A cabochon is the name given to a gemstone or other material which has been polished and shaped into a piece which has a convex top and a smooth, flat bottom. This is opposed to similar designs which may have been faceted. This process is most common for opaque gemstones, or opaque pieces of acrylic, as this technique really helps to show off the beauty of the piece. This technique also helps to reduce the visibility of scratches which may occur naturally on some gemstones. If the piece were faceted, the scratches may be accentuated. Although rare gemstone cabochons are exceedingly beautiful, they can be very expensive to purchase. Financial constraints have therefore encouraged hobbyists to seek more affordable alternative. This is just one of the reasons why acrylic cabochons are becoming increasingly popular among hobby – level jewelry makers and craft hobbyists. Luckily, even though acrylic cabochons are far more affordable, they can be just as beautiful as the gemstone ones.
This type of gemstone or acrylic cut is incredibly popular, because there are so many varied uses for them in the modern world. Many of the things which we describe as “bejeweled” are actually covered in cabochons. If you look at many beautiful, historical church cups, sword hilts or kingly thrones, then you will notice that they are adorned with gemstone cabochons. Acrylic versions are often used in place of gemstone ones in historical recreations, because they are much cheaper, but they still look very realistic. In fact, when using acrylic items, the possibilities are almost endless. They can be used in jewelry – making, clothing design, arts and crafts and home decorating. These items are so easy to use, that the only thing which really limits you is your imagination!
Acrylic cabochons are often mounted onto silver or metallic backs, in order to further accentuate the beauty of the piece. Although gemstone cabochons are usually mounted on metal, one of the latest trends with acrylic cabochons is to mount them on funky plastic backs, so as to put a cool modern look on an antique, classic style. The shape of the back piece can be similar to the shape of the cabochon, and follow its major contours, or the shape can be very different. For instance, a round acrylic piece could be mounted onto the centre of a flower shaped back piece, with stunning effect. Although this is very simple, it looks very beautiful. This level of freedom gives the makers and buyers of acrylic cabochons a humongous range of styles and colors to choose from, meaning that the jewelry which is ultimately created is almost out of this world.
Cabochons are frequently used to make necklace pendants, although there is a much wider range of things which it is actually possible to do with them. If you buy two matching acrylic cabochons, it is possible to make them into a pair of dangly earrings. It is even possible to turn smaller cabochons into charms for a charm bracelet.