High-purity, single-phase polycrystalline diamond and cBN have been successfully synthesized by direct conversion sintering from graphite and hBN, respectively, under static high pressure and high temperature. The high-purity polycrystalline diamond synthesized directly from graphite at ≧15 GPa and 2300-2500 °C has a mixed texture of a homogeneous fine structure (grain size : 10-30 nm, formed in a diffusion process) and a lamellar structure (formed in a martensitic process). The polycrystalline diamond has very high hardness equivalent to or even higher than that of diamond crystal. The high-purity polycrystalline cBN synthesized from high-purity hBN at 7.7 GPa and 2300 °C consists of homogeneous fine-grained particles (<0.5 μm, formed in a diffusion process). The hardness of the fine-grained high-purity polycrystalline cBN is obviously higher than that of single-crystal cBN. The fine microstructure features without any secondary phases and extremely high hardness of the nano-polycrystalline diamond and the fine-grained polycrystalline cBN are promising for applications in next-generation high-precision and high-efficiency cutting tools.