Cabochon

Gemstone cabochons such as ruby sapphire jade & more.


A cabochon is probably the oldest methods of creating gemstone jewelry the stone is a simple oval simple oval and not faceted. This is a French term which itself was derived from the Latin cabo meaning head. 

Precious stones such as rubies sapphires and jade plus other generally fall into two categories: stones which are too opaque to be faceted and other precious stones they may be cut in a number of ways. 


Gemstone cabochons are widely available because they are not very clear means lower priced and not faceted which means not a lot of technical procedure is needed to use them in jewelries actually until the 18th Century most gemstones were like that because there was no technology to handle them due to the hardness.

They are mostly very elegant stones used in many sizes and shapes according to the requirement but one focus is general they are not fit to be used as faceted gems because not clear enough and a lack of luster but they still have their niche in the jewelry and fashion business. Jadeite Jade is a good material for this because it never gets very clear such as another green stone, the emerald.

Domes vary from very low almost flat surfaces to very high steeply curved surfaces. Usually a medium to high dome is preferable. With transparent gems, the back of the cabochon is generally flat or slightly convex and polished. Convex polished bases are used to provide greater brilliance in stones which possess enough transparency. However, should the stone be near or completely opaque a flat base is considered more desirable, as there is no excess weight below the girdle.

Most cabochons are used as the dominate gemstone in a ring setting. The high end stones which are very sought after are the oval version which produce a star when illuminated with a pointed light-source.

This pretty "little beads" are usually set in a ring, a brooch and earrings and clips. Before the technological advanced to cut and really polish the stones that were the normal way of handling them. Only in the 19th century when machinery were available to make them shine they started to find out to see the differences. A good example is that before spinels were also categorized in the same group which is wrong because rubies are corundum similar to sapphire.

Almost all genuine gemstones have some inclusions or at least small flaws it is a good indicator if it is a natural Myanmar ruby or from the lab. Impurities naturally always affect the price. 
Other factors to rate a ruby cabochons are e.g. the depth of the color, the cut and the weight in carat. Many times other stones like red spinel, tourmaline and garnet which are also available as cabochons are used instead, since they look very similar to a untrained eye. 

It needs a thorough gemological check of any jewelry where the red stones are used before you purchase it, since all other precious stones of red color are worth much less than genuine cabochon ruby from Mogok in Myanmar

About green Jadeite Jade Cabochons, their main use is to be included in a ring, usually a setting made from silver or white gold. Also necklaces are made from them, pendants and with some fantasy more ideas can be found. 

Bigger ones are sold as "jade eggs" some women think when they carry them in between the legs they get some stimulation (this is not a joke).

Anyway after they are formed and polished they appear marvelous it wont matter which color they finally have, the stones can have many. They are a object of desire for collectors who simply like some beautiful things to play with. Some ball chain jewelry is made to have them integrated as pendants.

For similar purpose they use moonstone, turquoise and other. Chinese people have interpreted  additional ideas into jade for health and metaphysics properties.  These stones have natural colors and are quite pretty. The opaque surface is often interrupted by a texture of veins. 
The shape is either natural or made by polishing, forms are oval, round, square and irregular, the bottom side is mostly made flat to supply a solid mounting surface. 

Typical beside of jade are agate, amethyst, turquoise, moonstone, opal and some people believe they have special power, some function also as birthstones. The biggest market with jade cabochons is by far in China or with Chinese communities elsewhere.

In any case, excess weight below the girdle should not exceed about 20% of the whole stone, for it must be remembered that the stone is being paid for by weight. Occasionally stones from Burma, India and Sri Lanka are seen with such heavy bottoms that they look like bowling balls. 

Just as with faceted gems, these bottom-heavy stones should be valued at the weight they would be after re-cutting to perfect proportions. Overly dark material is sometimes cut as 'hollow' cabochons, with the base being concave to lighten the mineral. Since there is an overwhelming supply of them as raw material which is mounted into the appropriate settings or a hole is drilled and the balls are mounted together. The beads come in a large variety of colors, sizes, shapes and from many materials in a wide price range.

Because of this gemstone beads are at the high end and plastic, the best for kid’s jewelry is at the low end. In between are the other such as gold, silver, wood, glass, freshwater and cultured sea pearls plus plenty of other material.


When a more sophisticated piece is needed such as a sapphires, ruby,  jade, amber and other gems are used. This versatility makes beaded jewelry demand high and usually prices manageable and the choice in terms of shapes and colors is almost endless.

Cabochons are available in many different types. They also have been around for thousands of years, actually before they found the right technology about 200 years ago most jewelry where cabochons and other balls. Because of the variants of beads on the market it is easy to find exactly what is needed. The color of the spheres, texture and pattern naturally makes the final appearance of the cabochons.

When gemstone beads are used a necklace or bracelet is quite sturdy as long as the setting also is a strong one. When buying beads, in particular bigger ones, check if there is a smooth surface and be aware that some crooks fill cracks with resin but don’t tell that. The result is that after around 2 – 3 years the resin will fade away and your pretty and maybe expensive piece of jewelry is junk only.
Cultured Pearls with big sizes are magnificent, they come with white, gold, silver, pink and black color up to around 15 cm diameter.

Star sapphire gemstone are something special, although mined in the Mogok area in Myanmar but the real dealing is going on at Chanthaburi Thailand. 

They show a star effect when exposed to a pointed light source or normal daylight. If the light source has a other form it won’t show. Usually there is a six ray star but very rare 12 ray sparks have been seen. 

If you are on a slim budget an alternative would be to buy the precious item with a synthetic sapphire rings, this stones are physically similar to the normal gem, actually even better because they don’t have inclusions and the color can be manipulated. 

They are much less expensive and it is not visible to anyone unless someone has a trained eye and a big magnifying glass. Many people buy those items, have some diamonds around and it is a perfect sapphire diamond ring.

This is the same with rubies, sometimes producer enhance the stones by a heating process which makes the stone more saturated and brilliant but if there is such a stone it must be declared to the customer because if this precious item is sold again and carefully inspected it will show up and the price drops dramatically.


In general, when buying any sapphire rings for more than about $ 1000,- have the item checked in an independent lab, because lots of dirty tricks are going on in this business and don’t believe any certificate or talking of the sales person , that only sound and smoke.
Actually it is a common problem with all this precious stones they are found somewhere when they are moved out of the production country not much value is raised. 

After the stones left the country lets say for Thailand, India, Europe or Israel the prices made a jump upwards and people in those countries make the real profit by cutting and polishing them.

It has been a common belief that this blue stone bring magic, charm and good luck to anyone who gets a hold of them. Pictures of a stone go with blue flower, blue water and blue sky. They depicts blue color somehow, since the gemstone is effectively corundum, yellow, violet, purple, pink and orange colors are also within the spectrum. Most common is still a blue sapphire and the highest value is of "cornflower blue" that looks real gorgeous.

A typical cabochon sapphire and ruby can sometimes display a starIt would not be visible with any other cut. To put it “flat out” cabochons are usually made when the gemstone is not got enough for faceting or it just with a different idea in mind. 

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