A Cabochon (or cutting en cabochon – French: “in the
manner of a cabochon”) is a type of cut used on gemstones where by the stone is
shaped and polished into a smooth, generally convex shape with a flat base.
Cabochons or Cabs are generally circular or oval but may be cut into different
Cabochon Polishing at our Gem Cutting Center
Cabs are usually used on softer species, such as Opal or Moonstone (Mohs Scale of Hardness), opaque gems or gems of a lower grade. Gem cutting is a fine art and is done to enhance the gems natural qualities and transform it into a piece that best displays these attributes. Cabochons often act like a window, allowing one to see the gems natural details inside and display other visual effects such as play of color in Opals, cat’s eye and asterism (star). Cabochons are more likely to have natural inclusions and markings.
Cabochon cutting dates back to the Middle Ages and has remained a popular cut ever since.
FACETING is another form of cutting a gemstone. An
ancient art where by a gem is methodically cut with numerous flat surfaces
using the appropriate or critical angles of the gems structure on the top and
bottom of the stone, this is to allow light to refract and reflect through the
gem to enhance its brilliance and give the stone its sparkle. The more facets a
stone has, the more “lively” a gem will be. Faceted gems have polished
flat faces (the table) and pointed bottoms (the pavilion). For further
information on gem cutting please see our Gemstone Cutting Article.
Faceted cuts are generally used on harder gemstones that are transparent or “clean” and for fine gems as
any inclusion or markings would disturb the light passing through the stone and
therefore decrease its beauty.
Faceted stones are available in many forms, the four most
common being Brilliant Cut, Step Cut, Drop Cut and Mixed Cut. Different shapes
are cut using these different forms.
It was only until the 15th Century that faceting
gemstones was possible, as the abrasive properties of Diamonds was discovered
and used. Master Cutters use Diamond powder on cutting machines and proper
knowledge of the crystals structure to ensure top cutting. This is done at a
sacrifice, as often up to 30% of the stone is lost, however the value of the
gem is greatly improved as a result.
Gemstone faceting at our Gem Cutting Center
At The Rare Gemstone Company we have been cutting
colored gemstones since we started in 1974. Our first Master Cutter was taught
by a German Master Cutter and since then we have been teaching and training up
new cutters in this fascinating ancient art.