Stone Cabochon & Semi Precious Stone Jewelry

There’s so much to learn about making stone cabochons and stone cabochon jewelry!

Making cabochon jewelry was my goal, but learning to cut a stone cabochon was only the beginning.

Stone slabs for cabochon making are available in so many colors and patterns, it is almost too hard to choose! If you plan to cut stone cabochons, you’ll need some equipment to make the job easier. You can cut a stone cabochon with hand tools, but lapidary equipment makes the job much easier. You’ll need a trim saw to cut the rough shape of the cabochon, and a lapidary machine to grind and polish the stone. A flat lap is a great addition to your equipment if you need to grind a stone flat, or want to get into lapidary intarsia.

The supply and equipment list doesn’t end there! Making a beautifully cut cabochon into a piece of sterling silver jewelry that can be worn requires metalsmithing skills and additional supplies and equipment. Metalsmithing is another area requiring lots of practice and patience, and the learning curve can be steep, but there are lots of resources online to help you on your journey.

Semi-precious stone jewelry making has become my passion and has allowed me to expand my skill set beyond what I thought was possible. Take a look at some of the semi precious stone pieces I have available in my online shop.

A grouping of cut and polished cabochons in many colors, sizes, and stones

What is a Cabochon?

A cabochon is a gemstone that has been shaped and polished, as opposed to faceted. They usually have a domed top and flat bottom, which makes them great for making jewelry.

Cabochon Jewelry

Making cabochon jewelry starts with cutting and polishing a cabochon. Begin by selecting a slab to work with, and some shape templates like circles, ovals, squares, or leaves. Position your template over the slab to maximize the best features of the stone and transfer the shape to the slab using a Sharpie. Cut out the rough shapes on your trim saw, getting as close to the marked outline as you can without cutting into it. Grind the edges down to the marked outline using a flat lapidary wheel. Using your lapidary machine, cut and polish using all the wheels. When you are happy with the shape and polish, you can begin planning a bezel and bail that will compliment the stone to make it wearable as a necklace or ring (bail not needed for a ring).

Marking out the shapes

Image with shapes marked on slabs of stone to be cut into cabochons
Rough cut shapes
Rough cut cabochons of various stones ready for shaping & polishing
Polished cabochons
Polished cabochons of various stones

So many slabs…so little time!