At the Venice International Film Festival premiere of “Dune,” Zendaya wore a show-stopping necklace featuring a 93-carat cabochon-cut Columbian emerald from Bulgari’s Magnifica jewelry collection. As an A-list celebrity and brand ambassador for Bulgari, she has access to incredibly expensive, jaw-dropping pieces.
On the other side of the pond, Camilla Parker Bowles was seen wearing a brooch featuring an antique, cabochon-cut teardrop emerald. The reason this particular piece of royal jewelry made headlines is because the cabochon emerald was previously part of an heirloom necklace worn by Princess Diana. It was redesigned as a brooch for the Duchess of Cornwall.
Celebs and royals far and wide are wearing cabochons, and your customers will want these intriguing gemstones also, but at accessible price points. We have you covered! Cabochon-cut gemstones emit an undeniable glow and the style is simply timeless. Let’s delve into the magical, lustrous world of cabochons.
What Is a Cabochon?
The word “cabochon” is derived from the French word, “caboche” meaning “head.” A cabochon-cut gemstone features a highly polished domed surface in contrast to a faceted cut. Rather than sparkle, cabochons captivate by enhancing color, reflection or translucence over a domed surface.
The cabochon cut can be found across all ages of history and around the world, from the Ming dynasty in China to the sands of Egypt. Turquoise cabochons have long been highly prized gemstones in Mexican, Persians, and Tibetan culture. It’s been the principal stone among the American Indians while some Germanic people have used it as a betrothal stone.
Different Types of Cabochons
Just like with faceted cuts, there are a few different varieties of cabochon cuts. Traditional cabochons have a polished dome top with a flat bottom, ideal for setting into jewelry.
With double cabochons, instead of having a flat bottom, they are domed on both sides. Some artists use these to create delicate designs known as carved cabochons.
The sugarloaf cabochon cut is the rarest and most desirable shape, polished into a conical shape, with four sides creating a pyramid with a rounded tip. It keeps the flat base of a traditional cabochon.
A buff top cabochon is a cut that combines two classic styles. The top is domed with a cabochon cut while below the girdle, the gem has facets on its pavilion, providing the illusion of depth as your eyes are drawn to the center.
Cabochons lend themselves well to various gems that display optical phenomena such as asterism (star effect), chatoyancy (cat’s eye), iridescence (rainbowlike play of color), or adularescence (shimmering like the moon), which is less visible in faceted jewelry. Softer gems are also usually cut into cabochons to show off their luster and emphasize their color.
Gems To Show Off
A cabochon cut can really bring out the beauty of certain gemstones such as the Star Sapphire and Star Ruby to show off that asterism. Onyx cabochons are truly a wonder to behold; you can get lost looking into the deep darkness of the stone.
The play of light in Moonstones combined with a cabochon cut really resembles the moonlight on a dark night. Lapis, Chrysoprase and Turquoise stones look amazing with a cabochon cut and we have a few in sugarloaf and buff top on hand.