Recent studies in the gemstone-polishing department have yielded unexpected and equally-insightful results about the diamond-polishing process. According to the research results, there is a liquidlike layer of carbon that exists at the interface between the diamond-polishing wheel and the diamond itself. This carbon layer used to be thought of as simple fragments of diamonds being chipped away during the actual polishing process. However, upon further study, these miniscule flakes have been found to be molecules of carbon that have formed in the region between the scaife and the gem. Looking at the carbon molecules more intently, it’s been discovered that the carbon layer plays a key role in the polishing process, joining forces with the sharp diamond grit and the oxygen that’s present in the surrounding air to clean and purify the gemstone. The question you might be asking right now is this: okay, so the carbon layer plays a role in helping polish the diamonds, but how’s the layer form in the first place? Well, when the gemstone and wheel first make contact, the carbon molecules in both combine to form very strong molecular bonds (these bonds result in the formation of the carbon layer). This new carbon layer is highly reactive, meaning that when it comes in contact with oxygen, longer carbon chains are exposed to the air and a smoother surface is achieved that what could ever be done otherwise. Now, gemstones are usually worked with by using materials harder than themselves; however, seeing as the one or two materials that are as equally-hard as diamonds are extremely rare, diamond has been used on diamond for nearly 500 years. The technique involves coating a cast-iron disk in olive oil and diamond grit, pressing the gemstone against the scaife, and then it’s often left up to the skill of the polisher to find the grains and polish at the right angle in the right direction. If the polisher cuts across it wrong, the diamond can be exposed to damages of all sorts. Taking this into consideration, the researchers have also been able to discover why damage does occur to the stones if polished the wrong way. Due to the particular latticelike arrangement of carbon atoms in the gem, the atoms can actually be so tightly bound that the bonds can’t be broken and the outside oxygen can’t come in contact with the carbon layer. Thanks to this recent research, physisists and diamond-cutters/polishers alike are excited that molecular dynamics might become the most effective and affordable way to polish diamonds now and in the future. The discoveries might allow scientists to exploit diamonds and use them to make semiconductors or optics, a feat that wasn’t even dreamt of until now. So to all you ladies out there who are dying for your men to get on their knees and commit already, remember that the diamonds he’s presenting you with wouldn’t shine near as bright without the layer of carbon that assists in the polishing process.