Cabochons, or, How to Get the Most Out of Gems

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Glow in the Dark Glass CabochonI’m not going to try to say that the cabochon is the perfect cut of stone. I’d be crazy! But I am going to say that they’re (relatively) easy to make, and relatively easy to use in jewelry.

However, unlike a lot of stones, they do require a little bit of prep work. So first, you have to decide how you’re going to use them.


Let’s start by getting this question out of the way: What’s a cabochon? I didn’t know at first, either. But then again, everyone’s a beginner at some point!

The short answer is that it’s a cut of gem or stone, no different from an oval cut, or asscher. In fact, it can be any of those, too.

The thing that defines a cabochon, in particular, is that the back is cut completely flat. The outer shape can be whatever you like. The top is typically rounded.

Inset, Glued, or Bare?

Did I accidentally give away the question? Oops!

Space galaxy charmsBecause of their flat backs, the question of whether or not to mount them is the first big question. If you’re careful, and you go slowly, you can drill a hole through them and use them for beading as-is, with no mounting at all. Or you can hang them from a pendant. Long story short, you could easily use them completely bare.Glow in the dark galaxy charm

But then, if you choose to mount them, you can set them into a setting, like you would with any gem, or, by dint of their flat backs, you could opt to use some powerful glue! Either works, and if you’re creative enough, both can make beautiful jewelry. That being said, the setting is going to be a little more professional, and a little more challenging.

Where Can I Get Them?

Black and white star charm cabochonsWhat? You mean you don’t want to grind your own? You don’t own a grinder, you say? Well that’s nonsense! Of course you own a grinder, ha ha!

Well… okay. Maybe you would rather use the grinder for something else, or you haven’t gotten around to buying a new wheel and you wore a hollow in the old one. I get it. Well, fine.

You can buy them from almost anywhere that craft supplies are sold, of course. They’re often not going to be real gems, in that case, or possibly not even real stone. A resin cabochon can make a fine piece of jewelry!

There are a ton of options available on Etsy. In fact, we sell some, too!

Click through to see some great cabochon options:

Dragon scale fantasy charm cabochonBlack flower charm cabochonSparkly heart charm cabochonCharming birds charms cabochon

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