amount of pressure on the stone, with no more than the correct amount of the appropriate polishing medium whilst lubricated with the appropriate coolant in correct amounts. Choice of lap and polishing medium is just the start of what is required.

The Gearloose lapidary products have made huge strides in reducing the frustrations of new cutters by using materials that are designed specifically for the purpose of polishing with a broad enough range of ‘forgiveness’ to make it next to impossible to not get good results right away.

One of the most common mistakes for a new cutter is using too much of any given polishing compound, aggregation damage looks very much like a scratch. In much the same way as the BATTSTIK ‘crayons’ have made oxide polish applications foolproof, the DIASTIK has done the same for diamond.

For a commercial or daily user I would recommend trying a stick, if only for its convenience and woops proofness.

For a beginner a DIASTIK is a must have for easy diamond polished facets. Nothing to guess about or look up, nothing to mix with, difficult to contaminate, impossible for accidental spillage or squirtage and if you get it all horribly wrong there are no devastating consequences.


Not much of an update as I haven’t finished yet, but I have had encouraging results with my ceramic lap and a DIASTIK.

Starting with a freshly scrubbed and acetone washed ceramic lap, I added a frugal swipe of the stick and ‘burnished’ it in with a hand held sapphire that needed restoration. Because of the nature of a ceramic lap I used about the same as I had initially on my Darkside, more than what turned out to be actually necessary, but it didn’t appear to have been detrimental so I was liberal.

The table which was quite abraded and scratched, quickly showed signs of polishing around the damage. After some sweeping the lap surface seemed consistent. I used more speed than I would usually but the sapphire didn’t really get hot.

I then dopped and prepolished the table on this stone and got a fairly quick polish using the 45 degree adapter. I had to use about 3 times my normal speed but used the normal fairly light pressure. Again I was surprised at how little heat was generated, although more than I had experienced with a BATT it was nowhere near as much as I am used to with a ceramic. I then removed the stone and had a look at it with my microscope and was a bit disappointed, but not surprised. The finish was nothing like the DIASTIK on BATT polish, it was a bit better than I was getting with 50k and Mothers 100% carnauba Car Wax, but only in two directions…tut tut.

About 2-3 seconds on a Darkside with AlOx, love those BATTStiks, and I had a polish that was good enough to leave the shop with my name on it. I hasten to add here that my BATT polishing lap, my tin and my diamond Darkside are all 200k and I rarely need to touch up the finish they leave, unless someone is paying extra for that. A 200k polish is so close to an oxide polish that a microscope and comparison stone is needed.

My next surprise was when I polished the crown facets as the typical 50k bloom was not apparent. on any of the facets, so I didn’t have to go over them with oxide. Yes I checked with my microscope. Maybe it was the smaller facets, maybe it was better ‘burnishing’. I won’t deny that an oxide kiss would improve the finish but it certainly wasn’t necessary in this case.

Although it would seem that the DIASTIK is an all round winner I hasten to add that it doesn’t cut. Especially noticeable with a ceramic lap, I used to have no trouble moving facets around and even cutting in small stars with 50k but the 60k DIASTIK doesn’t want to play that game, a fair trade for a better finish if you know in advance….grin. I suspect that the 200k DIASTIK wants to play even less.

Oh yeah, maybe this is important. No scratches….OK, this isn’t a fair trial, I have only cut the one stone and no two sapphires are alike? However I never saw any sparks, no grabbing, no strange noises. I usually don’t run my ceramic faster than 10-20 rpm and combined with a firm sweep I find scratching is very rare if I have the wax/diamond combination and pressure just right.

At one point I was trying, and failing, to cut in some stars, excessive speed that would normally tear strips didn’t seem to do much other than polish what facet I had. I was probably up to 200 -300 rpm before I figured a proper prepolish was in order. All part of the burnishing I guess, maybe what helped the final polishing?…grin.

It is difficult to dispute that a ceramic lap can provide the sharpest facets, especially on Sapphires and other hard stones. The effort and time involved versus the results and rewards have been brought a lot closer. I would suspect a 200k DIASTIK to be a more satisfactory finish on a ceramic and might not need an oxide boost even on table facets.

For anyone that has a ceramic and is getting good results I would suggest a 200k DIASTIK could make life a little easier. For those with a ceramic that will only scratch and tear, there is a very strong possibility that a DIASTIK will cure these problems and if it doesn’t it works everywhere else.




{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hans Meevis November 8, 2009 at 10:12 am

When Jon sends you a product and you give it a major thumbs up, believe me that I care little about free product stuff.
It’s all about integrity on the ‘net dude, and you and Jon have plenty to spare.

Jeff Demand November 8, 2009 at 10:07 am


About 5 years ago after a question about a possible new feature in software I didn’t use I received a free license for the new upgrade on the condition that I try to break it. How he discovered that hobby of mine I don’t know. I found a few bugs (which were quickly fixed) and did endorse the program but always with full disclosure of how I obtained it. Since I have done enough free work for him to more than pay the even the current price. Still I usually disclose in any review.


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