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: Cut with Facets or Cabochon
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) / Cut with Facets or Cabochon

Why are some gemstones cut in facets and others as cabochons?

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 asterism (the star effect), chatoyancy (the cat's eye effect), iridesence (e.g., opal) or adularescence (e.g., moonstone). Most gems that are opaque rather than transparent are cut en cabochon rather than faceted. You will also see lower grade material in gemstones such as sapphire, ruby and garnet 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 to be a very attractive cabochon.

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  • First Published: February-20-2006
  • Last Updated: November-10-2014
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Size and Weight

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