Saturday, 14 March 2015

The difference between cabochon and faceted stones

I've been getting loads of requests for custom birthstone stacking rings recently, and a question that always comes up in conversations about stone choice, is about the difference between cabochon and faceted stones. And what on earth they are anyway.

Opal cabochon, amethyst rose cut, garnet faceted trillion

So here goes, my attempt to clear up any confusion.

What is a cabcohon stone?

A cabochon is cut with a flat back and a domed top....

Sapphire stacking ring

Like this sapphire stone in the ring above. It has a smooth dome on top, and a flat back. It is set in a bezel setting.

What are faceted stones?

The other kind of stone I often use is a faceted gem.

These stones usually have a pointed back, with facets or cuts taken from the stone which helps to bounce the light around. Faceting a stone is a key way to add value to a transparent stone, as it gives a higher luster and a better play of colour in the stone.

The Cubic Zirconia above is a manmade faceted stone - I've shown this picture as hopefully you can get an idea of what the stones are like, but for stacking rings I tend to use more enclosed settings like the one below...
Dark (fire) citrine ring you only see the sparkly top of the stone.

Some stones are much more commonly found in one sort or the other. For example, turquoise (the birthstone for December) and opal (the birthstone for October) are pretty much always cabochon stones.

What the heck are rose cut stones then?

So, now for my fave stone of the moment - the rose cut stone. This is a kind of crossover. It's a cabochon stone (so it has a flat back and a dome) but it's also faceted...I know confusing! Here's a diagram..

Rose cut stones went out of fashion for a while, because they don't really add much brilliance or light to the stone. But I've gone completely crazy for them - I like that they're a little unusual and quirky, and I love how they bounce the light.

Rose cut rose quartz stacking ring

London Blue Topaz Earrings
So there you go - a very quick guided tour of some of the types of stones I use!

I'll also put together a post on the different shapes I can offer. Sadly my shop is a little out of date - so many of the things I make still haven't made it to a listing, so if there's something you'd like in particular, just email me to discuss. I could have the perfect stone sitting in my stash right now.

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