We all know that one of the four Cs of diamonds is cut, but when it comes to diamonds, you’re not going to see another C-cabochon. We thought, then, it might help to know about this cut when you go shopping for jewelry in the DC area.
A cabochon—or cab as is often heard—cut means that the stone is polished and rounded, as opposed to faceted; think of it as looking like a little dome with a flat base that is mounted. Though cabochons can be any shape (as these triangular turquoise earrings that we have at Vienna Jewelry on Maple Avenue), oval is the most popular.
To be fair, cabochons are not cut so much as they are shaped and polished, a procedure that is simpler than cutting a faceted gemstone. Cabochons were much more popular before technology allowed for more facile faceted cutting during the late 13th and early 14th centuries; once faceted cutting was introduced, maximizing the light in precious gemstones became a priority and cabochon styles remained primarily the domain of opaque stones, which were shown to their best advantage with this technique. These include opals, moonstones, onyx, and turquoise; as these stones are softer, they benefit from the cabochon style which makes scratches harder to see. You may also see low quality stones in cabochons in order to hide their flaws.
Now that you know a cab is a jewelry style (and not just a wine), you can show off your knowledge when you visit pawn shops in Northern Virginia.