search
  • Se connecter
    S'inscrire
  • Support à la clientèle en parlant d'anglaise seulement

    Sans frais - USA et Canada seulement:
    1-800-464-1640

    International:
    +66-39303404

  • Changer de langue
  • USD

Why are Some Gems Cut as Cabochons?

In the gemstone world, a cabochon is a stone that is cut with a highly polished, rounded or convex top with no faceting and a flat or slightly domed base. A cabochon may be cut in any shape, though oval is by far the most common. The term comes from the French caboche, meaning knob or small dome. Certain stones are almost always cut "en cabochon", including opal, turquoise, onyx, moonstone, and star sapphire. In the gemstone world you will often hear the term cabochon shortened to "cab".

Cabochon Gemstones
Cabochon Gemstones

Technically, cabochons are not really "cut". Rather, they are shaped and then polished. It is thus a much simpler task to produce a cabochon than it is to cut a faceted gem with many faces. Before the art of faceting was developed, all gemstones were produced as cabochons, though some were intricately carved as well.

Faceted gemstones made their appearance in European jewelry during the late 13th and early 14th centuries. With the advent of the horizontally turning cutting-wheel in the late 1400s came the possibility of designing and repeating elaborately conceived geometric faceting schemes, thereby controlling and enhancing the light coming from within the stone. The fascination with geometry and reflected light during the Renaissance accelerated the development of a sophisticated lapidary art. Starting with the Renaissance gem-cutting trade in Bruges, to Venice, Florence and eventually the whole of Europe, the management of light became the central theme in gem cutting.

Fire Opal Cabochon Gemstone
Fire Opal Cabochon

Once the technology and skill was available to facet gemstones, why were cabochons still produced? The question is an interesting one because different gems are cut as cabs for different reasons. In many cases it is because the gem has special properties that are displayed only when it is cut as a cabochon. Examples are gems that display optical phenomena such as asterism (the star effect), chatoyancy (the cat's eye effect), iridescence (e.g., opal) or adularescence (e.g., moonstone).

Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Cabochon
Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Cabochon

Most gems that are opaque are cut as cabochons rather than faceted. Also, lower grade material of gemstone types such as sapphire, ruby and garnet is cut as cabs. If the gem material has very good color but is not sufficiently transparent or clean to be faceted, it can still be shaped and polished into very attractive cabochons. It is also common to cut softer stones as cabs, since gems with a hardness score of less than 7 (on the Mohs scale) can easily be scratched by the quartz in dust and grit. Minute scratches show much less on a cabochon than on a faceted stone.

  • Première publication: 20 Décembre 2007
  • Dernière mise à jour: 22 Janvier 2019
  • © 2005-2021 GemSelect.com tous droits réservés.
    Reproduction (texte ou graphique), sans le consentement écrit de GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd) est strictement interdite.
Plus de formes
Pierres précieuses populaires
  • Saphir
  • Émeraude
  • Rubis
  • Aigue marine
  • Zircon
  • Opale
  • Topaze
  • Tourmaline
  • Grenat
  • Améthyste
  • Citrine
  • Tanzanite
Toutes les pierres précieuses (139)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V Z
  • Actinolite Œil de chat
  • Agate
  • Agate Géode
  • Agate de Feu
  • Aigue marine
  • Amazonite
  • Ammolite
  • Améthyste
  • Amétrine
  • Andalousite
  • Andésine Labradorite
  • Apatite
  • Aventurine
  • Béryl
  • Béryl doré
  • Calcédoine
  • Charoïte
  • Chrysobéryl
  • Chrysocolle
  • Chrysoprase
  • Citrine
  • Corail
  • Corail de Fossile
  • Cornaline
  • Dendritique Agate
  • Diamant
  • Diaspore Couleur Changeant
  • Diopside Chrome
  • Diopside Étoilé
  • Disthène
  • Druse d'améthyste
  • Druzy Azurite
  • Enstatite
  • Flocon de Neige Obsidienne
  • Fluorine
  • Fluorite avec changement de couleur
  • Grandidierite
  • Grenat
  • Grenat Almandin
  • Grenat Couleur Changeant
  • Grenat Démantoïde
  • Grenat Grossulaire
  • Grenat Hessonite
  • Grenat Malaya
  • Grenat Mali
  • Grenat Pyrope
  • Grenat Rhodolite
  • Grenat Spessartite
  • Grenat Tsavorite
  • Grenat Étoilé
  • Howlite
  • Hématite
  • Hémimorphite Druse
  • Idocrase
  • Iolite
  • Jadéite
  • Jaspe
  • Jaspe Sanguin
  • Kornerupine
  • Kunzite
  • Labradorite
  • Lapis-lazuli
  • Larimar
  • Malachite
  • Maw-Sit-Sit
  • Morganite
  • Nacre
  • Nuummite
  • Obsidienne
  • Oeil de Chat Aigue-Marine
  • Oeil de Chat Quartz
  • Oeil de Tigre
  • Oeil de Tigre Matrice
  • Oeil de chat Apatite
  • Oeil de chat Scapolite
  • Oeil de chat Sillimanite
  • Oeil de chat de la Pierre de Lune
  • Onyx
  • Opale
  • Opale Boulder
  • Opale Chocolat
  • Opale Doublet
  • Opale Noir
  • Opale de Feu
  • Opale en Matrice
  • Opale hyalite
  • Opale œil de chat
  • Perle
  • Pierre de Lune
  • Pierre de Lune Arc en Ciel
  • Pierre de Lune Étoilé
  • Pierre de Soleil Étoilé
  • Pierre de Soleil 
  • Pierre précieuse étoiles
  • Pierres précieuses Jade
  • Pierres précieuses de couleur changeante
  • Pierres précieuses oeil de chat
  • Pietersite
  • Prehnite
  • Pyrite
  • Pyrite Arc en Ciel
  • Péridot
  • Quartz
  • Quartz Citron étoilé
  • Quartz Fraise
  • Quartz Rose
  • Quartz Rose Étoilé
  • Quartz Rutile
  • Quartz avec marcassite
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Rubellite Tourmaline
  • Rubis
  • Rubis en Fuchsite
  • Rubis Étoilé
  • Rubis-Zoisite
  • Saphir
  • Saphir couleur-Changeant
  • Saphir Étoilé
  • Scapolite
  • Scolécite
  • Seraphinite
  • Serpentine
  • Sillimanite
  • Smithsonite
  • Sodalite
  • Spectrolite
  • Sphalérite 
  • Sphène
  • Spinelle
  • Tanzanite
  • Topaze
  • Topaze Imperiale
  • Topaze Mystique
  • Tourmaline
  • Turquoise
  • Variscite
  • Zircon
  • Émeraude
  • Œil de faucon
Catégories principales
  • Nouveautés
  • Lots de pierres précieuses
  • Pierres précieuses calibrées
  • Pierres gemmes à la pièce
  • Des pierres précieuses d'excellentes qualités
  • Paires correspondant
  • Pierres précieuses cabochon
  • Gemmes, briolettes et perles percées
  • Pierre de naissance
  • Sculptures en pierres précieuses
  • Pierres précieuses fantaisie
  • Pierre précieuse étoiles
  • Saphir non chauffé
Support à la clientèle en parlant d'anglaise seulement

Sans frais - USA et Canada seulement:
1-800-464-1640

International:
+66-39303404

Économisez de l'argent
Pas de frais d'expédition pour les articles supplémentaires!
$ 8,90 Livraison dans le monde

Update Translation
 
Current Value
New Value
GemSelect Gemstones
X Fermer la fenêtre
Colored Gemstones
X Fermer la fenêtre
Colored Gemstones
X Fermer la fenêtre
Colored Gemstones
Taille et poids

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart