Discover what is a cabochon and get several ideas for how to use these gemstones and other materials to make beautiful DIY jewelry.
If you’ve heard the word “cabochon” before, I bet several questions came to mind afterward.
First of all, what is a cabochon? How do you even pronounce the word properly? And, how do you use cabochons for jewelry making?
Below, you’ll find all the answers to these common questions and more. Here’s everything you need to know about cabochons.
What Is A Cabochon and How To Use It For Jewelry Making
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Historically, a cabochon — also referred to as a cab — is a gemstone that has been shaped and polished instead of faceted. These stones typically have a flat side and one domed side.
Nowadays, cabochons are made of more than just gemstones. You can find ceramic, porcelain and even wooden ones.
The cabochon shape varies and is available in all sorts of geometric and asymmetrical cuts. One of the rarest, and therefore most desirable, is the sugarloaf cabochon. It looks like a pyramid — having four sides, a flat base and a rounded tip.
The shape of the cab doesn’t matter, though. What’s most important, is the flat side which allows for you to attach it to jewelry.
Before, I go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room. How do you pronounce the word “cabochon”?
It has French origins and the way it’s pronounced goes like this: Ka-bow-shawn. If you’re still struggling, just call it cab for short. 😂
How To Make A Cabochon
Cabochons are usually cut from a gemstone slice or other materials using a calibrated stencil template or in freeform shapes. They are then ground into shape using grinding disks or belts coated with silicone carbide or diamond dust.
Here’s a tutorial for cabbing, the process of making cabs.
Cabochons for Jewelry Making
Cabochons make beautiful focal points for jewelry. They’re typically used to make pendants and rings.
These stones don’t usually have holes, though. So, how do you incorporate them into your handmade jewelry?
Well, you can use a variety of techniques from making a beaded bezel to bead embroidery to wire working. Each of these methods encapsulate the stone.
If you want a more minimal look, simply glue the cab to a pendant tray or a glue-on pendant bail using a strong glue e.g. E6000.
The method you use to attach a cabochon to your jewelry all depends on the look you’re going for. The shape will also influence your decision. Pendant trays are suitable for stones with a uniform shape.
Cabochon Jewelry Ideas
Below are some video tutorials that demonstrate various ways you can use cabochons for jewelry making…
Oval Beaded Cabochon Jewelry Making Tutorial by Odins Musings
This video tutorial shows you how to make an open back bezel using bead weaving. This is a great way to showcase a cab.
Basic Cabochon Wire Wrapped Pendant by Oxana Crafts
If you enjoy wire wrapping, try this beginner tutorial.
Intro to Bead Embroidery by Potomac Beads
Dive into the world of bead embroidery with this step-by-step tutorial.
Three Ways To Use Cabochons by Jewel School
Want more ideas for how to include cabs in your jewelry? This video shows you how to:
- Glue a cabochon onto a pendant bail
- Make a wire-wrapped pendant
- Use a cab to make a simple bracelet
So now you know what is a cabochon and how to use one to make unique jewelry.
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