Polishing is a Mystery

One night I cut and polished the pavilion of a spinel. It went real smooth and there was nothing remarkable about the process. The next morning I had other activities planned, but it was raining so I sat down to finish the spinel. I couldn’t for the life of me get a decent polish on the crown. Even though the facets were much smaller than I had worked on the night before and I was using the exact same equipment, I was struggling to get even a mediocre polish.

Frustrated, I gave up and did something else. Later that day I sat down to it again. This time it polished up straight away. Curious, I thought about what had changed, The only thing I could think of was that it was raining when I was having problems. Maybe it had to do with the humidity, the ionization of the air, or some combination of invisible factors. There is no way I can track down the source of problem, but it serves to show just how much of a mystery the polishing process is.

Science has not been much help either. In the early half of the…