Some samples of cabochons. Photos are from GemSelect.com
What is a Cabochon?
BarlowsGems.net explains what a cabochon is in this way:
Lapidary is the art of cutting, grinding and polishing rough rock into a finished piece of art. When that piece of art is intended for jewelry the cut is usually referred to as a either a faceted stone or a cabochon.
Faceted gems have many geometrically shaped flat polished faces. This method is usually reserved for transparent gemstones such as diamonds and those known in the gemological world as colored stones; such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. These stones are cut this way to enhance their appearance and allow them to reflect light. Hence the sparkling diamond!
All other stones cut for jewelry fall into the cabochon definition. Though technically the cabochon definition refers to a highly polished stone with a convex or rounded top and a flat bottom, or flat back, and commonly cut into an oval shape, jewelers have become much more creative in their settings and often sculpted, tumbled, and even carved shapes are used as cabochons in jewelry. Cabochons can be high domed, low domed, sculpted topped or flat.
The cabochon cut is usually used when the stone is translucent (not transparent but light passes through) or opaque. It works better for softer stones and for stones with special phenomenon such as chatoyancy (Tigereye) or schiller (Labradorite).
Cabochons are not always just semiprecious stones. They can be cut from wood, glass, plastic, resin, old plates, bowling pins, shells, bone, etc.
There is one document (Cabochon Making) that is required reading for anyone wanting to use the various pieces of equipment during the workshops to create cabochons and other lapidary pieces. You will receive a copy of this document when you join. You will need to bring your copy with you when you attend an Equipment Training Session and when you use the equipment.
You will start by learning how to make a cabochon (“cab”) similar to the ones you see above. This involves a variety of steps and several pieces of basic equipment.
Once you have created several of these cabs you may choose to branch out and try other shapes.
Our members make hearts, squares, crosses-you name it, we can make it.
Additional articles of interest for cabochon making are: