how to polish gems with compact discs
how to polish gems with compact discs

How to Polish Gems with Compact Discs


Similar to plastic Lexan laps, compact discs can be used to experiment with polishing gems. Learn some useful techniques and start doing your own tests.

4 Minute Read

What are Compact Discs Made of?

Compact discs exist as music CDs, computer and game discs (CD-ROMs), and recordable media (CD-R and CD-RW). You can usually acquire CD-ROMs pretty easily. (Still have some AOL discs from the 1990s you haven't thrown out? Now you finally have a use for them).

CD-ROMs (Compact Disc - Read Only Memory) consist of three to five or more layers, depending on their intended purpose. As far as I know, faceting with compact discs utilizes the shiny "data side," as opposed to the "label side." This side is made of polycarbonate plastic. Years ago, faceters also experimented with Lexan and other similar products. Any information or techniques developed for those would certainly apply to using the data side of compact discs as laps. Above the fairly thick polycarbonate layer lies a reflective metal layer, sometimes behind some dye. The data is "burned" on this layer. Above that layer, some compact discs have protective enamel or plastic coatings, then perhaps a screen-printed label.

Using Compact Discs as Laps

Most compact discs measure about 120 mm across with a 15 mm center hole and about a millimeter thick. Therefore, you must use a "backup" or master lap....


Carl R. Downey

Never Stop Learning

When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.

Become a Member

Get Gemology Insights

Get started with the International Gem Society’s free guide to gemstone identification. Join our weekly newsletter & get a free copy of the Gem ID Checklist!