A ‘cabochon’ is a way of processing a gemstone. It is a way of polishing and shaping a gemstone as an alternative to it being cut and faceted. Such as the moonstone jewelry in the image above.
A gemstone ‘en cabochon’ normally has a smooth rounded convex front face and a flat back.
It is often used for the more opaque stones, such as moonstone. The cabochon style is also a great way to conceal small scratches that can appear through wear on the softer gemstones on Mohs scale.
The term Cabochon comes from the Middle French word, ‘caboche’, meaning ‘head’.
In comparison, faceting is normally used for the more transparent gemstones.
In addition to the opaque and softer gemstones, the cabochon style is often used with two other types of gemstone that have special features. Firstly, asteriated gemstones, and secondly, gemstones displaying chatoyancy.
Header image by Adrian Pingstone