This is a question that comes up from time to time when I’m jewelry shopping with clients. For many, “cabochon” is a jewelry vocabulary word which may not be part of your daily vernacular. Pronounced “kab-uh-shawn,” it refers to a rounded, highly polished cut of stone with no faceting. Typically, this cut is an oval shape (though you’ll find it in other shapes as well) with a flat bottom. Alexis Kletjian recently posted this stunning photo of a group of phrenite cabochons. Beautiful, right?
The word cabochon comes from the French word “caboche” which translates to “small dome.” Opaque gems such as turquoise, opal, moonstone, and onyx are most commonly found in this cut, as opposed to transparent gems, which are typically faceted. Personally, I adore cabochon gems — they elicit a very mystical vision in my mind.
So that you can get a clear handle on what cabochon jewelry looks like, I thought I’d share a few lovely examples.