The phrase en cabochon is the term applied to a gemstone with a smooth polished domed top. Many different gemstones lend themselves to be fashioned into cabochons such as jadeite, turquoise, opals, onyx and moonstone to name a few. Cabochons have no facets and generally have a round or cushion outline with a flat base to the reverse.
Described as one of the oldest cutting techniques for gemstones, cabochons have been viewed in jewellery since ancient times. Prior to the 13th century, all precious and semi-precious stones were polished into cabochons as it was only after this time that the technological advances and means to produce faceted stones was developed. Gemstones were polished as cabochons to showcase the beautiful natural hues and depth of colour as this cut provides a window into the stone.
Certain gemstones rely on the cabochon cut to realise their full potential. Stones such as star sapphires and rubies and cat’s eye chrysoberyl which display asterism and chatoyancy are cut as domed cabochons to best portray the fine, needle-like inclusions that produce these two phenomena, which would otherwise not be visible in a faceted cut. Opal iridescence and moonstone adularescence are also best displayed by this cutting style.
One of the most desirable and rare types of cabochons is the sugarloaf cabochon. This cabochon is crafted in a conical shape, with four sides creating a pyramidal appearance. Other desired cabochons include those which showcase a clear optical phenomenon. The largest blue star sapphire cabochon to ever be discovered was from a Sri Lankan mine and weighed an outstanding 1404.49 carats! It is valued at over $100 million!
The final decision ultimately falls on the lapidary, gemstones were fashioned into cabochons to showcase colour or to their best phenomenal advantage. A well-polished cabochon can be a strikingly beautiful thing, especially when stars or other inclusions are perfectly positioned within the stone.
Visit Berganza to see the incredible depth of colour and natural optical effects displayed by captivating cabochon gemstones which have been handcrafted and set into jewellery from a bygone time! The Berganza showroom will be closing from 5pm August 2nd until August 31st so be sure to visit us before then to find the perfect piece!