CABOCHONS – History of Cabochons


Cabochons are a cut-type or shape-type gemstone with a convex top with flat bottom/surface Typically It could be round or oval shaped. A cabochon, otherwise often referred to as a cab for short, certain stone-cut that is very popular in numerous jewelry designs, especially those that include gemstones. It can be made from just about any kind of stone as well as ceramic, porcelain, or even wood. The materials doesn’t matter. The defining elements of a cabochon have more to do with the shape of the component: it is flat on one side and domed or rounded on the other side. it can come in all kinds of geometric and asymmetrical shapes, but the most important part is the flat side because that is where it will usually be secured with wire, metal, or even beads. It can be a precious stone of convex hemispherical or oval form, polished but not cut into facets.


Gemstones that are transparent (light passes through) are faceted, gemstones that are translucent (some light passes through) or opaque (no light passes through) are usually considered semi precious and are cut into cabochons. Also softer stones are usually cut into cabochons, as they scratch easier. Some gemstone materials must be cut a specific way, such as chatoyant Tigereye, or star Rubies to bring out their beauty. Fire Agate cabochons usually have a contoured surface to best bring out the rainbow fire without cutting through it.

History Of The Cabochons

The word “cabochon” comes from the French word caboche meaning nail, and cabochons are named that because of their domed shape. A “cabochon” (pronounced kab-e-shawn and often shortened to cab) is usually flat bottomed and domed on top, Cabochon cut of diamond has been found across jewelry dating back to the Ming Dynasty and across other ancient culture, including examples from the ancient civilization of Egypt. Polishing such stones as Sapphire, Emeralds and Rubies, provided deep pools of vibrant colour to the jewellery of Royalty, such as those seen on the Crown of Ottonian Empress Kunigunde, from Germany featuring raised Cabochons set on arcaded panels.


Descriptive Names/Types Of Cabochon

Cabochon cut has many descriptive names namely:

  1. Low Dome,
  2. High Dome,
  3. Cone,
  4. Bullet,
  5. Double Bevel,
  6. Hollow / Carbuncle, Double, Flat Cut / Slab and Buff Top are all variations of this style of cut.

The shape of a cabochon may be symmetrical-a mirrored image on both sides. Or they can be freeform-having no defined shape. Cabochons can be

  • standard shapes-circles,
  • ovals,
  • triangles,
  • rectangles or squares.
  • more exotic shapes-bullets,
  • tongues,
  • arches, etc.

 Cabochons can be calibrated, a term used usually for rounds or ovals that have a standard size. Often time’s inexpensive or more common gemstone materials are mass-produced into symmetrical or standard shapes or sizes, for instance the well known 30 mm by 40 mm oval cabochon. Cabochons are usually measured in millimeters coming in different kinds such as (Agate, Amethyst, Moonstone, Jade Cabochons, e.t.c)


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