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What is cabochon stones? Diamonds are cut round and brilliant with many facets. The same applies to all precious stones that have high hardness and a refractive index. Such a cut helps to reveal all the advantages of this type of stones. But if the main quality of the mineral is color and optical effects, then another cut - cabochon - is used. 

According to most historians, the cabochon cut has French roots and was invented by Cardinal Mazarin. He owned a collection of diamonds, but he did not want to use standard types of cuts for this , since some of the stone was lost. Subsequently, 18 diamonds with this type of cut were handed over to the royal family of France.

There is another version: supposedly the first stone, cut by a cabochon, came to Europe from India in the 16th century on merchant ships. But according to testimonies and found ornaments, it is possible to say with certainty that it was known in ancient Rome.

In Russia, the method of cutting was recognized in the XIX century, and it was popular - until the XXth century, after the October Revolution, it was considered bad taste to wear stones in such a cut.


Types of cabochons:

Initially, the word cabochon means cut and stones cut in such a way that they have a smooth surface, the upper part in the form of a hemisphere and the lower one is flat. However, later they began to cut cabochons and other forms.

The shapes of the drop, square, circle, rectangle and triangle are used. In addition to the standard, shapes similar to the heart, cross, pendant, and polygon are also used. Everything depends on the qualities of the stone itself, as well as the products where it will serve as an insert. Some stones that have the ability to easily fold in thin places, are cut only in the form of an oval, and with some optical effects, for example, asterism - a circle.

Depending on the method of decoration distinguish such types of cabochons:

  • Low convex - such stones have a flat base and a low convex top;
  • Concave - differ concave base;
  • Double - this type of cabochon has bulges on both sides, the upper part is more round than the lower one;
  • Single - top convex, and bottom flat.


What kind of stones are suitable for cutting?

As a result of the experience of many centuries, it was determined which stones reveal their best qualities in cabochons. Among the precious minerals can be listed the most famous names:

  • The starry ruby is a cabochon with an asterism effect. He has the property of transforming light into a radiant star.
  • Starry sapphireis a blue gemstone with inclusions that become a star when cut.

Among the semiprecious:

  • Selenite - translucent feldspar, bluish-milky shade, with moonlight;
  • Cat's Eye - Chrysoberyl yellow-green color, with a low degree of transparency, inside it is a strip of concentrated color, reminiscent of the cat's eye;
  • turquoise - opaque gem slightly green-blue, covered with a mesh;
  • opal - a stone with a structure, through which light is refracted and decomposed into many colors and shades;
  • nephrite - matte gem, which has a wide variety of shades and delicate shine;
  • agate - a stone, consisting of many layers of different shades, which allow to obtain a characteristic pattern on the surface;
  • malachite - a rock of dark green color, which is distinguished by a particularly elegant pattern.



Application of cabochons

Cabochons jewelry are used as insets in pendants, earrings and rings. Cabochons of ornamental stones are used to decorate bags and purses. The needlewomen use cabochons in their work, they can easily be inserted into jewelry or another item with the help of tools. The main thing is to choose the shape and color of the cabochon for billet.


Ornaments can be supplemented with semi-precious stones that have shine, for example, with cubic zirconia, as well as rhinestones, flowers made of polymer clay and other decorative elements.


How are cabochons made?

Originally, jewelers used the simplest tools. They took the gem and cut off all unnecessary, then smooth out the irregularities. For this purpose, a special grinding wheel was used, similar to a potter's wheel. The upper part of the stone was polished and polished, and the lower part was most often the same. After that, the stone was inserted into the frame.

Many centuries this way treated not only semi-precious and ornamental stones, but also precious ones from the most expensive category - emeralds, sapphires, rubies and diamonds. More complex methods of cutting appeared only in the XIV century, with the exception of some countries, for example, India, where the oldest cut in the form of a rose was used.

In Russia, this method was used before Peter I. Only by his decree the first lapidary factory in Peterhof was opened. Since then, the cabochon has noticeably surrendered its positions, but it has still been used as a method of cutting certain stones.

This method has not changed much over the centuries. The main changes have occurred in the production technology: everything that was done beforehand by hand was made with the help of machine tools. The production of pre-spun plates or pieces of gems 3-9 mm begins. After the stone was sawn to the work pieces, it is decreased. After it the contours of the work piece are applied, for this purpose a stencil is used. Further, with a tool, disc or saw, the plate is cut along the outlined contours.

By this time, the work piece still has sharp corners. In order to get rid of them, use nippers or a grinding wheel. After that the surface is ground beforehand. In the process, the work piece takes on the necessary dimensions and shape. With the help of glue it is applied to the stand for convenience of further processing. In the end, the work piece is chamfered and ends to give it size and shape.

Then the finishing process begins. First, the stone is ground, for this purpose disc, belt or drum grinders can be used. Disk grinders have a soft abrasive action, and grinding occurs only in the central part. Drums have the entire surface as an abrasive. Tape makes it possible to use grinding with more or less severe impact if desired.

After finishing the polishing, the surface must be polished. For these purposes, a tumbling drum is used, the filler of which is balls made of steel 1-3 mm in diameter. This method is used in industrial production. If the work is done manually, then the masters use polishers of felt or leather, sometimes they can be used grinding wheels with a spray of diamond powder with a grain size of 5 microns.

Most often now, as before, the bottom surface, or the base, is not polished. But there are exceptions. This is necessary for gems, which in themselves are very dark. In this case, in addition to polishing the lower part of the stone, it is also glued with a specially selected foil. In the modern world cabochon is actively returning to fashion. More and more often the most eminent designers use them in their collections when cutting both transparent and opaque gems.

This is done in order to maximally profitable to disclose and emphasize the colors of the stone, optical effects, internal glow.


Cabochons in Costume Jewelry:

Cabochons are often found as inserts in rings, pendants and earrings. However, in bijouterie there are also popular in recent times, wide bracelets and brooches with the use of cabochons. In addition, small clutches and bags often have trim of semi-precious and ornamental stones, faceted in this way. Artificial cabochons made of glass and polymer clay look good too.

In specialized shops for creativity, you can buy the foundation for the stones, in some cases, using beading as a decoration. This finish is great for bright stones when using also fluffy fabric. In order to make a frame for a cabochon from beads, use not a fishing line, but a ribbon of silk. The right color and beads will help to reveal all the qualities of the stone.

With the artificial manufacture of stone, now there is an opportunity to produce cabochons with portraits, images of animals, plants and so on. Whatever the client wants.

A simple form of the product is able to emphasize and beautify any outfit and image. When choosing the color of the stone bright and saturated, it is better to give preference as a complement to the evening dress. In the daytime it is considered appropriate to wear jewelry with small stones of pastel tones. In addition, the color of the stone should fit the rest along.

The shapes of the cabochon also have significance. It is recommended to combine them with age. Older women are offered jewelry with oval and teardrop-shaped stones. To young people more imaginative cuts, for example, hearts will approach. Men are advised to have shapes that have faces - a polygon, a square and a cross.

Cabochon is the most ancient and common type of stone cutting. Until some time it was used even for cutting diamonds. 

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